An industry of choice: how to attract the practitioners of the future

Our industry is ageing, and there is an urgent need to replace current practitioners as they begin to retire.

Competition for new entrants, and a diminishing existing workforce, is set to have a more significant impact on our industry than most others.

As current workers retire, expertise and knowledge in the industry could be lost, so there’s an urgency to encouraging more people to become fire protection practitioners before senior people depart.

The current process, whereby qualified but inexperienced practitioners are mentored by their managers, cannot succeed if fresh blood doesn’t join the industry.

FPA Australia is seeking to capture this experience before it is no longer available, by transforming our approach to training and education.

So what need to be done to encourage the fire practitioners of the future to see the industry as a career path?

John Kilgour - PPPF Summit.Mar21 (3)

John Kilgour

Chief Executive Officer, FPA Australia

John joined Fire Protection Association Australia as Chief Executive Officer in February this year, following roles in senior leadership positions in the public and non-for-profit sectors.

He spent a large part of his career in several leadership roles with BP in the downstream retail area, where he led an initiative to create the successful BP Highway Travel Centres in Queensland.  He also served as the Oil Director – Vietnam and CEO of its subsidiaries BP Petco and Castrol Vietnam, which he transformed into a locally led and profitable manufacturing and retail lubricants operation.

He then moved into asset management and property consulting, before being selected as CEO of the Committee for Ballarat, which gave him insights into longer term strategic planning that goes beyond election cycles delivering social and economic growth ahead of major population expansion predicted for the region.

Most recently, John was the CEO of Civil Contractors Federation in Victoria (CCF), and President of the Victorian Civil Construction Industry Alliance (VCCIA), which represents 20-member based associations across civil construction industry delivering in excess of $22bn per annum of major infrastructure works in the state.

John has brought his extensive experience to his role at the Association and is working on strategies to ensure its future sustainability and success.


Stuart Yarnall

General Manager, Fire Equipment Services (FES)

Stuart is the Director and General Manager of the Fire Equipment Services group of Fire Rescue Victoria. Prior to that he worked as a business unit manager in risk management and compliance firm Greencap (part of Westfarmers) and as a business strategist and operational leader with the Beanstalk Solutions consulting firm.

Rebecca Fullerton - Pic

Rebecca Fullerton

Director - Sales & Marketing, Chubb Fire & Security

Rebecca Fullerton is the Chief Executive of Chubb’s Registered Training Organisation and is committed to the development and upskilling of Fire Technicians for Chubb. She has been part of the evolution of competency-based training from Chubb’s own program to national recognised qualifications and the introduction of occupational licensing.  Rebecca has also supported FPAA through steering and technical committees, including FPAS, TAC/17 & TAC/T. In her capacity as the Director of Sales and Marketing at Chubb Fire & Security, Rebecca continues to advocate for improved fire protection services and sees the introduction and career development of Fire Industry Technicians and Professionals as pivotal to this goal.