Low Carbon Skills
The UK’s renewed focus to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will encourage a move towards low carbon technology which is creating a whole host of new opportunities for the electrotechnical sector.
These new opportunities mean that the role of the qualified electrician is changing and now is the time to make sure you have the skills and qualifications required to demonstrate your competence as an installer.
Put simply, just because you are a qualified electrician it doesn’t mean that you can instantly turn your hand to the installation of low carbon and renewable technologies such as solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, battery storage systems and electric vehicle charging points (EVCP) without further training.
It is vital that these technologies are installed by qualified and competent Electricians, evidenced by holding an ECS Gold Card, and not by those who simply have undertaken short courses. Individuals installing or maintaining these systems without baseline competency are putting themselves and end users at risk.
The following areas are those which should only be undertaken by qualified Electricians who have undertaken the relevant upskilling (for all Installation, Maintenance, Commissioning and Design):
- Electric Vehicle Charging
- Small Scale Solar Photovoltaic Systems
- Electrical Energy Storage Systems
ECS has worked with other industry bodies to only recognise those qualifications which have the necessary pre-requisites for entry, scope and breadth of learning to be industry approved. This includes qualifications from City & Guids, EAL and BPEC.
What is CPD and why is it important?
As part of the CSCS Alliance, ECS continues to focus on upskilling for qualified electricians and other electrotechnical occupations, and the last few years has seen a dedicated focus on the demonstration of competence, which requires qualified personnel to have undertaken relevant Continuing Professional Development (CPD) as part of their qualified electrician status.
This is relevant across all areas of the electrotechnical industry and is highlighted in the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS) which has been drawn up by bodies representing the electrotechnical industry and consumer safety interests in order to enhance the standard of safety of electrotechnical work. This Specification outlines the need for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to be undertaken by an individual to maintain and develop competence, including formal and informal learning, self-assessment, obtaining feedback and identifying areas for improvement.
This requirement for CPD is part of an industry wide commitment which is in line with broader Government Policy and the Building Safety Act but the recent spotlight on the installation of low carbon technology has led to a renewed focus on the need for skilled workers to evidence their skills, qualifications and personal competence.
This also aligns to the TESP Electrician+
campaign, which highlights how the role of a qualified electrician is
central to the installation of low carbon and renewable technologies. Working with ECS, TESP has set out a kitemark for qualifications to quickly identify those qualifications that meet necessary prerequisites (e.g. gold card electrician with latest edition of BS7671 IET Wiring Regulations).
TESP is working with awarding organisations, training providers and other industry stakeholders (including government departments) to promote the benefits of this upskilling and competency assurance. Awarding bodies such as City & Guilds, EAL and BPEC are leading the way in low carbon technology with updated EVCP and solar qualifications, which have been specifically designed to provide an opportunity for qualified electricians who meet the industry Level 3 standard to upskill whilst helping to safeguard against non-qualified and under-qualified personnel undertaking renewable installations.
These qualifications can contribute to a qualified electrician’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) record that can be displayed on the back of ECS cards and on ECS Check, the digital system that allows clients, contractors, agencies and others to verify the status of electrotechnical workers.
These qualifications can also attract funding from the JIB Skills Development Fund.
JIB member companies and their employees can apply for up to 75% funding towards:
- Level 3 Awards in Domestic, Commercial and Industrial Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment or Points (Install / Maintenance / Commissioning / Design)
- Level 3 Award in Electrical Energy Storage Systems
- Level 3 Diploma in Wind Turbine Installation / Maintenance / Commissioning
- Level 3 Awards in Installation or Maintenance of Heat Pumps
- Level 3 Awards in Small Scale Solar PV Systems (Install / Maintenance / Commissioning / Design)
To find out more and take advantage of this funding, see the JIB Skills Development Fund page.