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Topic Title: Electrician Research Findings Report (May 2013) - Your feedback requested
Topic Summary: Key Finding: Fragmented industry is affecting electricians’ career aspirations
Created On: 23 July 2013 04:35 PM
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 23 July 2013 04:35 PM
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Electrician Research Findings Report (May 2013) - Your feedback requested

Key Finding: Fragmented industry is affecting electricians' career aspirations

In collaboration with key alliance partners within or associated with the electrical industry, the IET undertook a research study with 298 electricians, contractors, final year electrical apprentices and employers.

The study aimed to gain insight and understanding from those working in domestic, commercial and industrial roles, within the UK, regarding their thoughts and perceptions about professionalism and recognition as electricians.

The findings report can be accessed via this web link: ">

1. Your feedback is requested - particularly to recommendation (a):

Four main recommendations are noted on page 4 of the report:

(a) Development of an electrician technician membership package/service via a collaborative partnership of professional bodies - specific to electricians

(b) Development of relevant career pathways to professional standards

(c) Mapping of the EngTech professional award to recognised electrical competence card schemes (eg: JIB/ECS card), to NVQs and to recognised apprenticeship frameworks

(d) Increased awareness of EngTech within the electrical industry

2. Your participation is requested in further research by the IET

The IET and its partners welcome your valued input to further research specific to the 4 main recommendations, in particularly (a).

We would be pleased to hear from you if you would like to volunteer to take part in further detailed research this year.

Please email your contact details to the IET's Alliance Development Manager who is the project manager for this work - Annmarie Dann, , providing your:

. Name
. Job Role
. Email
. Telephone/Mobile

Please note: you will not be contacted by third parties, nor receive marketing/promotional material. Your personal details provided to Annmarie will be for the sole purpose of the next stage of research.

Thank you

Mark Coles
Technical Regulations Manager
The Institution of Engineering and Technology
 23 July 2013 04:46 PM
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The link doesn't appear to work.

 23 July 2013 04:52 PM
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The link doesn't appear to work.

tut tut - fallen foul of their own web site quirks - taking the extra <br> directives off seems to make it work:

- Andy.
 23 July 2013 06:05 PM
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Well, after a quick read through, this seems to be more about getting a load of existing electricians under the Eng Tech umbrella in order to redress, or a least differentiate, between short cycle trained individuals, possibly coming from other career backgrounds and those who went through longer cycle apprentice training.

Perhaps motivated by the nearly 50% increase in electrical firms that in reality are one man bands operating largely in the domestic sector and responding to the Part P issues.

Probably not an unreasonable thing to be trying to do - will it have any benefit - I seriously doubt it, but live in hope.

It bothers me that 2391 appears to be singled out along with a copy of a regs book - smacks of joining up to an approved members scheme rather than what Eng Tech is all about in the sense that it is a much wider award for many other people in much wider sectors - why pick on electricians as opposed to say HVAC installers - and where will it leave those not having undertaken formal apprenticeships.

Add to that, the JIB already register electrical technicians anyway and for any degree of equivalence, then the numbers involved are small. Of course, the number of electricians and approved electricians is vast in comparison,so I guess it pays to upset a small minority and regrade electricians as technicians - a bit of dumbing down in action perhaps.



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 23 July 2013 06:27 PM
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Only one or two quick thoughts:

In the past when most all big industrial jobs were JIB, and very useful it was two for employment in the industry, the only thing the employer asked have you a JIB card.
The way it used to be (In a big job) they would only employ one or two JIB Technicians, the rest were all Approved electricians or electricians. If EngTech were the benchmark for electrician, there may have to be realignment of the JIB grades, as employers would not want to pay JIB Technician higher rates of pay.

This Eng Tech paper is of course not about JIB only that they were one of the contributors to the paper.

