The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme has announced the launch of a new Continued Professional Development (CPD) digital system, which it believes will play a key role in helping better identify and monitor ongoing competence standards throughout the industry. The new system is expected to go live in July 2021 and there will be further updates on its progress. CPD offers all card holders a free online portfolio, so you can easily save evidence of your skills and knowledge, which helps aid personal development and continuous improvement. ECS card holders will initially be able to keep their CPD status up to date through the MyECS section on the ECS website. This will be rolled-out to other services such as the MyECS App and for employers to manage on behalf of their workforce through the Employer Portal later this year.
This new CPD recording system will allow card holders to use their MyECS account as their record for all relevant qualifications, certificates, professional memberships and accreditations as well as other types of CPD such as inductions, toolbox talks or in house training, development, and lifelong learning. For many years ECS has recognised CPD in the form of qualifications, assessment and professional membership on the physical ECS card, but the expansion of the virtual ECS card means this scheme can now record and verify more in terms of both the type of and number of CPD activities completed by operatives. Ongoing learning and development are a crucial part of verifying competence, and this is why CPD is already part of the Registered Electrician Code of Professional Practice.
Since the tragedy of Grenfell Tower in June 2017, work has been ongoing to raise standards across the built environment. Later the same year, ECS introduced ‘Registered Electrician’ status for gold card holders as a way to recognise those electricians who are not only qualified to the occupational standard as an Installation or Maintenance Electrician, but also agreed to keep up to date with CPD, such as the latest edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS7671) for electrical installation and a Code of Professional Practice. ECS was highlighted as an exemplar of a scheme which could be utilised for identifying and verifying competence standards in Dame Judith Hackett’s Independent Review of Building Regulations and Fire Safety. This latest development will help to enhance and promote all ECS card holders’ high skills and knowledge in the electrotechnical sector.
A further commitment to individual qualifications and certification schemes was demonstrated in the publication of the ‘Setting the Bar’ report by industry partners and organisations last year looking at building a safer future, which proposed an overarching system of competence, including CPD refresher training and maintenance of individual skills. Ensuring the skills, knowledge and experience of the individual through CSCS and Partner Scheme, such as ECS, is an important element of this competence framework in ensuring the person has been trained and assessed to the relevant industry standard and that the card holder keeps up to date with the relevant requirements for their role.
Jay Parmar, CEO of the Joint Industry Board (JIB), explains: “This positive development helps us ensure that the digital system will recognise a whole variety of CPD activities undertaken by card holders within their virtual My ECS account. This will help to bolster the ability for employers and clients to quickly identify achievements and certifications on individuals through one system recognised UK-wide for site access and competence verification. This will be crucial for those projects in scope of the Building Safety Bill, particularly with regards to fire safety knowledge in buildings, and builds on the fantastic work of the JIB to develop online portal systems for employers and clients, giving them the most up to date information on the workforce skills composition, such as through ECS Check. This CPD system helps take the ECS scheme forward by adding value to our card holders, employers and clients alike.”
Once the system is live, ECS card holders should login to their MyECS Portal to view their CPD record and start to log their activities, upload or have verified any new technical certificates and update their card as necessary.