A trio of PE’s product testers give their thoughts on the IET Academy’s online 18th Edition training.
It’s now a full nine months since the 18th Edition IET Wiring Regulations came into effect, bringing with it the need for electricians to receive professional training in order to help them prove and demonstrate a full understanding of BS 7671:2018.
With thousands of electricians operating around the UK there’s certainly no shortage of training options available to them, but narrowing down the best route for the individual can be a difficult exercise, especially when you consider the time that delegates have to plan away from their day-to-day work if they’re undertaking class-based on-site training.
In recent years, training has become a much more flexible beast, with e-learning and online training/examinations now a more than viable alternative to the traditional class-based pathway. Whether your preference is mouse clicks or pen and paper, there’s a suitable route for you.
As joint publishers of the Regulations (alongside BSI), the IET is in a particularly strong position to deliver key training material to electricians and, through its IET Academy, has introduced a comprehensive yet flexible online training course to help delegates get up-to-speed with the 18th Edition.
The course, which is suitable for anyone needing working knowledge of BS 7671, has been authored by those with industry experience and understanding of the new regulations, and ensures that electricians can complete it anywhere, at any time.
Keen (as always) to put such solutions to the test, three members of PE’s ‘product testing’ team were given the chance to undertake the course with both the full and update (for those already with the 17th Edition already) options available to them.
Let’s find out what they thought:
KELLY VINCENT (KELLY ELECTRICS)
I’d not previously undertaken any direct training with the IET and, as I’m already a 17th Edition qualified electrician, I opted to take the update course.
The software starts with an introduction, including details of what the course involves, so you can be sure you’re taking the right course for you. It then goes into the history of BS 7671 and explains the numbering system.
Each module of the course is split into sections of the Regulations, with an assessment at the end of each module. You’re then awarded points for every module and assessment you complete, and when you’ve reached the golden target of 760 points you’ve basically completed the course.
One aspect that I particularly liked at the end of each module was the option to try ‘Practice Final Exams’, which I found really useful to test and refresh what I’d learned in the previous weeks of studying. The IET Academy uses a lot of visual aids and examples throughout the modules to ensure a good understanding of each Regulation. Throughout the training I found that the information was clear, easy to follow and understand.
As a business owner and electrician life can be extremely busy, and I find it very difficult to take time out of my working schedule, so the online nature of this course was ideal for my own circumstances, allowing me to complete things in my own time – an hour here, half a day there – and at a pace I was happy with. I found that I could move quickly through the things I knew already, and then take it slowly and absorb the information when it came to things I wasn’t so clear about.
After completing the course I now feel that the new Regulations are always at the tip of my tongue and have the confidence of knowing that when we design an installation it’s all according to the latest Regulations. Sometimes we can go months without needing to pick up the On-Site Guide or BS 7671 but I now know where to find the right information, and quickly.
One observation that I’d make is that I’m unsure how effective the online training route would be for ‘unqualified’ electricians, as I’d imagine that those who are only just starting in the trade would benefit much more from sitting down in a classroom and receiving full explanations and examples from a teacher, especially if they need to ask unlimited questions to help gain a complete understanding of the subject area.
That said, the IET’s online training was absolutely perfect for me and I even managed to pass the follow-up C&G exam first time around.
GEORGE ROBERTSON (G ROBERTSON ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS
I’m not ashamed to admit that, prior to reviewing the IET’s online training for this article I’d never taken any kind of online course before, though this may well have something to do with my age!
I missed the amendment three update to my 17th Edition, so was keen to take the full 18th Edition course this time around.
I have to say that I found it all to be very easy to follow and was surprised at the simplicity of the process, allowing me to fit the training into my schedule and take as much (or as little) time on each section as I wanted.
Although I’m yet to sit my C&G exam, I certainly feel a lot more confident about completing the course now I’ve undertaken this training and believe that sceptics can take further assurance from the fact that the IET (a highly respected organisation) has put its name to it.
This course has certainly changed my mind about the quality and ease of use of on-line training courses and I would have no problems with undertaking any other online course offered by this particular provider.
REECE FITZHARDY (RF ELECTRICAL SERVICES)
As I’d never previous undertaken any kind of training with the IET, I was particularly intrigued to see what this offering would be like, opting for the ‘update’ version of the course.
After commencing the online training I was impressed at the delivery of the modules and how simple the course was to follow. The robust system also really keeps track of your progress throughout (even if you accidentally close a screen down) and I was pleased to receive a certificate on completion once I’d finished.
In my opinion, this type of online training is a far less intense experience than the pressure of the classroom, and allows you to fit the training around your day-job, rather than the other way around.
One slight drawback is that you have to book the follow-up C&G exam through a separate training provider (which can sometimes be a few months after, depending on the availability that particular provider has), so it would be nice if you could complete the exam as part of this online training so that everything is fresh in your mind.
I certainly feel much more confident about the requirements of the Regulations now and am pleased to say that I also passed my follow up exam!
For more details about the IET Academy and the 18th Edition online training, go to: theiet.org/academy-regs-pe