A lack of recognised standards for industry competence is hindering electricians’ career progress, according to new research.
Electrician Technician Registration in the UK studied electricians’ perceptions of their professionalism and found confusion around what constitutes ‘competence’ and which of the many industry bodies could be called upon for careers guidance.
Participants also believed that the wide array of electrical certifications and qualifications creates considerable difficulty in deciding which routes of study to take to lead to professional recognition.
The report also found the majority interviewed felt that without a visible benefit to pursuing additional professional qualifications, there is virtually no reason for an electrician to aspire towards professional registration awards and recognition such as Engineering Technician.
Jon Prichard, chief executive of the Engineering Council, says: “The report highlights the need for clarity to be brought to the sector, both for the benefit of electricians themselves as well as the clients and consumers who seek simple, recognisable competence assurance.”
The research was commissioned by the Technical Advisory Panel and Steering Group (TAPS) – a collaboration of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), the Engineering Council, the Electrical Contractors’ Association, the Joint Industry Board (JIB), union Unite and SummitSkills. The Gatsby Charitable Foundation sponsored the project.
To address the disconnect discovered by the research and to help electricians raise and recognise their professionalism, the TAPS partnership is now acting on several recommendations arising from the research.
Among these is developing career pathways, adopting a ‘one body’ consistent approach to the provision of advice, mapping Engineering Technician professional standards to the established industry competence card schemes, NVQs and apprenticeship frameworks and promoting the benefits of gaining Engineering Technician recognition.
“With so many different industry organisations aligned, this project offers a major opportunity to promote professional standards and to achieve clear recognition for all professional electricians,” said Michelle Richmond, director of Membership and Professional Development at the IET.
“Electricians deserve full recognition for the productive role they play in the industry,” said Richard Clarke, national apprenticeship officer at Unite. “This joint study importantly reflects the voice of qualified electricians; the high number that applied to participate demonstrates they want the proper recognition they deserve.
“Unite looks forward to working with our partners on the report’s findings and enabling bone fide electricians to get improved status and better recognition of their skills through professional registration, improved training and development opportunities.”
The full report is available here.