This may be in a different field but is it not making Eng Tech easy to obtain.
(Not applicable to Elect Eng Tech)

. Workplace assessments take about half a day, and involve an assessor shadowing you in the workplace while you go about their daily tasks. There's no interview involved, the assessor simply checks that you show the abilities, knowledge and attitude required to meet EngTech criteria.
. Who does the assessment?
. You can nominate your own assessor, but they must be registered at EngTech, IEng or CEng level. It's ok if they work for your company, and they don't have to be an SOE member - so if your line manager is an EngTech, for example, they can assess you. If you can't nominate someone, SOE will nominate an assessor for you. (see news)


 23 July 2013 09:59 PM
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Originally posted by: AJJewsbury

The link doesn't appear to work.

tut tut - fallen foul of their own web site quirks - taking the extra <br> directives off seems to make it work:

The link is a press release, where's page 4, as refered to in the OP?

 24 July 2013 08:32 AM
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It's all part of the Dave's master plan?

See editors notes

 25 July 2013 06:57 PM
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kj scott

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I do not believe that many NVQ 3 electricians will meet the requirements of UK-SPEC for Eng Tech without considerable watering down of the standard. Progression along the routes suggested within the report will ultimately dilute the values of all levels of registration, and is a significant step below the current or historic expectations.
 25 July 2013 10:05 PM
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Spot on Mr Scott. From glancing through the proposal I'd say that traditionally these "Eng.Tech" electricians would have been classed as having achieved a "Advanced Craft " level.

I actually gained the City and Guilds Construction Technicians qualification many years ago and the head of Dept. at the college wanted me to apply for Technician Membership of the Institute of Building so I could have been Andy Tn.IOB as it was back then, as he was the local IOB man all I would had to have done was fill the form in and pay the money as he would have done the rest. There never did seem any great advantage at the time and I doubt it would have made life easier for me having the post nominals unless I had gone to work for a few specific employers, as generally there isn't any demand for such things in the building trades.

Anyway I have always understood that today the C&G Technicians would have been graded a NVQ level 4 and in fact when the NVQ's came in the local college offered to get me a NVQ 4 Technician grading, for a fee of course, once again I didn't get around to it.

I am absolutely sure that the "Eng. Tech" for electricians should require at least one level 4 qualification being the new version of the Design, Erection and Verification qualification in the absence of the old "C" course.

Part of the problem is that there is a lack of level 4 training for electricians to really be able to progress the a meaningful Technician status.

I may be biased having come into the industry as a mature student twelve years ago without having completed a apprenticeship, however, given that I am a three year wonder gaining five electrical C&G qualifications in that time including the old 2400, rather than a five day wonder, I think this is a complete watering down of technician status to try and divide the industry further into two groups of us and them that doesn't really propose to do anything to improve the overall standard of training and education.

I also think it will never gain any public recognition and if it comes into being it will stay as a industry scheme. To be honest generally the public wouldn't care about it.

I also think that the people who are coming up with schemes such as this really lack any knowledge or understanding of the world of domestic electrical work and just how bad the housing stock of this country is, not just regards electrical installations, but the whole general condition of them.

 25 July 2013 10:23 PM
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Hello Marc, As your request is public I shall reply likewise but would be happy to participate further. you are going to have to forgive the blunt and lack of pc.

I have heard a little on the jungle grapevine about 'special IET memberships for Electricians' in the past year or so (was once encouraged not to apply for MIET but to wait until it changed to favour practising electricians because it was going to become easier...) I think this new initiative is probably what was being referred to.

We do have problems of confusion in the industry. We also have quality issues. The quality issues relate to workmanship at the bad end and to professional recognition for those who seek it at the other. Membership of a governing body has not provided the answer to either.

So, I see where you are coming from but am not sure what would be achieved by the introduction of this scheme on a number of levels;

First, it smacks of a 'Gold Club' (no offence intended JP, just nicked your tag-line, not your quality). A place for the self-appointed elite to hang out. In my opinion, we already have enough division in the industry. We (they?) have already created discrimination. Most of the division has been brought about by the constant changing of qualifications. This has been identified in your research findings. Already it is impossible to avoid ill-informed judgement based on too many variables.

Then, at the moment Eng Tech is difficult to obtain and revered. I have a notion that it should remain so. For those who have already obtained Eng Tech I wonder if the opening of what may be perceived as a back door will have as similar an effect as the five day wonders had on the electrical industry? The effect was confusion and, to be blunt, a lack of trust of fellow electricians without proof of competence. Proof of competence not brought about by the production of a plastic card with a photo I'm afraid. Some of the quick route electricians are very good at what they do but I suggest that they have the enquiring minds in the group. Your references are considerably more polite, but the 5 Day wonder and the Drive-by inspection are common terms amongst us. I wonder
if this may have a similar effect on the established level of recognition that is Eng Tech?

