A series of recommended training routes have been developed by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) to provide clear direction on the right paths to becoming a qualified electrician.
Skills, qualifications and competence are firmly at the top of the agenda following the Hackitt Review recommendations, ongoing reforms to building regulations and the sharp focus on the skills needed by the construction and built environment sector as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
With over 150,000 UK redundancies made to date by businesses affected by COVID-19, TESP hopes these routes will help individuals make informed decisions about how to spend their time and money to re-train, as there are many electrical qualifications on offer – but not all provide the skills needed by employers.
Hosted on the Electrical Careers website, the routes are also designed to educate school leavers and those looking to upskill within the industry. The advice given to all is that an apprenticeship is the preferred route into the industry, as it provides the essential work-based experience needed to develop knowledge, skills and competence over a period of time.
Traditionally seen as only suitable for young people, in England employers can now access funding for apprentices of any age. Between August 2020 and January 2021, businesses can also receive an incentive payment of up to £3,000 per apprentice, in a move intended to drive apprenticeship recruitment.
Recognising that not everyone will be able to secure an apprenticeship place, alternative routes are given for those eligible for Further Education funding and also those looking to fund their own skills development, such as career changers or re-trainers.
Importantly, the routes clearly stress that becoming a fully qualified electrician can only be achieved with valid on-site work experience, as opposed to courses that offer no ‘real world’ practical skills.
With these routes now providing clear guidance on recommended electrical training and qualifications, TESP suggests this approach could be replicated in other industries to help everyone considering construction and built environment careers.
“These routes aim to reduce the confusion around electrical training and promote what is valued by employers and will ultimately lead to qualified status,” says Ruth Devine, Chair of TESP and Managing Director of SJD Electrical.
“I, and many others, have countless experiences with people that have invested in training, only to struggle finding worthwhile employment as an electrician because their qualifications aren’t recognised. We need to send a clear message to individuals and careers advisers on the right ways to join the industry, progress and embed the skills and judgement that comes with work-based learning and experience.
“We welcome the steps taken by some providers to improve the clarity of their communication and encourage others to review their offering and make use of the TESP material to support employers to recruit more effectively at the level they need.”
TESP is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company formed by the ECA, JIB, NET, SELECT and Unite the Union to support electrotechnical employers and deliver a wide range of projects to support the industry’s skills needs.
Since its formation, TESP has developed the Electrical Careers website and associated videos, published industry Labour Market Intelligence, launched the Experienced Worker Assessment to help workers upskill and developed the ‘Industry into Education’ campaign to encourage the industry to work more closely with the education network.
Recommended training routes are available for England at present, with other nations of the UK to follow soon. Visit www.electricalcareers.co.uk/routes to find out more.