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A Clear Route To Industry? Domestic Electrician Apprenticeships - Opinions Please

Posted by Carl Bennett on 13th May 2015

electrician working

Read this blog and give us your opinion to be entered into our win a van competition!

We have many conversations with our thousands of contractor customers when they are here with us attending career development courses. The conversations are generally around the inability of the small contracting company (5 or less employees) being able to support an adult apprenticeship programme.  They tell us they can’t support an adult apprentice for three simple reasons:

Lengthy training programme.

High cost of training and employing  an adult apprentice.

Lack of the range of work required as evidence for the NVQ. (A Particular problem for those working in the domestic sector)

You will notice in the above list, that we are talking about adults, i.e. aged 19 plus, but more likely to be 24 plus. The most commonly offered solution by these contractors,is that the industry needs to offer a career solution that accurately reflects the workplace in 2015, a one size fits all NVQ isn’t what the small employer needs.

A 3-4 year apprenticeship of drip feed training and onsite experience is certainly appropriate for a 16-19 year old, where the general lessons of working life must also be factored into the training of an apprentice.

However for an adult wanting to join the industry, and increasingly many do, the inflexibility of the standard NVQ leads to those people seeking other routes into the industry which often leads to short cuts being taken. We all know that this is not a satisfactory solution when training the future workforce of what is, after all, a vital industry to this country.

Many contractors tell us that if the apprenticeship programme was broken down into bite size chunks, it would make it more cost effective and relevant to employers and employees alike.

The Solution - Stepping Stone Qualifications

The natural bite size chunks to us are obvious. Electricians offer their services generally into three sectors. Domestic, Industrial, Commercial. You’ll see it on the side of virtually every contractors van.

It’s our opinion, as evidenced from our customer’s comments that the NVQ should be broken down likewise. So we would suggest that the training programmes offer an NVQ for a Domestic Electrician, then perhaps if needed, progression to the full electricians to NVQ subject areas specifically covering the Commercial and Industrial sectors.

This proposal would give the flexibility to the small contractor to be able to support an adult apprentice programme, as inevitably it would be shorter (perhaps a year), and the programme would be more relevant to the actual work they do on a day-to-day basis. It is also more beneficial to the adult apprentice who could not commit to a 3-4 year apprenticeship on reduced wages.

Of course the current full NVQ would still be an option and is certainly appropriate for the young person entering the workplace for the first time, but this proposed approach with its greater flexibilitywould provide a much needed realistic training option for the small employer who frankly just wants to get on with the job, get their people trained as efficiently as they can and earn money.

Likewise if the units contained within the Technical Certificate equivalents that apply to domestic  electrical installations could be separated out and taught first, then there can be a simple and clear route into industry for all,with a clear starting point and several stopping off points.

All of this would allow new entrants the ability to qualify as a domestic electrician and then upskill to carry out commercial  and industrial installations at a later date if required.

It seems common sense to adopt this route and the industry has come close in recent times with the introduction of the “Level 3 Certificate In Installing, Testing & Ensuring Compliance of Electrical Installations in Dwellings” qualification. However the problem with this is that you still need to transfer into one of the main courses listed above to qualify as electricians. It would make more sense if everyone studying to be an electrician studied key subjects relating to domestic installations first and then had a choice on whether or not to continue studying or to start work as a domestic electrician. This would lead to much greater harmony and much less confusion both amongst the public and out there in the workplace.

So with that in mind we have decided to undertake a formal consultation process and present our findings to industry andto offer this as a training solution thus perhaps ending the years of fudge that has plagued the domestic sector.

We need your input!

There is still a long way to go, but we believe with your input we can improve this situation for the better. We are looking at this in partnership with Summit Skills and want to hear your thoughts on this. We would love to hear from anyone that has an opinion and you can express your opinions simply by completing the form below. We hope you can help positively and work with us to improve our industry

You will also be entered into our win a van competition if you complete the form below by the 31st May 2015:

If you have any trouble with the above form you can visit: http://form.jotformeu.com/form/51304411575346

We hope you can help positively.