Let me give you an example; I do not have an NVQ3 but have a raft of other qualifications in the electrical industry. Having made a personal commitment not to repeat any training but to move forward, my application for JIB was years along the line. My JIB card bears the word 'Trainee'. I was offended when I got that but now carry my trainee card proudly. I sometimes work alongside gold card holders who don't know their.....polite pause... it is flawed.

As an humorous aside given the way that the JIB et al seem to have positioned themselves in the industry as the bench-mark of recognition. In my role as a systems designer, outside of my role as practising electrician; last week I attended (or rather didn't) a meeting in an establishment of importance. Further to an existing level of formal security clearance to carry out our work we had been asked to take a passport or two forms of photo ID for this area. I forgot my passport that day but have a clutch of electrical industry cards so I did not go back for it. They made some calls to some big nob in a tall tower, then some more to a taller tower. Neither my JIB card, not my CSCS card were deemed as suitable forms of photo ID. My Costco card on the other hand was fine, but I needed two and was summarily escorted off the premises.

That leads me on to a comment on another level about the joining of forces for this initiative. This is going to be very blunt. My hackles go up at mention of JIB and of Summit Skills. I do not know much about the others. With due deference to both of the above though (perhaps they haven't achieved much in their attempts to make themselves attractive); they fail to prove any value to many of us. There is just something about this alliance with the IET which tastes funny. I think it tastes of the usual bandwagon of power owned by those who know less than your average committed sparky about the job that is electrician. What we get out of bed for every day. Another attempt at a closed shop? My instinct warns me of yet another money making scheme with little benefit to those who pay. A regular email offering costly training courses is not a benefit. Is that on the table yet?

For JIB membership, short of being a proud trainee, an NVQ3 is required. An NVQ 3 is available on line for, you guessed it, a load of money, ability to take a photo of yourself and not much skill. It would appear that the JIB and NVQ are in bed with each other and it is easy for them to refuse the applications of those who have chosen a different route to established electrician. Thank you for your application. While you were at work attending competently to a serious electrical problem we tapped your details into a few boxes. Computer says 'No'.

Summit Skills; Wired for Success? Well I hope it is going very well for the group of ladies who have been given a special training and a job at the end of it but if ever there were an example of discrimination.

There is a great deal of corporate nepotism appearing in our industry and I think the IET would do well to rise above it.

And so on. I'm not sure that what you are proposing is going to hold water. The IET has a long established tradition of excellence before, during and hopefully after this ten or twenty year period of confusion.

Perhaps concentrate on BS7671 and ensure that those with the qualification actually do understand those pages and know how to apply them? Perhaps fewer multiple choice avenues? Perhaps more optional qualifications for those with a passion for electrics? Perhaps a structured mentoring scheme? Perhaps an honour award for those who make a genuine talented contribution to the industry, nominated and evidenced by a third party? I don't know but I'm not desperate to participate in something which may cause more division and discrimination.

 25 July 2013 11:09 PM
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Well said Zs
 25 July 2013 11:12 PM
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Thanks Zs, you've used the line that is floating around in the back of my head:

"Having made a personal commitment not to repeat any training but to move forward,"

Over the last few weeks I have had some interesting conversations with some very interesting people, one of whom I suspects Tweets as PartPnemenesis there has been lots of discussion between us about my C&G 2391 as when I took it there were allegations that we were coached to pass a exam rather than being taught. OK there were a lot of past papers being passed about, but some of us did actually get our heads down and study, also we took made the time to test ring and radial circuits in our own time away from the college to make sure that when put to the test ourselves in the college workshop we could get the testing completed perfectly.

