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10 Second Survey Results: How often should you have your test meter calibrated?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 22nd June 2017

The results are in!

We recently ran a 10 Second Survey to find out how often you think your test meter equipment should be calibrated. To ensure traceability to national standards, all testing equipment needs to be tested on a regular basis, but we wanted to see just how often you think that should be.

So, here are the results:


We were also interested to find out how long it has been since you last had your test meter calibrated: 



As you can see from the results above the majority (82.19%) agree that meter equipment calibration should be completed yearly. However, the frequency of testing can depend on a number of factors, for instance, your scheme provider may require you to have a certificate to prove your meter equipment readings are accurate, plus it could be a requirement of a contract you are working on.


For those who are concerned about the accuracy of their test meters, investing in a CalCard, which is approved by the NICEIC and NAPIT, is a great way help regularly check the accuracy of multi-functional test instruments. This is useful if you are working on electrical equipment and installations where inspecting and testing is performed on a regular basis.

It is recommended that you should use your CalCard weekly, with the results being recorded to ensure you have continuing accurate results. However, even though the Calcard has been highly recommended by electrical bodies, it will only confirm resistances in respect of low ohms reading testing and insulation resistance testing, therefore, full calibration tests will still need to be conducted annually.

Prize Draw Winner

Many thanks to everyone who took time to complete the survey. All participants were automatically entered into a free prize draw to win a CalCard worth £30 and one lucky winner was picked at random and has today been presented with his prize.

Categories: meter calibration

City & Guilds 2391 Inspection and Testing Course is back!

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 21st June 2017

In 2012 the C&G 2391 was withdrawn and replaced with a two part qualification, the 2394 Initial Verification and the 2395 Periodic Inspection. However, from July 2017 the 2391 is being resurrected in the form of three different course options, the 2391-50 Level 3 Award in Initial Verification, the 2391-51 Level 3 Award in Periodic Inspection and the 2391-52 Level 3 Award in Inspection and Testing, which will effectively match the old 2391, 2394 and 2395.

Why has this qualification changed from 2394/5?

Since their introduction, the 2394 and 2395 qualifications have had a good reputation as high quality evidence of advanced electrical verification, inspection and testing skills. However, many believe that the examination method has been neither efficient nor easy, with quarterly written exams and hard-to-schedule resits making it time-consuming and costly for examination centres and their students.

Over the past ten years, many industry organisations have developed training schemes aimed at domestic or commercial markets and this in turn led to a difference in the level of assessing competence. The 2394/5 course has changed to the 2391 to meet the industry specified needs for an inspector working in the current electrotechnical environment, and has been re-introduced to align all industry qualifications for inspection and testing wiring systems to BS 7671.

Why have City & Guilds done this?

City & Guilds have said that these changes have been made for a number of reasons, but mainly because the industry understands the 2391, and that these new qualifications reflect what the industry competent persons schemes are accepting. They also say that without the existing written paper they will be able to provide faster results at a lower cost.

If you were feeling a little skeptical you might believe that City & Guilds have aligned the 2391 to compete with the likes of EAL. The new 2391 follows the same structure of equivalent EAL qualifications, who scrapped their written exam in favour of a multi choice open book exam. This is something I am sure - students will be happy about. However unlike the EAL equivalent the 2391 does have a written assignment which is completed in a supervised setting.

Who should take the City & Guilds 2391?

The C&G 2391 is aimed at practicing electricians who wish to gain qualifications in Periodic Inspection, Testing and Reporting, as well as Initial Verification of new systems.

The new course structure caters for persons from all aspects of the industry recognising previous skills and qualifications. The three routes available are:

2391-50: Initial Verification. This qualification is suitable for domestic installers who only verify new works such as their own installations.

2391-51: Periodic Inspection: This qualification is suitable for those who have gained a qualification in Initial Verification and have experience in Periodic Inspection. This is particularly aimed at electricians who have completed an apprenticeship after 2015 and have recognised skills in Initial Verification.

2391-52: Combined Inspection and Testing: This qualification is suitable for practicing electricians who carry out both Initial Verification and Periodic Inspection and Testing. At present we only offer the combined course.

