The first Northern Ireland apprentices to be assessed under the AM2S end-point assessment are due in Autumn 2021.

The AM2 acronym has been around since 1985 and is well embedded into the terminology of the UK electrical contracting industry. AM2 stands for “Achievement Measurement 2” and has been used by training providers on behalf of the industry to help assess and determine the competency of apprentices and other learners usually within the scope of an overall NVQ Level 3 qualification.

One common misconception that has arisen with AM2 over the period, is that it is a stand-alone qualification. In fact, it is best to think of AM2 as a unit of assessed evidence within the scope of an overall qualification. Therefore, success in AM2 in isolation, should not be considered as an achievement of final competence or as a rite of passage into the industry.

Until 2017, training providers were permitted to bring final year apprentices forward for AM2 assessment, even when unit qualifications or NVQ portfolio work remained outstanding.

The absence of strict, end-point assessment rules under AM2, may have provided a degree of flexibility but also introduced the potential for a false sense of achievement.

For example, some apprentices who managed to successfully undertake AM2 but failed to complete the overall NVQ qualification, enter the industry as underqualified workers, a fact that may or may not be picked up by an employer.

However, since 2017 the industry has been required to adopt a true end-point assessment due to regulatory and funding rules.  This means that all other knowledge and assessment units of the NVQ must be completed and certified before enrolment for AM2 can be achieved.

The shift towards end-point assessment has led to the development by NET of a new acronym – AM2S.  The AM2S includes an additional practical task and extends the assessment by an additional one hour thirty minutes.

The first Northern Ireland apprentices to be assessed under the AM2S end-point assessment are due in Autumn 2021.

Action for Employers

An employer incentive is payable by the training provider to the employer following success by the apprentices at AM2S. Employers interested in securing the financial incentive should consider steps to further support and prepare the apprentice during the time leading up to the 2021 assessment.

Inspection and testing, fault-finding and the online assessment are the typical recurring areas of failure in first-time attempts by apprentices. We recommend that employers

  • Include the apprentice in inspection and testing and fault-finding tasks where possible
  • Encourage the apprentice to undertake regular revision of electrical principles and IET Wiring requirements.

Action for apprentices

Passing AM2S first time entitles you to be recognised as a qualified electrician. Training providers are responsible for funding the first attempt at the assessment. Subsequent resits (range from £100 to £750) become the responsibility of the apprentice, so it’s best to start early and work towards a first time pass of AM2S.

We recommend that you

  • Seek out opportunities with your employer to be involved in inspection and testing, and fault-finding opportunities.
  • Schedule regular time to refresh and update your technical knowledge and avoid a last-minute cramming exercise.
  • Make use of training provider notes, text books and online learning resources.