Monday November 30, 2020
A series of recommended electrical training routes have been launched by TESP to provide clear advice on the right paths to becoming a qualified electrician in Wales.
Hosted on the Electrical Careers website – www.electricalcareers.co.uk/routes – the guidance is designed not only for school leavers, but also those looking for a career in the electrical industry at any age.
Importantly, with redundancies being made across the country by businesses affected by Covid-19, including large employers such as Ford and GE, TESP hopes these routes will help people 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 are recognised by employers.
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. Courses for ‘domestic installers’, which are often promoted to career changers, do not lead to qualified electrician status as they only provide a limited scope of skills.
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.
Dave Kieft, Director of RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services in Swansea, has issued the following advice to those looking to get into the industry: “We only recognise apprenticeships as the route to develop a trained, certified and competent individual. Now that apprentice funding is available for all ages this lifts previous barriers and means all new entrants can pursue this route,” he says. “Short courses that are not recognised by the industry do not produce qualified electricians and we are taking a strong stand against these.”
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. However the message is clear – becoming a qualified electrician is not possible without gaining the work-based NVQ Level 3 qualification.
Gwent-based electrical contracting firm Powerlink Electrical Services has a long history of training and apprenticeships. “For those looking to enter the industry or re-train as an electrician, it’s vitally important to only carry out training that is valuable to an employer – I can’t stress this enough,” says director Jeremy Parkin. “In our business we want electricians with work-based qualifications so they become competent in the industry – so following the correct training routes is crucial.”
“These routes aim to reduce the confusion around electrical training and promote what is valued by employers and will ultimately lead to qualified status,” said 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. Domestic installer courses in particular may seem like an attractive option, however the electrical industry and employers do not value this route as it provides insufficient technical knowledge and workplace experience.
“We want careers advisors, schools, colleges and training providers to send a clear message to individuals on the right ways to join the industry so they can progress and embed the skills and judgement that comes with work-based learning.”
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.