Whichever assessment route you choose, the course will cover the specific methods of inspecting and testing all types of installations, whether single or three-phase, to the current requirements of BS 7671. It covers the inspection and testing techniques as given in IET Guidance Note 3 and how to professionally complete Certification and Reports.

The examinations are open book, multiple-choice, on-line assessments which have the advantage of providing almost immediate results. The practical assessments are carried out in-house just after your examinations.

Depending on the route taken, the examinations and assessments are:

2391-50- 40 item on-line, open book, 80 minutes, multiple choice AND a 2.5-hour practical assessment.

2391-51- 40 item on-line, open book, 80 minutes, multiple choice AND a 2.5-hour practical assessment.

2391-52- 60 item on-line, open book two-hour, multiple choice AND a 2.5-hour practical assessment.

During the course, you will also have to complete a short written, open book test covering health and safety and documentation used for the inspection process.

Note: It is essential you have a good understanding of BS 7671: IET Wiring Regs.

Worth Knowing: 2391-50 and 51 OR 2391-52 is currently required in order to gain your JIB grading as an approved electrician so save time and money with our combined course.

What happens if I already have 2394, 2395 or both?

Not a problem. If you have 2394 Level 3 qualification and want to gain full recognition as an inspector, you need to take 2391-51.

If you have 2394 and 2395 Level 3 qualifications, these are still recognised if you wish to register with the JIB, but don’t leave it too long otherwise you may be asked to prove you are still up-to-date in an ever-changing industry.

What if I’m currently studying the 2394/5?

Registrations for the 2394/5 will close at the end of August 2017, however, students will have until August 2018 to complete their qualifications and still receive their certificates. There is no need to be worried as these qualifications will continue to be recognised by employers and the industry.

What are the entry requirements?

For any 2391 option, you must be over 18 and be up-to-date with industry requirements. You should be working in the electrical industry and involved with the inspection and testing process. If you have limited experience, you may wish to consider taking the Level 2 Fundamental Inspection and Testing qualification 2392.

Is this as difficult as previous testing qualifications?

Like any assessment, it assesses your ability to do the job. If you can inspect and test and understand why and how, the exams and assessments shouldn’t be too hard. We pride ourselves on our pass rates and we know our training will give you the right knowledge and practical training needed to pass.

What does this course allow me to do?

The course gives you the confidence to competently carry out Initial Verification and Periodic Inspection and Testing. It also gives you the certification needed to become JIB Approved, as well as making membership with one of the Industry Certification Schemes an easier process. This course also gives you the knowledge and understanding needed to compile professionally detailed reports on the condition of electrical installations.

Here at Trade Skills 4U we offer the 2391-52 Inspection and Testing course, which you can book on-line using our course page, alternatively if you would like to speak to a course adviser please call 01293 529777 or 0800 856448.

Categories: city & guilds 2391, c&g 2391, city & guilds 2394/5 c&g 2394/5

‘How Quick Can You Strip’ Contractor Challenge at CEF Live – 8th and 9th June

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 7th June 2017

CEF, supplier of electrical products and services, are hosting their 2nd CEF Live event at the NEC, Birmingham on the 8th and 9th June 2017 for their contractor customers.

During the event, Prysmian Group a world leader in the industry of high-technology cables and systems for energy and telecommunications, will be there to promote its standard cable, as used by every day contractors and to demonstrate its easy stripping characteristics.

Win a prize!

As part of a ‘Skills Challenge’, which will take place on both days of the event, Prysmian will be running a competition where contractors are invited to carry out a typical procedure that involves cable stripping, for example wiring a socket.

How are Trade Skills 4U involved?

Prysmian contacted us to ask if we would like to get involved in the challenge, as they wanted an electrical representative on hand to ensure that best practice in terms of technique and tools are used during the challenge, and also to ensure the appropriate health and safety precautions are adhered to.

Of course we were delighted to support the event, and agreed that Mark Longley one of our experienced tutors will be there and on hand to oversee the challenge. Mark will demonstrate the correct technique for the challenge and will be timed while carrying out the procedure, so that competition entrants have a time to beat.

