The electrotechnical industry expects all electricians who are working unsupervised to hold the ECS gold card. To qualify for the ECS gold card, you'll need an industry level 3 qualification to demonstrate you have the underpinning knowledge and that your competence has been assessed to meet the standard that’s needed to work in the industry.
For all new entrants into the sector, the Level 3 Electrotechnical Qualification (in either Installation or Maintenance) gained as part of an apprenticeship is required. Alternatively, the Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment (Building Structures and the Environment) gained as part of a formal training programme is required or the Electrotechnical Qualification as part of an apprenticeship.
These qualifications will certify the individual has undergone what they need to be recognised as an electrician: this includes the underpinning knowledge, training on the UK wiring regulations (BS7671), performance assessment, practical site-based assessment and an end-point assessment. The Level 3 qualifications are available from both EAL and City & Guilds, with the industry end-point assessment available from NET.
If you already have some industry technical qualifications and can demonstrate previous electrical experience, it may be possible, via the experienced worker assessment (EWA), to have a professional interview with an assessor and an individual training plan developed, with a view to becoming formally qualified. The EWA provides a route for individuals to meet the ECS card requirements by gaining the industry recognised competency-based qualification. More information about the EWA is available from our experienced worker assessment webpage.
Qualifications such as the stand-alone BS7671 qualification (IET Wiring Regulations), the Certificate in Fundamental Inspection, and the Certificate in the Certification of Electrical Installations (inspection, testing and certification of electrical installations) are designed as professional development for qualified electricians and are not suitable for unqualified personal or new entrants in to the industry.
On their own, these qualifications do not demonstrate the industry required qualification and competence.
Any reference to Part P of the Building Regulations is for company registration to comply with legislation (in England and Wales). It is not a general requirement for individually-qualified electricians.
Short course ‘Part P’ training programmes are only for individuals that worked in the industry for at least two years and want to be a Qualified Supervisor for their company. These courses do not qualify individuals as electricians, as the training is focused on Building Regulations requirements.
If you are already formally qualified to NVQ Level 3, you do not need to re-qualify if you are the proposed Qualified Supervisor for your company, but you will need to demonstrate your knowledge of the Building Regulations during your company’s Part P assessment visit by the Competent Persons Scheme provider.