However I am now in the position that if I want to be listed on the NAPIT find a electrician website app I am being told I need to retake the 2391 every five years, Flaming hell! it is a evergreen qualification that according to NAPIT I should have now taken THREE TIMES

I really cannot see the need to take the 2391 three times in twelve years, there should be the drive to move forward rather than going back over the basics, to put it into perspective I was thought good enough to be shortlisted and interviewed for a job as a electrical lecturer, as it turned out they hired a guy who was already established as a lecturer, BUT they thought me potentially good enough to teach inspecting and testing rather than continually retaking a course and exam on it. Having said that had I got the job I might have put myself back through the course to get myself a set of teaching notes

A proper "C" type course to move on from level 3 to level 4 is needed, not all the stupid ideas that are coming in from parties with a vested interest. Either that or some way of gaining a acknowledgement that I have gained nine electrical City and Guilds along with other relevant continuing professional development rather than just doing a "5 day course", mind you be careful of that 5 day tag most training establishments can string it out much longer than that to justify their fees, I know one guy who increased his mortgage by £16K to "train as a electrician" they kept him going far in excess of five days,

Oh! and by the way, you cannot actually do the City and Guilds 2391 any more C&G have moved on, unlike some others.

 25 July 2013 11:17 PM
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Spelling mistake! It's nemesis@partpnemesis however the original link works.
 26 July 2013 04:15 PM
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The problem is that its about bums on seats and finances and most importantly funding, standards are not of the highest importance. Its like a whole raft of non jobs that have been created over a number of years with people banging their heads together on how they can generate more money. there should be one route to being qualified end of conversation . Having got NVQ Level 3 this is the least importance to me as I thought it was a waste of time and a farce but they get the most funding so it is pushed, a one respected career has now been sold down the river!!
 28 July 2013 03:42 PM
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I have been skimming through the report again, not reading it word for word, but trying to ensure I am understanding what it says.

To me the really telling reference is the table 5.1 on page 28 giving details of course levels for electricians provide in 2009/ 10 it lists 2,3,5 and 6 there are no level 4 courses provided, so there is no natural progression for a level 3 qualified Electrician who in reality may never actually want to go above level 4 in the whole of their career as for the majority of self employed and employed people this is sufficient.

A level 4 qualification is also the correct level to be deemed a Technician and is the correct aspiration for a working electrician.

Having completed the C&G 2400 some years ago I actually contacted my local college to enquire about undertaking a level 5 course, my enquiry was met with a abrupt and discourteous reply I was told in no uncertain terms that the trouble is that Electricians think they can carry on and do level 5 courses, but just can't cope with the maths and science.

Had I undertaken the level 5 I would have to have done so in my own time and at my own expense, to be honest it would probably have been for personal gratification and vanity that I would have undertaken the course rather than for any real gain in income so having been put off by the college I didn't bother pursuing it.

I did consider doing the old C&G part "C" just before it was phased however the only college offering it was that far away it was going to add two hours driving onto the evening class, then there would have been study in my own time and I would had to have covered all the costs myself at a time when I was trying to earn enough money to cover the expenses of being a family man with two kids.

Things are not going to move forward until there is a proper level 4 qualification for electricians, had I done the new 2396 rather than the old 2400 I would now actually have a electrical level 4 qualification, but that's just the way things have turned out however I am actually tempted to do the new 2396 as I think it probably would be the most beneficial course for me at this point in my career as a self employed electrician rather than redoing a level 3 inspection and testing qualification I already have.

So I think if you want to give aspiring electricians a qualification and technician status to aim for with real benefit to the trade and industry as well that can be respected by those within the industry and well as by the public and clients then a new level 4 qualification is called for.

 29 July 2013 07:33 AM
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@Zs - nicely put!

For me, I felt my gut wrench at the subject matter of the OP.

It seems like yet another questionable attempt to form another influential body (if it isnt one already) ultimately masquerading under the "we deliver quality and if you're not with this club, you are not worth it" - sorry for the downbeat view I've formed ... even without reading the whole report (i just couldn't)..... I hope I'm wrong.

As one of those sometimes frowned upon mature career change folks and from a mentally demanding previous career - BTW, it wasn't a quick process for me...and i paid for it all myself so believe me I have a vested interest - perhaps I have a different perspective on what's wrong and requires sorting......may be not.

Oh, when I attained my 2391 (which at the time seemed highly valued) I was quite proud.....especially from the point I started from and not so long ago, i was told it was worthless (well thats how it came across to me).