Each entrant will then be timed and the results will be posted on a 'Top Gear' style leader board, with prizes being given to the winners with the fastest times.

Mark said, “I’ll be setting the benchmark for the time to beat, so no pressure there! I’m really looking forward to the challenge, it’ll be interesting to see the different techniques used and who’s going to be the fastest. There are some great prizes to be won too, so make sure you come along to Stand 37 and have a go.”

Reasons to attend

With over 45 leading suppliers already confirmed, the event is set to be even bigger than last year. By attending the event you will get to meet industry leading brands, see the latest products and technology, attend knowledge seminars with a preview to the 18th edition regulations, get involved in skills challenges, find out about apprenticeships and grab some on-the-day discounts and special offers.

Registration is free, go to www.ceflive.co.uk/ to register.

If you are interested in electrician’s courses please visit our Course Finder page.

Categories: electrical cable, cef live event 2017, electrical contractor, electrician

Charitable Support for Electricians of Tomorrow (EIC)

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 1st June 2017

Written by Tessa Ogle, Managing Director of the Electrical Industries Charity

The Electrical Industries Charity offers four workplace programmes that give the industry access to financial grants and a comprehensive range of free and confidential services, which include the Employee and Family Assistance Programme, Apprenticeship Support Programme, Pension Support Programme and the Practical Participation Programme.

We asked our friends at the Electrical Industries Charity if they would like to write a blog for us, which explains the services they offer to young people in the industry - which you can read below.


More support for stars of tomorrow 

Every so often no matter how old or young you are we all need a support network to help us to overcome the challenges at hand when we are trying to reach our goals. But some talented young people in our industry do not have that essential support which they need to create a brighter future for themselves.

Apprentice Support Programme

The Electrical Industries Charity recognises the importance of an essential support network for the young stars of tomorrow and therefore, launched the Apprentice Support Programme to help the apprentices to get the right skills and support to create a career they deserve. With the Apprentice Support Programme, young people in the electrical industry have a unique opportunity to earn and learn while gaining invaluable training and life skills.

The Apprentice Support Programme provides support for those who are unable to pursue their career due to unforeseen circumstances in their lives, such as financial burden, illness or having to care for a family member.

The right level of support

The Programme gives young talent the right level of support with many issues including financial, emotional, health and family factors. The support services that the Charity offers include career services, career development and transition assistance, debt advice, financial assistance, legal advice, apprentice scholarships and bursary scheme, financial grants and assistance, and support for carers.

Jack’s story

One of the recent examples where the Apprentice Support Programme gave hope to a young apprentice is Jack Terrins story. Jack is in his first year of his apprenticeship and lives with his mum Fiona who is recovering from breast cancer, having undergone a lumpectomy and chemotherapy. Fiona’s treatment has been very debilitating and because of the type of cancer she has, the next five years are crucial. As a result, Fiona has now taken retirement from work due to ill-health.

At the age of 21, Jack now has a role caring for his mum. In the past two years he helped his mum on her cancer journey, and although there are a lot of cancer charities and nurses who were willing to provide emotional support, there was no financial assistance available to help Jack and his mum to pay the household bills when his mum was no longer working.

Although Fiona now receives a pension, the only salary coming into the household is Jack’s, which has to be used to pay not only for household bills but also the insurance and equipment which he will need to complete his apprenticeship.

Jack has applied for and been granted the Electrical Industries Charity’s first Apprenticeship Bursary which will allow him to pursue his career while also helping him to care for his ill mum.

Jack’s story is one of many examples that outline the difficulties that the future stars are facing to reach their goal. With a looming skills shortage in our industry more needs to be done to support the new talent coming into the sector.

The Charity understands that if an apprentice is going through a rough patch at home it puts their work performance at risk. They, therefore, need support to allow progression, and achieve a lifetime of productive, satisfying work. The Apprentice Support Programme was, therefore, set up for young future stars like Jack because the Charity wants to ensure that the young apprentices of the electrical industry get the crucial support they need in reaching their full potential and creating a brighter future for themselves.

If you would like to find out more about the fantastic services this charity offers, please visit www.electricalcharity.org or email business@electricalcharity.org

Categories: apprenticeships, electrical industries charity