Investing in future talent through our OFR Technical Institute

The OFR Technical Institute was introduced in 2020 – giving colleagues high quality, in-house training that helps them deliver great work for our clients. Here, our Technical Director, Dr. Danny Hopkin tells us more.

We were thrilled recently to be shortlisted in the Construction News Awards’ Training Excellence category, joining just eight industry peers who had demonstrated outstanding initiatives to ensure that their people remain at the top of the game. Our entry focused on the OFR Technical Institute – a rare offering but something that we’re really proud of. 

What do we offer?

But what is the OFR Technical Institute? We provide a bespoke, in-house CPD programme which gives colleagues continued access to learning, whatever their professional background, current role and stage of career. 

The Institute comprises technical fire safety engineering modules covering a range of subjects, all of which are led by our colleague and former academic, Dr Mike Spearpoint. Mike’s impressive academic career means the modules are structured in an engaging way – often of the calibre you’d find in a higher education setting with training, live sessions and technical debate. The content is broad, delivered across a dozen modules covering topics such as ignition, flame spread, enclosure fires and smoke management. 

It is a key pillar in OFR’s development of technically proficient engineers as it enables a better understanding of topics not always addressed within engineering education or day-to-day project work, particularly for those arriving in fire engineering from other educational backgrounds and disciplines. 

Promoting parity 

The Technical Institute would be redundant were it restrictive in any way, and that’s why one of our fundamental tenets is that it is accessible to all within OFR. 

We firmly believe in the power of diverse perspectives and experiences in shaping our innovative approach to fire safety engineering. We strive to remove any barriers to learning, ensuring that the modules appeal to new fire engineers, and to those with more experience. For the former, the modules act as a refresher – allowing colleagues to be more confident in their technical skills by investigating new and revisiting old topics.

Feedback shows that the modules are equally supportive of those new to the sector. As a business we are committed to attracting people from a wide range of backgrounds and engineering disciplines. By offering a robust in-house training programme, all within OFR can stay abreast of the industry and skills needed to deliver great work for our clients.

We even address other barriers such as geography, with Mike delivering in-person modules at each of our seven offices across the country; from Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland to London and Bath in the south of England. 

Another great offering

The Technical Institute is just one of several benefits for colleagues working at OFR, ensuring that other investments and support, such as flexible and hybrid working, parent policies and training opportunities, make a difference to personal and professional fulfilment and wellbeing. 

Other progressive initiatives include our graduate Springboard programme, our Leadership Development programme, our Enterprise Management Initiative scheme, our Better Days paid charity work allocation and our innovative Mind Matters initiative which trains colleagues to promote awareness and educate colleagues about mental health, to reduce stigma and drive a supportive, healthy workplace.

Through these initiatives and through the Technical Institute, we’re striving to establish a culture in which everyone – regardless of status or experience – can enjoy a flourishing fire engineering career. 

If you’re passionate about fire engineering and eager to grow your career in an inclusive, innovative environment, we invite you to join us at OFR and be part of our journey to redefine the industry standards. Find out more about our latest career opportunities here

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