- 1 Routes
- 2 Domestic Electrical Course
- 3 C&G 2365 Level 2 Diploma
- 4 C&G 2365 Level 3 Diploma
- 5 C&G 2357 NVQ Level 3 Electrical Installation or Maintenance
- 6 C&G 2346 Level 3 Experienced Worker NVQ Electrical
- 7 C&G 2382-18 Level 3 Award
- 8 C&G 2391-52 Inspection and Testing (Periodic & Initial)
- 9 C&G 2919-01 EV/Car Charging Point Installers Course
- 10 BPEC Solar PV Installers Course
- 11 C&G 2377-77 EET/PAT Testing
- 12 C&G 2393-10 Building Regulations & Part P
- 13 ECS Card Scheme
- 14 Summary
There is a range of available electrician courses, and, by extension, qualifications, to support individuals develop in the electrotechnical industry. This includes programmes aiding those in their first, tentative steps into the sector, all the way through to seasoned electrical experts. This article intends to offer a comprehensive overview of the courses available. Within this, discussion will be given around the eligibility criteria for each electrician course, who it targets, and the structure, format and content.
A multitude of educational establishments and learning providers facilitate a number of electrical courses. However, for the purposes of consistency and simplicity, this narrative will primarily focus on those offered by the City & Guilds. The City & Guilds, or C&G as it will be often referred to throughout, is one of the country’s leading skills providers. They have a solid reputation for producing engaging and accessible courses across a range of industries. Furthermore, their brand is well-recognised and respected within electrotechnical circles, so candidates should feel assured if using C&G as their course convenor.
This article concerns itself with the key qualification milestones that are required to become a fully-fledged electrician. It will also detail some supportive, ‘periphery’ courses that will serve to consolidate learning and grow your skill-set. There are further, advanced training courses available, such as a Level 4 qualification or an AAC (Advanced Assessment of Competence). However, these are not compulsory modules in the journey to becoming an electrician. Nevertheless, individuals may want to conduct some reading into these qualifications, should they wish to target specific senior roles within the industry.
It’s widely acknowledged that the road to becoming an electrician can be compartmentalised into three pathways, although there is a significant crossover between them all. This is particularly the case when reviewing routes 2 and 3 below. In essence, route 2 is simply an extended version of the path you’ll take in route 3.
- The apprenticeship route will incorporate many of the courses included in this guide. However, prospective and current apprentices should ideally consult their own training packs to understand which learning modules articulated below are most relevant.
- For those approaching from a low base of knowledge, one would encourage commencing on a different learning pathway, which starts by attending a Domestic Electrical Course Package. After this, you may look to advance onto a Level 2 Diploma.
- If some relative experience has been accumulated through contact with the industry, then candidates could quite comfortably skip the Domestic Electrical Course stage. This means they would jump directly to the Level 2 diploma, and then potentially onto Level 3 and NVQ courses.
Structure and approach
However, the key here is to be extremely honest. Circumventing learning modules now will only lead to more challenging obstacles further down the line. For those becoming apprentices, your core learning journey could, in theory, start and end within the duration of your apprenticeship programme. For those on routes two and three, your training will feel a little more like a set of building blocks, as you move from course to course. The irony is that all paths cover the same learning modules and content, and end up converging together at their respective end points. Therefore, whichever route you select should be entirely dependent on your personal circumstances, as the subject matter does not differ between these options.
Each qualification standard is achieved by completing both theory and practical modules. This will culminate in a number of assessments at the conclusion of your electrician course. These tests are applied in various formats, so please ensure you’ve taken time to digest the style and structure of any examinations due to be taken.
Make sure this is right for you
Lastly, before we launch into the course overviews, candidates should conduct some research into the holistic training journey. An electrician’s work is often complex, and therefore could be described as a relatively challenging profession. Therefore, you must apply considerable patience and hard work, and also have a good aptitude for electrical science.
If individuals are unsure whether this is the right career pathway for them, it might be worth seeking out a work placement opportunity in a relevant field. Work experience timeframes offered by employers are usually more than adequate to allow you to make a decision on whether the industry is right for you.
Electrical training can also be a costly and time-consuming process. So please make sure you’re financially and psychologically prepared to commit, otherwise it could be a completely unproductive and uneconomical endeavour.
Domestic Electrical Course
As referenced, this electrician course is perfect for those just commencing their pathway into the electrical sector. In gaining this qualification, individuals will be able to confidently articulate the essential foundations of domestic electrical instalments. Although course content is relatively basic, it provides a thorough overview of most electrical works. Therefore, the volume of subjects covered is accordingly extensive.
On successfully navigating this course, you’ll be able to conduct electrical instalments under the supervision of a fully-qualified electrician. Given that this course will be undertaken by individuals not tethered to an educational body or electrical contractor, delegates will need to self-fund their learning. Prices do range up to £2500 (inc. VAT), but candidates should remember that this will give them sufficient enough grounding to commence their career as electrical professional.
Course content and structure
This electrician course really is all-encompassing, as it can be applied to a host of rudimentary electrical work. On completion, individuals will have an appreciation (and early practical skills involved) of the following disciplines: consumer unit replacement, electrical installation, lighting installation and design, servicing of electrical cookers, single-phase circuits, electric showers, domestic rewiring, inspection & testing, CCTV, fault finding, smoke detectors, smart heating controls and underfloor heating.
