What is a Qualified Electrician?
by Chris Walker on 02 November 2011
This is a good question. We should think about answering this perhaps by first of all considering what qualifications are in popular use today. The most recent and modern qualification set in the City & Guilds suite is the 2330 and the 2356. Taken together this pair will provide the successful candidate with the necessary credentials to apply for the JIB Grade of “Electrician”. However a successful candidate would be entitled to offer these two qualifications to an employer or a client as evidence of being a fully qualified electrician and not necessarily be required or obliged to become JIB Graded.
The City & Guilds 2330 covers the theory side of the training programme. Electrical principles, regulations, and health safety are progressively taught leading the apprentice or adult learner from a level 2 to level 3 qualifications in electrical installation theory. This is sometimes referred to as the underpinning knowledge; and is used to provide the prospective electrician with the essential technical knowledge required by the industry in the UK.
Knowledge is vital but must be applied correctly and consistently in the work place environment. In order to validate the knowledge a second and complimentary qualification is employed. This is the City & Guilds 2356 NVQ qualification, which is used by the industry to determine if a person can apply the knowledge on the job and in so doing meet the national occupational standards. This qualification is a very good indicator of competency; as it is only achieved following a series of formal and rigorous work place assessments by an approved and qualified vocational assessor.
In order to retain and justify the “qualified electrician” status all practicing electricians should keep their qualifications current with the requirements of the industry. The IET Electrical Regulation BS 7671:2008 (2011) gives rise to the main qualification (City & Guilds 2382-12 or 2382-20) that requires practicing electricians to be up to date. Employers and client bodies are entitled to request evidence of up to date qualifications.
Qualifications are the objective means of demonstrating to others that you are entitled to carry out specific work for which you have been trained to do. Prospective employers and clients may also wish to be convinced that your qualifications have not become ineffectual. This can come about when electricians have not been practicing their trade in the real world environment or have been working in some other occupational area for a considerable period of time.
Are my qualifications still valid?
The predecessor to the City and Guilds 2330 and the 2356 is the City & Guilds 2351 and the 2355; this became effective between 1999 and 2004. This qualification is probably in the possession of most electricians who are in their late 20’s. The qualification remains valid and acceptable to most employers and clients for the purposes of evidencing the “Qualified Electrician” status providing the electrician can demonstrate objectively that they are up to date with their knowledge of the BS 7671 2008:(2011) IET 17th Regulations. This can be demonstrated through achieving the City & Guilds 2382-12 or 2382-20 qualification.
Prior to 1999 most qualified electricians in Northern Ireland under the age of fifty will probably rely upon the City & Guilds 2360 Part 1;Part 2 the AM2 and the City & Guilds 2355 NVQ. Once again it will be important for practicing electricians to keep their “Qualified Electrician” status up to date with the current electrical regulations. Electricians who keep their electrical qualifications up to date are more likely to be recognised as being competent.