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IFE Achieves Awarding Body Recognition by Ofqua

The Institution of Fire Engineers is celebrating recognition by the Office of the Qualifications and Examinations Regulator (Ofqual) as an approved awarding body.

This places the IFE shoulder to shoulder with other awarding bodies such as City & Guilds and Edexcel. Wide-ranging approval has been conferred for the development of general and vocationally related qualifications for the fire sector at levels 1, 2 and 3 and also higher level awards at level 4. This significant milestone strengthens existing partnership working across the entire fire sector to develop benchmark IFE qualifications to assure underpinning knowledge and to work with training providers to deliver these awards.

Initially, the Institution will focus on accrediting current IFE examinations. This will enable successful IFE examination candidates to obtain an IFE/Ofqual certificated qualification that is transferable, has value within the UK education system and is recognised not only by employers but by other educational providers including universities. However, the IFE also intends to extend partnership working further to provide a range of qualifications to meet specific needs identified by the wider fire sector.

IFE membership has grown by 23% in the last 3 years and demand for examinations continues to increase significantly. By the end of 2008, a further 3 international branches will have been inaugurated in the Middle East and India, bringing the total to 39 worldwide. Work is underway to extend awarding body status beyond England, Wales and Northern Ireland to include Scotland, through application to the Scottish Qualifications Authority, and IFE's international branches will benefit from easier mapping of IFE qualifications to local frameworks. Ofqual recognition of the Institution, in its 90th anniversary year, builds upon sustained success and the tremendous commitment by volunteer members, over many years, to uphold professional standards.

The process of applying for recognition by Ofqual is extremely rigorous. It can take up to two years to complete without any guarantee of success. The longstanding role of the IFE in setting professional standards, and examining against these standards, ensured that the application was approved within the fastest possible timeframe of 3 months. Consultation with, and input from, many partners organisations assisted greatly in driving this initiative and, throughout the application process, Ofqual has been highly supportive.

This landmark achievement recognises the Institution of Fire Engineers as the only Ofqual approved awarding body entirely dedicated to the fire sector.

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