Since the launch of the Domestic Electrician apprenticeship standard in March there has been much debate and speculation over what it offers and what it holds for the industry. Here the team at TESP helps to clear up some of the early misconceptions around the standard.
The quality and structure of domestic electrical training and qualifications have been criticised and complained about for many years. Now, with the introduction of the regulated apprenticeship, we have a clear identity and industry standard for domestic electrical work, which has been developed by electrical contracting employers who recruit apprentices and work in residential premises.
TESP has not been involved in the development of the apprenticeship, but is helping the employer group to promote the standard and inform the industry about what it entails.
Comprehensive training programme
Three years in duration, the apprenticeship standard provides a comprehensive Level 3 training programme that will cover all facets of planning, installing, testing and maintaining electrical services within a domestic setting.
It also includes training and assessment in domestic EV charging point installation, and will provide a strong platform of foundation skills to equip learners to undertake further training in the installation of new and low carbon technologies. Domestic Electrician (DE) apprentices will gain a new Level 3 Electrotechnical in Dwellings technical qualification and will have to carry out an in-depth, 25-hour End Point Assessment that is a modified version of the existing industry assessment of competence, the AM2.
The apprenticeship is now approved and full details of the content are available on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education website. Since its launch there has been industry chatter, opinions and often misunderstandings about how the apprenticeship will be delivered and why it was developed.
Here are some of the key misconceptions and questions which we’re happy to set the record straight:
This is going to be boiled down into a fast track, sub-standard route
It’s impossible for this to be the case and it helps to understand how a formal apprenticeship works. An apprenticeship standard is government-regulated and a training provider can’t deliver it without being approved by government agencies and listed on a register.
Like any apprenticeship there is a maximum funding pot which goes to an approved training provider, chosen by the employer, who is in complete control over who delivers their training.
In terms of time length, all apprenticeship standards, including this one, have a minimum duration of 12 months if the apprentice has approved prior learning in the form of specified technical qualifications, and so it will not be possible for it to be boiled down into some form of fast track course.
This has been developed purely for commercial gain
An application for a new apprenticeship standard can only be made by groups of employers. This employer group has led the demand for and development of the DE apprenticeship.
There has been a clearly defined need to have a separate apprenticeship for the many businesses who want to recruit apprentices, but do not operate in the commercial sector. Until now, the only electrical apprenticeship choice was the Installation Electrician standard and it is widely recognised that many apprentices, if they are employed by contractors whose work is primarily residential, struggle to get the full range of experience needed to complete the training programme, and ultimately the AM2S.
Apprenticeships are funded by public money and any apprenticeship training provider is regulated and audited by government bodies. There is no additional pot of surplus funds raked off in other directions for commercial gain.
In fact, the apprenticeship will help to put a stop to the unrecognised short courses that those working domestically often take.
It’s not needed – what’s wrong with an alternative path on the current apprenticeship?
The government funding means that if the domestic apprenticeship was a pathway within the existing apprenticeship, the overall funding for the Installation Electrician apprenticeship would have been reduced due to funding being based on the shorter pathway.
What’s to stop domestic electricians working on commercial sites? It’s a risk to health and safety.
Unfortunately this has always happened; it’s the responsibility of the main contractor, employer and client to monitor who accesses a site and what checks are in place. The ECS gold card gained by a DE apprentice will clearly state ‘Domestic Electrician’, demarking it clearly from Installation or Maintenance Electrician, and so could in fact help with policing of who enters a site. As the Domestic Electrician Apprenticeship and its End Point Assessment become available, more information will be available on the TESP and NET websites. We encourage anyone with questions or concerns to contact TESP directly and we will happily answer any queries you may have.
To visit the TESP website click here