Getting hold of a JIB card
Following some queries over how to get hold of an ECS card, the issuing authority – JIB – explains the cards available and the assessment required.
The range of available ECS cards is based on the different occupations or levels of competency held by people working in the electrotechnical industry. Each is defined by a particular set of qualification and/or experience and/or knowledge requirements and the award of a card is predicated on the submission of satisfactory evidence of the same.
An ECS gold card for an Installation Electrician is evidence in the electrical industry of an electrician’s experience and qualifications; it is primarily used by an electrician to show that an individual is qualified to the industry recognised standard.
Every ECS card application is different and unique to the applicant’s personal experience and circumstance. Decisions determining the level and occupation of ECS card awarded are based on the information and documentation supplied by the candidate against the relevant occupational criteria.
It can be frustrating for applicants if they are not awarded the card they are expecting, however the type and level of ECS card issued to an individual reflects the information presented in their application. An ECS card cannot be issued on the basis of the applicant’s self-declaration of their own training and experience. There has to be a verifiable process by which each person’s experience and qualification can be recognised.
The ECS team which processes card applications are not in a position to verify if an individual can demonstrate the necessary competence for a qualified electrician’s card without the inclusion of supporting documents which have been certified by an independent and accredited assessor.
Requirements for an ECS gold card
Standards for electrotechnical qualifications have been defined through industry consultation for many years, and state the requirement that operatives who are working unsupervised in the electrotechnical sector must be qualified to the industry recognised standard, which is an NVQ level 3 qualification.
Reflecting this, an installation electrician’s ECS gold card requires the holder to have obtained a relevant industry level 3 qualification (or recognised equivalent for pre-NVQ) which covers the necessary underpinning knowledge and competency assessment. Where the NVQ is not held, the only other way to obtain the card is if an NVQ assessor verifies that that they hold an equivalent scope and level of knowledge that is required by the NVQ.
existing qualifications, training and experience are recognised toward meeting the requirements of the qualification
Information regarding the qualifications and experience needed to obtain each particular ECS card discipline is detailed on the ECS website. There are also FAQs providing information for pre-NVQ trained personnel and experienced workers about how to get up to the required standard, or demonstrate that they are already suitably experienced to be awarded a fully qualified card.
The relevant information should be read in full because there is no simple answer to suit all. Every applicant brings their own individual set of qualifications and experience, but all must be certified as meeting the required standard and the full scope of any given card.
‘Time served’ and experienced workers
The term ‘time served’ is a traditional one that means that the individual has completed a formal training programme at some stage in the past. People working in the industry who can show their certificates for a full apprenticeship programme prior to NVQs can apply for an ECS card.
Applicants who do not hold an NVQ but have other industry qualifications and experience may be able to demonstrate their competence by undertaking an assessment against the Level 3 NVQ in Electrotechnical Services (Electrical Installation - Buildings & Structures). The assessor will examine their qualifications and experience against that of the requirements for a full NVQ 3.
In these cases, assessors usually work with the individual to develop an individual assessment plan - without the need to go back to college to train for classroom training. The assessment plan will be in line with the normal industry qualification requirements and will only focus on the part of the assessment which is required.
Generally, existing qualifications, training and experience are recognised toward meeting the requirements of the qualification and it is unlikely that any re-training will be required if the full scope of the qualification can be demonstrated.
The value of this approach is that the competence already achieved by the individual is recognised and ‘credited’ toward achieving the full industry qualification. Most training organisations should be equipped to carry out this type of assessment and develop the required training programme in the workplace. Once this assessment has been certificated the individual can apply for, and is eligible to be awarded, an ECS gold card.
ECS card eligibility criteria are designed to mirror the standards and qualification levels required for different electrotechnical occupations. In terms of individuals applying to be recognised as fully qualified electrician, the gold card is the one many aspire to and we look forward to more people applying for a card so they can demonstrate their qualifications and competence with pride.
Further information on the ECS card scheme and its requirements is available from www.ecscard.org.uk