The Western Burglar and Fire Alarm Association Unilateral Apprenticeship and Training Committee (WBFAA UATC), Marina Del Ray, Calif., enrolled its 1,000th technician. The program recruits, trains and provides education services for technicians in California who are pursuing careers in the alarm industry.

The WBFAA UATC program was formed in response to the state of California adopting regulations that require fire/life safety technicians to be certified by the state or enrolled in a state-approved apprenticeship program. The WBFAA UATC is the first statewide, state-approved apprenticeship program in California.

“Apprentice programs are only successful when they are embraced and supported by an industry, and we were fortunate to have broad financial support from installing companies, manufacturers and a generous grant from the Security Industry Association,” said George Gunning, WBFAA president. “The California Alarm Association and the California Automatic Fire Alarm Association made it possible to develop a comprehensive training and education program that supports the work we do in our industry.”

The member companies of the WBFAA UATC sell, install, monitor and service the majority of fire alarm systems in California, and their commitment to training under the apprenticeship model has already had a significant impact on the industry. The program codifies the training and practical experience to provide technicians the knowledge that is required to comply with the regulations.

“The WBFAA UATC has established a profession and a career path for 1,000 fire/life safety technicians in California,” Gunning said. “This program gives the industry an opportunity to recruit the best and brightest candidates to our field with a comprehensive training program that offers advancement through the apprenticeship model.”

Low voltage is the foundation of the training for fire/life safety technicians. New educational and apprentice tracks may be introduced in the future. The WBFAA UATC program has already been used as the basis for the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) apprenticeship program that received approval from the United States Department of Labor in September 2006. For more information about the WBFAA UATC apprenticeship program, visit www.wbfaa.net or call (800) 809-0280.