In this article ECS provides readers with an overview of changes to the scheme, when these will take place and how to get to grips with the new requirements.
Over recent months the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) has announced a number of changes to the scheme, which will affect any of you who hold, or are thinking about applying for, the ECS Labourer card, Installation Electrician card or Registered Electrician card.
In summary, the changes are:
The ECS Labourer occupation is a specialist role within the industry and is intended for those who are supporting an electrician with specific electrical tasks, as opposed to a general construction labourer.
As of 1st August, if you’re applying for your first Electrical Labourer card you’ll now need to gain a JIB-recognised health and safety qualification such as CCNSG Safety Passport or IOSH Working Safely, or hold a JIB-recognised theory qualification, plus provide evidence of working for an electrical contractor.
I already have a Labourer card
From 1st January 2019 you’ll need to meet the new criteria before you can renew. Your current expiry date still applies and no action is needed until then. We’ve had some people ask: ‘Will my card still be valid after 1st January?’ The answer is ‘Yes’. You won’t need to act until you come to renew your card when you’re approaching its expiry date.
If your card expires before the end of 2018, you can renew your card in the normal way under the existing rules.
The ECS Health, Safety & Environmental Assessment – exemptions!
If you have or gain one of the safety qualifications, these are classed as three-year exemptions from the ECS HS&E Assessment. This means if you gained one of those qualifications in the last three years (according to the date shown on your qualification certificate), you won’t have to take a separate ECS HS&E Assessment this time. But you will need to the next time you renew.
Gold card changes
I’m thinking about applying for a gold card
From 1st January anyone applying for an Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card for the first time will be required to sign up to Registered Electrician status. This means you must meet the qualification requirements for Installation Electrician (such as NVQ Level 3 or JIB-approved equivalent) but also have the BS7671:2018 qualification.
I’m an Installation Electrician gold card holder
If you keep your card up-to-date and renew your card on time, you don’t have to do anything different. However, if your card is more than a year out of date by 1st July 2019, you’ll have to meet the requirements for Registered Electrician (including holding the 18th Edition qualification) if you wish to renew your card.
I’m already a Registered Electrician
From 1st July 2019 all existing Registered Electricians who are currently on the 17th Edition of the Wiring Regulations will need to have gained their 18th Edition qualification to retain their Registered Electrician status. You can upload your qualification via your MyECS account and this will automatically update your virtual ECS card that’s available via the MyECS app.
Why are these changes being made?
The Labourer card changes have been made so that the ECS card can continue to meet Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) partnership criteria. This follows the announcement by the Construction Leadership Council that nationally-recognised qualifications should be in place for all construction-related occupations by 2020. Other changes are in the pipeline for Related Discipline and Manager cards. Site Visitor cards are also being phased out in line with CSCS.
For the Registered Electrician changes, our aim is to raise standards across the industry even further by encouraging electricians to work to the latest edition of the Wiring Regulations. For an existing cardholder, from next year becoming a Registered Electrician just involves holding the BS7671:2018 qualification and signing up to a Code of Practice, which includes a commitment to working professionally and responsibly.
So far over 11,000 electricians have chosen to become an ECS Registered Electrician and those we’ve spoken to are keen to keep up-to-date with the regulations, and are proud to commit to a high standard of work.
We’re looking forward to more Installation Electricians making the move to ECS Registered Electrician as they gain their BS7671:2018 and want to promote their achievement to clients and colleagues.
For more information about the new rules and to stay up-to-date with forthcoming changes visit: www.ecscard.org.uk/new-rules