Tag Archives: Institution of Engineering and Technology

Banham Academy apprentice “sets benchmark” for fire and security sector

The South West London-based Banham Academy continues to pave the way within the security skills and learning sector thanks to an outstanding achievement by apprentice Elliot Veheary.

Veheary has passed the End Point Assessment Level 3 for the Fire, Emergency and Security Systems Apprenticeship Standard. That achievements marks a significant milestone not only for his career, but also for the skills training provider itself as Veheary is the first Banham apprentice to pass the necessary assessment at the Banham Academy.

This achievement is a true testament to Banham’s long-standing commitment when it comes to investing in young people by providing them with the necessary technical and vocational skills they require to embark on a career within the security and fire industries.

Since its inception, the Banham Academy has had over 100 apprentices successfully enrol on its industry-leading skills and training programmes. The business remains one of the largest industry providers of training in England and was the first End Point Assessment Centre for the Fire, Emergency and Security Systems Apprenticeship Standard.

Elliot Veheary

Formal skills measurement

The End Point Assessment takes place over two days, involving the formal measurement of practical skills, knowledge and behaviours via a professional discussion.

Once successfully completed, the apprentice is then able to apply for membership of the Institution of Engineering and Technology as an engineering technician. This demonstrates to employers that the individual has had their competence independently assessed and their credentials verified.

Also, the apprentice will have accredited prior learning for a Gold card under the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme.

Kevin Faulkner, head of the Banham Academy, explained: “Elliot’s achievement in passing the Apprenticeship Standard through our End Point Assessment Centre is a proud moment for us all at Banham. Not only is Elliot the first Banham apprentice to pass, but his achievement showcases the quality of talent that’s being cultivated through our specialist training programme. The level of skill and knowledge being demonstrated by young apprentices like Elliot is setting a new benchmark in the fire and security industry.”

Faulkner added: “I strongly encourage all employers in our industry to take on more apprentices. There are so many capable young people who are motivated and committed to bettering their futures and simply require an opportunity to do so. These homegrown, talented, young apprentices are truly shaping the future of our industry.”

The Banham Academy

Engineering career

Croydon-based Veheary joined the Banham Academy three years ago after completing a City & Guilds electrician course, which gave him the insight to find a career as an engineer. He has thrived during his time as an apprentice, duly showcasing significant personal development, and is now an integral member of the Banham team.

Veheary said: “I’m really proud of passing the Apprenticeship Standard and also being the first apprentice at Banham to do this. This is a huge personal achievement for me and I’m really thankful to the Banham Academy for all the support given to me along the way. Since joining the apprenticeship scheme I’ve learned so much. Everyone has made me feel welcomed and included as part of the team.”

He concluded: “To have been given an opportunity as a Banham apprentice has been life-changing for me. I couldn’t recommend the Academy more highly to anyone looking to gain a career in the industry. Within three years, I’m now able to install, commission and maintain even the most complex of security systems. I’m looking forward to continuing my career with Banham.”

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National Audit Office issues update on UK Government’s National Cyber Security Programme

The National Audit Office has published an update on the Government’s National Cyber Security Programme for the Committee of Public Accounts.

The Programme’s objectives include tackling cyber crime and making the United Kingdom one of the most secure places in the world in which to do business.

The National Audit Office (NAO) report finds that the Government has made good progress in improving its understanding of the most sophisticated threats to national security. However, the level of understanding of threats to wider public services is varied.

While exports in UK cyber products and services have increased by 22% between 2012 and 2013, progress in encouraging trade and exports has been slow and, according to the NAO’s survey of stakeholders, this is the objective against which the Government currently has the poorest performance.

Some progress has been made in encouraging businesses and citizens to mitigate risks, particularly in enticing larger companies to take action. That said, the Government has had a limited impact in targeting SMEs and struggled to communicate guidance in a way that meets their needs.

The UK Government has made good progress in improving its understanding of the most sophisticated threats to national security

The UK Government has made good progress in improving its understanding of the most sophisticated threats to national security

The Programme’s financial management and governance mechanisms are strong, and the Government is on track to spend the Programme’s budget of £860 million by March 2016.

Overall, the NAO finds that Government continues to make good progress in implementing the Programme, which is helping to build capability, mitigate risk and change attitudes. Cyber threats, however, continue to evolve and Government must increase the pace of change in some areas to meet its objectives.

Valid concerns that must be addressed

Responding to the report, Hugh Boyes from the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) commented: “While the Government’s investment in this area has increased the capability for the public sector, there is still much to be done to strengthen UK industry. The report highlights industry concerns about the confusing range of advice available and the lack of cyber security skills. These are valid concerns that need to be addressed.”

Boyes continued: “The current cyber security skills initiatives have been focused on providing the skills for individuals employed in cyber security roles. This is a short term solution which does not address the need to improve the security awareness and skills of everyone involved in the design, production and use of software-based systems. That requires significant investment in education and training at all levels in the UK to ensure that software is trustworthy and that those involved in its development and maintenance are applying software engineering Best Practice.”

In conclusion, Boyes explained: “The recent interest in cyber security and cars highlights how this is an issue that extends far beyond our desktop and tablet computers.”

Industry demand for the cyber security skills needed to tackle cyber car crime and the other areas of our business and personal lives threatened by security issues is growing all the time. Only recently, a free online course was launched with support from the Government. The course is designed to inspire the next generation of cyber security professionals.

The MOOC – Massive Open Online Course – has been developed in conjunction with the Open University and support from the IET, and is the first of its kind anywhere in the world to gain Government backing. For more information visit: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/introduction-to-cyber-security

Cyber security measures must be part of the Government’s smart metering programme

As the Public Accounts Committee publishes its report on the Update on Preparations for Smart Metering, engineers are warning of the need for cyber security measures to be an integral part of the programme.

Dr Simon Harrison of the IET said: “The Public Accounts Committee report does not mention the issue of cyber security. The IET has consistently argued that end-to-end consideration of cyber security has to be a key feature of the smart metering system which will become a part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. It’s crucial that all possible steps are taken to ensure the smart meter system will stand up to the continuing cyber security threat.”

Harrison went on to state: “Smart meters and the smart grid are part of a Critical National Infrastructure which should be planned, designed and managed as a system. The most important role for smart meters is to enable the smart grid, which is needed to support increased renewable energy, electric vehicles and domestic heat pumps and to avoid having to dig up a lot of streets to install new electricity infrastructure.”

Continuing this theme, Harrison explained: “The smart metering programme is challenging in its own right, but it’s the first stage of the building of the smart grid that will be essential for cost-effective and secure low carbon electricity in the future. When considering the costs of the smart metering system, it’s essential that the features designed to enable a future smart grid are taken into account.”

The IET’s concerns centre on examples of systems engineering, a subject that Harrison suggests is currently under-valued in Government. “The IET believes that a professional systems architect function needs to be established and, indeed, will be essential if the UK is to achieve the transition to low carbon electricity both securely and on an affordable basis.”

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