National Electrotechnical Training (NET), the organisation responsible for the AM2 assessment, addresses some industry misconceptions and offers advice on the new AM2E.
The AM2 assessment of competence has been around for nearly 40 years. As time has progressed, the assessment has been adapted to reflect changing industry practices and requirements, but it has remained the gateway to fully qualified electrician status, with recognition via an ECS gold card.
NET is responsible for developing and managing the suite of AM2 assessments, along with assessments in related specialist sectors such as fire and security, network cabling and building energy management systems.
A number of misconceptions have been circulating about the AM2, AM2S and AM2E, particularly following the launch of the Experienced Worker Assessment, which has the AM2E as a key component. So NET is taking the opportunity to clarify a number of issues surrounding some of the most common questions.
Why do the names differ – what does each assessment entail?
The assessment itself is very similar; the different letters at the end are primarily for external reporting and monitoring purposes.
The AM2 is the most commonly known assessment. It is taken by apprentices who follow an ‘Apprenticeship Framework’ in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (in England, the framework has now been replaced by the ‘Apprenticeship Standard’). It’s also the assessment for those registered on the JIB Mature Candidate Assessment or completing the industry Level 3 NVQs.
The AM2S is solely for apprentices who are on the English ‘Apprenticeship Standard’. It contains the same tasks as the AM2, plus the addition of containment installation. The section names and lettering also differ between AM2 and AM2S.
The AM2E mirrors the AM2S, however it can only be taken by individuals who are registered on the Experienced Worker Assessment.
What is the Experienced Worker Assessment?
The EWA was launched in summer 2020 by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership. It’s a new way of helping those with years of experience who, for various reasons may not have completed their apprenticeship or qualifications in the past, complete a robust assessment and work portfolio process in order to gain industry accreditation and an ECS gold card. In order to promote a common industry standard, the EWA has been designed to mirror the industry apprenticeship. Anyone holding non-UK qualifications wishing to achieve ECS gold card recognition will also need to complete the EWA.
If I hold AM2 already and I do the Experienced Worker Assessment, will I still need to take the AM2E?
The core principle of the EWA is that you should have full account taken of your experience, and not have to jump through hoops unnecessarily and pay out for re-assessment that isn’t required. That’s why we’ve looked carefully at how we can acknowledge and recognise those who already hold an AM2 certificate.
If you’ve passed the AM2, you’ll not need to take the full AM2E, but you will need to complete a supplementary unit at a NET centre. For AM2 taken before April 2010, you’ll need to complete a unit that covers testing; for AM2 taken after April 2010, you’ll need to complete a unit covering the installation of containment.
Our clear advice to anyone who already holds AM2, regardless of its age, is to contact TESP via its website – www.the-esp.org.uk/contact – with your details, before registering on the EWA. We’ll consider each candidate’s specific circumstances to look at their qualifications and experience and give independent advice to ensure the EWA is the appropriate route. As the industry’s skills partnership, TESP has no commercial interests and so can give unbiased advice on your position before you consider a training provider for the EWA, or an alternative route.
What about other older qualifications?
Again, we recommend that you contact TESP to outline your personal situation so we can advise accordingly. If gaining an ECS card is your specific intention, you could also visit the ECS card website as there are specific requirements on the eligibility of different qualifications.
Overall we’ve been very pleased with the level of interest in the EWA since its launch. We’re committed to ensuring it’s a robust route to full qualification, whilst recognising the existing qualifications and experience of candidates. In order to create a truly worthwhile process that benefits you and your previous achievements, it’s important we take this tailored approach.
NET is a registered charity, so we’re not in the business of wanting to profit from assessments. It’s in our – and the industry’s – interest to improve the pass rate and minimise re-takes.
To support this aim, NET has produced a number of free resources to help those preparing for their assessment. Our ‘Readiness for Assessment’ Checklists map out clearly what you’ll need to do in each section of the assessment. Use this as your bible and also look honestly at what areas you’ll need to brush up on. The AM2 tests a broad range of practical skills and knowledge; if you’ve been working in niche areas for a number of years you may need to put additional preparation work into some sections of the assessment.
On our website we also have resources such as Top Tips videos and a Pre-Assessment Manual – use these to your advantage! It’s surprising how many candidates still fail on basic errors such as not reading or following the specification.
Knowledge is power
For those looking to take any AM2 assessment we encourage you to look directly on the NET website for all resources – including the checklists – to ensure you’re using the most up-to-date versions.
We also urge people to reference the NET and TESP websites for regular updates regarding the AM2E assessment and the Experienced Worker Assessment respectively.
Make sure you’re armed with all the facts so you can make an informed choice about how to move forward.
WORKING FOR THE WIDER INDUSTRY
Many people don’t know that in addition to its role as guardian of the AM2 and other assessments, NET’s charitable work also includes promotion of the industry elsewhere and encouraging people into electrotechnical roles following the correct training routes.
Each year NET organises the SkillELECTRIC competition and is a member of TESP, through which NET has helped to fund the Electrical Careers website and extensive labour market research. In the pipeline for NET next year are more videos and resources to help people prepare for their assessment, along with a new ‘Future Faradays’ college engagement project.
Visit the NET website by clicking here
Visit the TESP website by clicking here