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What is an ECS Card and How do I get one?

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 3rd July 2013

If you work in the electrical industry, it will make sense to get your hands on an ECS card as it will be virtually impossible to find work on a construction site without one.

The ECS card is similar to cards found in other industries such as CSCS cards and is a great way to demonstrate who you are and the type of work you are capable of doing. Importantly, it also shows you are authorised to be on site by showing your identity, qualified status and occupation.

What cards are available?

ECS stands for Electrotechnical Certification Scheme and is the only card scheme that is recognised and endorsed by the electrotechnical industry.  The ECS Card scheme runs across the entire UK – England, Wales and Northern Ireland, however there is a separate application for those in Scotland.

There are several card types available.  If you are qualified to NVQ level 3 in a relevant occupation, you can obtain a gold or platinum card at the same cost.  Whatever stage of career you are at whether trainee or site manager there is a card type for you.

The ECS Health and Safety Test

Before you can obtain the card, you may need to sit and pass the ECS Health and Safety test at an additional cost.  The idea behind this test is to minimise unsafe working practices, and improve safety and quality of work.  The test also ensures that everyone working on site has the appropriate health and safety knowledge.

Some qualifications are exempt from taking the ECS Health and Safety test so it is worth checking to see if it is necessary before booking the test.  It is also worth noting that Apprentices are exempt and can obtain a card on completion of the Apprentice application form.

What are the costs?

The costs do vary according to whether you are a member of Unite the Union or the JIB.  If you are a member of either of these organisations, there is a discounted application fee. The standard fee assuming you are not a member of either is £36 including VAT.  The Health and Safety test is normally £42 but does vary between providers.

Card renewals with less than 3 months until the expiry date cost £24 and a duplicate replacement if your current card has been misplaced is £18.

Fees paid are non-refundable even if your application is rejected, so always check you meet the eligibility criteria of the card you have selected before proceeding with the application.

How to apply

Before you complete the application form you will need:

A passport sized photograph – which needs to be endorsed by a relevant person

Photocopies of relevant certificates, qualifications, references and anything else specified on the application form

Sit and pass the Health and Safety test if applicable

The relevant fee

To ensure the correct documentation is enclosed with your application, Trade Skills 4 U highly recommend you read the guidance notes before completing the application form.

What Next?

It takes about 4 weeks to process the application form.  Once your card has been issued, it is valid for 3 years.

Don't be caught out, prove your competence with an ECS card.  It makes perfect sense for anyone working in the electrical industry to get themselves kitted out with one of these cards.