The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) has been encouraging electricians to help raise standards for installation and maintenance electricians by becoming ECS registered. Five years since launch, the ECS takes a look at how this has raised standards for those working as installation or maintenance electricians.
Registered Electrician status signifies that not only has the person met the requirements for the industry-approved standard at Level 3 as an installation or maintenance electrician (an ECS gold card), but they have also kept up to date with the latest edition of BS7671 IET Wiring Regulations, have agreed to a code of professional conduct and agree to keep up to date with CPD requirements.
ECS Registered Electrician status was introduced in 2017 to raise the bar on new entrants obtaining their ECS gold card, and to recognise the need for undertaking continuing professional development (CPD). This is expected to be further raised by the collaborative work of the industry through Working Group Two: Installers – one of the dozen working groups established to consider competence following the disaster at Grenfell. Sector groups are now working on areas such as CPD, reassessment and ensuring that the competence of an individual can be verified through a digital card scheme such as ECS, who collectively account for more than two million workers in the built environment across all partners.
The number of ECS Registered Electricians is increasing every day as more experienced electricians sign up, as well as newly qualified electricians meeting this threshold as the new minimum standard, and now account for more than two-thirds of all qualified electricians holding an ECS gold card. The introduction of updated checking processes, such as the launch of the CSCS Smart Check App in April, mean that more clients and employers are ensuring that those electricians coming onto their projects are qualified and competent to do the role they are undertaking by holding an ECS gold card with the latest edition of the Wiring Regulations. Any necessary CPD qualifications show within the digital ECS card system and on the reverse of the physical card.
Kevin Snowdon, Owner of NES Electrical in Bromley, was the first person to achieve Registered Electrician status in 2017. At the time of launch, Kevin explained his hope that ECS Registered Electrician status would mean the industry would benefit from greater insight into the workforce, being up to date with the latest technological developments and a commitment to meeting professional standards.
“Registered Electrician status is a well-deserved endorsement for the professionalism and skills of installation and maintenance electricians,” explains Kevin. “At the time Registered Electrician status launched we didn’t know how much the industry would have changed and how much of a focus that competence would have received in the next five years. This was undoubtedly a positive step by the industry to raise the bar. There is still more to do, but to see more than two-thirds of gold card electricians have kept up to date with the 18th Edition and recognise the benefits of further training and skills is a testament to our industry and the positive outlook electricians have on boosting their skills and knowledge.
“I promote the skills and knowledge of my workforce to clients and main contractors to help set us apart and take advantage of funding opportunities such as the JIB Skills Development Fund where possible. With a workforce skilled in new technologies and developments, this means my business is more prepared for new opportunities and allows us to grow and continue to support staff. The addition of the ECS CPD recording system in 2020 was also a vital service for quickly and effectively demonstrating this verified level of training, assessment, and competence.”