The FIA Qualifications Scheme consists of five Levels, with
Levels I, II and III being broadly equivalent to the National Qualifications
Framework (NQF) Levels 1, 2 and 3 respectively. The FIA Levels
IV and V have not been mapped to the new NQF levels, but the FIA
regard these as high level awards.
A key feature of the FIA award system is the flexibility to adapt
to the relevant skills required for a job function within the fibre-optics
and cabling industries. In other words your job should not prevent
you from achieving a FIA Award at any level, and you should not
have to undertake any irrelevant training in order to achieve such
an award. The qualification adapts and maps to your job.
The table below provides an indication of the guided learning
time requirements for an FIA Award. A training-day is typically
regarded as providing 7 hours of guided learning, but the FIA understands
that some courses will have shorter days and some may be more intensive
with longer days. The minimum guided learning hours is the shortest
training programme that can be accredited under the FIA QS, whilst
the typical guided learning hours indicates the normal expected
duration of the training programme. There is no maximum duration.
GLH = Guided Learning Hours
(> 30% GLH at NQF Level 3).
III (> 50% GLH at NQF Level 3).
An Approved Training Provider can submit an application for
an FIA accredited award based on FIA approved 'units' providing
adequate learning hours as indicated above.
It is important that both learners and trainers recognise the inherent
flexibility of the Scheme. The qualifications listed below are a
selection of what are expected to be the more popular FIA awards.
One or more of the following
FIA Approved Core Unit awards:
City & Guilds 3466-01
City & Guilds 3466-02
City & Guilds 3466-03
City & Guilds 3466-04
City & Guilds 3666-02
City & Guilds 3666-03
City & Guilds 3666-04 NOTE: The City & Guilds 3666 scheme
replaced the previous City & Guilds 3466 scheme as the industry
standard qualification for optical fibre cable installers. The FIA
Qualification Scheme accepts either the current 3666 award or the
earlier 3466 certificates as the Level 1 foundation qualification.
A Level I award plus the following FIA Approved Unit awards: a
recognised industry award including manufacturers awards
Approved Health & Safety award such as:
Health & Safety Assessment
Health & Safety Diploma Part One
& Safety Award (NVQ Level III)
Safe Working in the Electro-Technical Industry
Working Safely Together in the Electro-Technical
SPA Passport Course
Health and Safety Assessment
A Level III award plus a combinations of FIA Approved Unit awards
leading to one of the following:
education in the communications industry to Level IV
training courses of a duration twice the length of a
Level III award
An FIA Level III Award requires a minimum of 70 hours of tutor-led
training. The basis for the FIA Level IV award is to recognise that
learners having undertaken further appropriate training at NQF Levels
2 and 3 are better qualified than any one individual award would
indicate. Effectively the breadth of knowledge/skills gained equating
to a higher overall skill level (in-depth subject knowledge).
This requires that the learner has undertaken considerably more
training than is required for the FIA Level III award, and so a
minimum of 140 hours tutor-led training leading to awards from UK
awarding bodies, with at least 42 hours of this training leading
to NQF Level 3 awards with the remaining 98 hours at a minimum of
NQF Level 2.
The FIA may at their discretion recognise a significantly longer
duration of NQF Level 1 award training days in lieu of up to 14
hourss of NQF Level 2 training.
Certified (Optical) Design Expert
in exceptional circumstances, candidates for the FIA Level V Award
status must first have achieved the FIA Level IV status Award.
There are two alternative routes to achieving the Level V Award as
detailed below, both of which involve an oral examination/interview.
The FIA understands that this is an unusual examination format for
most candidates. However, the FIA believes it is important for candidates
gaining Level V (Expert) status to be able to articulate their expertise,
and in the case of Option One write a clear report/thesis on a technical
Certified (Optical) Fibre Expert
Achieve a Level IV Award and then submit a technical thesis or report
(5,000 words minimum – 10,000 words maximum) on a fibre optic
or cabling topic at least 2 weeks prior to
the date specified by the FIA Level
V Award Examination Panel. The candidate can select their
own report/thesis topic, or may request a short list of appropriate
topic titles from the FIA.
The report/thesis shall be well laid out, clear and technically
correct, with any conclusions appropriately judged. The Level V
Award will be judged on the thesis itself and an oral examination
based on the thesis and any Units taken as part of the FIA Qualification
Scheme. The purpose of the oral session is to establish that
the thesis is the candidates own work and that the candidate has
retained a good proportion of the knowledge imparted during earlier
The examination is in three parts: presentation
of the candidates report or thesis;
on the presented work;
on technical issues relevant to the areas of fibre optic cabling
that the candidate works in or has studied.
The candidate is assessed by the panel on: report
of presented materials;
Candidates will need to score well in all of these assessment
areas in order to succeed.
Learners who have achieved two Level IV Awards are able to submit
to an oral examination based on the content of the Units taken.
The purpose of the oral session is to establish that the candidate
has retained a good proportion of the knowledge imparted during
earlier course units.
The examination by the Examination Panel
will comprise questions on technical issues relevant to
the areas of fibre optic cabling that the candidate works in or
The candidate is assessed by the panel on: presentation
The FIA Level V Award Examination Panel
comprises between two and five ‘interviewers.
One panel member will be a University representative, and one panel
member/interviewer will be an FIA director. It is important that
the panel members have a good understanding of the subject matter
of the course units undertaken and/or the thesis/report submitted,
hence additional panel members/interviewers with such subject knowledge
may be in attendance. Additional panel members will normally be
selected from Certified Level V Award holders or otherwise acknowledged
The FIA Level V Award Examination Panel
will award the candidate with one of three possible outcomes:
Pass: the candidate displayed a good
level of knowledge and a sound grasp of the issues and technologies
from both the course unit syllabi and, where appropriate, the thesis/report.
Merit Re-Test: the candidate displayed
a good level of knowledge in most areas, but was weak in one or
two areas, or produced a report/thesis that requires additional
(significant but not major) work. In this outcome, the candidate
has come close to passing, but the FIA is inviting an early re-test
with only a limited level of further work or revision required by
the candidate. The panel will advise of the area(s) where the candidate
should revise or study further. Requires More Work: the candidate
was poor in several areas and will need to revise these areas or
take more training courses to update knowledge levels, or the candidate
submitted a thesis/report that was poor or requires significant
re-work. This situation will arise either because a candidate is
eager to achieve Level V status and applies in haste, or in situations
where the lower level training course units were taken over a longer
period of time and knowledge has been forgotten or out-dated. The
panel will provide a general guide to the areas of weakness. The
FIA are determined to maintain the highest standards for the Level
V Award, and so it will not be unusual for candidates to be asked
to apply for a re-test, rather than passing first time. Candidates
are encouraged to view the first oral examination as part of the
learning process that will equip them to be more confident and better
prepared if a re-test is required.
There is no limit to the number or re-tests (oral examinations)
a candidate can take, but a thesis or report can only be used twice,
and for further re-sits a new thesis/report would be required, where
this option was the chosen route to expert status.