As I said at the time, I wonder what would happen if you told all the lawyers and barristers that they cant practice or dont qualify any more as what they attained is not not good enough!

nothing wrong with continuous improvement, but....there isnt a lot that rapidly changes [relatively] in the fundamentals in this industry.

Trouble with this industry....there seems to be too many powerful groups/people regularly 'messing' with what they see as 'improvements' when it might not need it the way they think........unless there is a vested interest of course.

For me, as an aside, I would gun for sacking the whole of the competent persons scheme (governing bodies some call them - but are they /should they be) sillyness and rework from there with a few other changes.....something that makes sense.......... to me
 29 July 2013 07:26 PM
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Having moaned about the lacking level 4 on the list, here we go.

The level 4 progression would be here but wether you could access the course or the variety of work required to be undertaken could be another matter.

I note it describes the holder of a level 4 a senior technician, so presumably then you would be a technician before you started the course.
 29 July 2013 08:35 PM
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The CG4467 has been around for 4 years i believe as its had 2 complete cycles of the 2 year course.
There are 2 pathways, the electrotechnical, and the plumbing/ hvac one, both sharing a couple of core units.

Only 4 venues in the uk actually teach the course, and i believe all of them only do the electrical element. Current course fees are £1670 minimum a year for 2 years.
Being someone who has just done the 2 years, the class of 20 odd we started with is now just 8.

5 must have left in the first month due to the content, and one guy had a breakdown in the maths class after 6 months. All survivors have at least 2391 plus at least 5 years experience, half have 2400/ 2391-20. No one has watered down '91 (2395/2394).

The lack of teaching centres is due to the lack of people wanting to do the course, which is not inconsiderable at my estimated 1080 hours taken so far with probably another 80 hours at least left to go.

The JIB: is nothing but a union in disguise. I think the IET should be very careful who they get into bed with. Gold card JIB holders can get MIET/TMIET fast tracked into membership, but it certainly doesnt work the other way round whatever qualifications you have if you dont have their holy grail of an nvq3 that you can now actually buy on ebay.

I dont think pitching EngTech to electricians will open the floodgates, as hardly anyone other than electrical technicians/ engineers know what its all about, but the benchmark needs to be a lot higher than falling out of college with an nvq in hand, or just working for a JIB firm.

Lack of planning on your part doesn't make it an emergency on mine....

Every man has to know his limitations- Dirty Harry

Edited: 29 July 2013 at 08:55 PM by peteTLM
 30 July 2013 12:33 AM
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I see what you mean Pete.

I have just been looking at the CAD unit, last Autumn I did a ten week AutoCad Foundation course at the local tech at a cost of over £300, we barely touched the subject with our final test piece being drawing a music cassette, which is actually more involved than it sounds, anyway with the 4476 the CAD is just one unit.

It might actually be a better approach to break it down into separate short courses with the overall award being upon completion of a sufficient number of units, or just actually do a series of short courses to pick and mix allowing you to tailor your course to suit the work you intend to do
 30 July 2013 10:38 AM
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It might actually be a better approach to break it down into separate short courses with the overall award being upon completion of a sufficient number of units, or just actually do a series of short courses to pick and mix allowing you to tailor your course to suit the work you intend to do

Which, linking to another thread, is exactly what will happen when the employers get the money for thier apprentices and can dictate to training providers the courses they want.

Never mind drawing bloody cassettes - building services guys and gals need to know how to draw services in buidings, how to integrate that into the wider architectural and structural models, they need to know how to draw schematics, they need to know at what level of detail they are drawing for a particular project stage ie single line, actual arrangements, coordination drawings etc etc.

It's not difficult, but it's not a common thing to find amongst electricians moving from the tools to design roles either - and even at a site level, knowledge of and access to 2D and 3D cad is becoming more and more relevant as we enter an era of BIM and interactive modelling tools. Gone will be the days of working from a drawing - installation will now be from a fully validated, de clashed and coordinated model accessed from a ruggedised laptop.

But, to be clear - we are talking about people working as engineering technicians here - not run of the mill electricians (and by distinction, installers).



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