Candidates sitting the new FICA will face a two-day challenge of practical simulations of various aspects of electrical installation. They will also be tested on the underpinning knowledge, with a series of multiple choice questions which will help assess their ability to effectively and safely carry out their vocation as electricians.
Fiona Harper, of Select, explained that the FICA, which was first established in 1998, is a crucial part of the modern apprenticeship programme, which leads to an SVQ Level 3 qualification. She said: ‘With our Scottish Joint Industry Board partners Unite the Union, Select has introduced a root and branch reform of this major element of its vital electrical training assessment programme.
‘While most Level 3 courses have seven units, Select’s has eight, with the final one being the FICA, a challenging assessment of competence which entails practical and complex electrical installation tasks against the clock.’
Working with eCom Scotland, a company based in Dunfermline which is at the leading edge of learning technologies, Select is introducing e-observation, whereby assessments will be marked by assessors on tablets and submitted directly to the SJIB offices in Edinburgh.
Newell McGuiness, managing director of Select, said: ‘Select and the SJIB have put a great deal of work and planning into this major change, which reflects changing technology and regulations.
‘It is a comprehensive upgrade taking into account, for instance, the changes in the Scottish Building Standards Regulations which became law in 2003, as well as introducing full computerisation of the process and system.’
The Scottish Joint Industry Board has three assessment centres for the FICA – in Aberdeen, Cambuslang and Edinburgh.
Select Member companies account for 90 per cent of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland, have a collective turnover of £1 billion and provide skilled employment for 15,000 people.