Although content covered in these areas will be at a foundation level, this course still provides a good insight into the range of workstreams within the electrotechnical field.
Courses will vary in length and structure depending on your course provider. However, as will be a theme throughout this text, most learning bodies will accommodate a decent level of candidate flexibility. Therefore, if your personal circumstances dictate that training little and often is more suitable than consolidated chunks, then you should be able to comfortably pursue this.
Most providers aim to complete all learning modules in just short of three weeks. Course breakdowns will be generally reflective of the following structure:
- 10 days in a ‘practical’ centre. This will most likely be a workshop located in an educational space used by your provider.
- 3 days e-learning. This will be theory-based, and usually will be conducted remotely.
- 5 days virtual classroom. Again, this will occur remotely. However, this will involve entering a social online ‘room’ as opposed to learning independently.
Style of learning and certification
At this stage, it’s worth highlighting the role of personal learning preference. Consider the best ways in which you learn, and see if your provider will facilitate this mode of training. There are pros and cons to each course environment. Working remotely will undoubtedly provide greater flexibility, particularly for those with other commitments. However, pier discussion and tutor interaction are often undermined or missed altogether when studying online. A hybrid balance is usually the best approach, and this is how most providers usually structure their courses.
If successful, there will be three qualifications acquired at the conclusion of this electrician course. These are the following:
- Fundamental Inspection, Testing and Initial Verification (City and Guilds 2392)
- Certificate in the Building Regulations for Electrical Installations in Dwellings (City and Guilds 2393)
- Requirements for Electrical Installations (City and Guilds 2382)
These courses can, of course, be undertaken individually. However, if approaching as a relative novice, it’s far more time and cost-efficient to participate in a unified programme such as the Domestic Electrical package.
Practical skills developed
As briefly touched upon, you’ll also receive upskilling in a range of pursuits. The following skills will be honed and developed through sitting this electrician course:
- An understanding of how to use basic industry tools
- Installing and terminating twin and earth cables
- How to install circuits for Lighting, Power and Cookers.
- The application of bonding to gas and water cables
- The function of consumer units and how to set-up
- An initial appreciation of how to select the correct electrical equipment for Special Locations (such as bathrooms, swimming pools, hospitals etc.)
- Scientific formulas and measures used in the industry. This includes information on SI units, Ohms Law and initial power calculations. This would include working out a circuit’s maximum demand, and how to account for diversity in a domestic installation.
- Cable size selection
- How to ensure works are conducted in compliance with the Building Regulations
- Single-phase safe isolation
- A foundation knowledge on how to safely and competently test and inspect electrical instalments.
- Understand the contents of the 18th Edition Wiring Regulations Book, and how to apply this information in practical contexts. N.B. This is a crucial component of any electrician’s toolkit, and therefore will be discussed as a standalone course later in the article.
There are a few subjects which are given some low-level focus on this electrician course, but are expanded on further when progressing onto the next stage of the learning journey. The items which are covered in more detail on the City and Guilds 2365-02 Level 2 Diploma, are as follows:
- 202 Science Principles
- 203 Electrical Installations Technology
- 204 Installation of Wiring Systems and Enclosures.
Given the level of information contained in the course, the resultant examinations are appropriately detailed in their application. With regards to certain electrical installation work delivered within a residential context, an offshoot segment of the C&G 2393 qualification, candidates will be required to sit a practical assessment. And, for the other part of the C&G 2393, relating to Part P Building Regulations (more on this to follow), delegates will be presented with a multiple-choice, ‘open book’ exam. For reference, an open book exam alludes to test where bringing certain accompanying documentation into the hall (real or virtual!) is permitted
The C&G 2382-18 learning module, based on the latest edition of the IET Wiring Regulations, will also be subject to a multiple-choice open book exam.
And, finally, delegates will be invited to undertake two tests pertaining questions on C&G’s 2392-10 training segment. This involves being able to competently answer questions relating to the Inspection & Testing of electrical installations. Tests in this area are positioned in both practical assessment and multiple-choice examination format.
There is some compulsory accompanying literature that individuals will need to acquire. Without this, you’ll struggle to get through the course content efficiently, and compromise chances of successfully passing. The titles of these are as follows:
- Electrician’s Guide to the Building Regulations, 5th Edition
- Guidance Note 3: Inspection and Testing, 8th Edition
- bs7671:2018 Requirement for Electrical Installation, IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition
- IET On-Site Guide (bs7671: 2018, 7th Edition)
Attempting to conduct the course without the appropriate resources will compromise chances of successfully passing.
If candidates are looking to pursue a professional career in the electrical industry, they need to advance onto the next stage of learning and beyond. For those just looking to gain introductory knowledge into the industry, and become capable in perform basic electrical works under supervision, then this electrician course may be the end-point of your training journey. Whichever decision you make at this juncture, ensure you’ve properly reflected on what this qualification entitles you to do, and whether it satisfies your onwards ambitions.
C&G 2365 Level 2 Diploma
As with a number of learning modules, this qualification can be undertaken in isolation, or looped in with its level 3 counterpart. The C&G 2365 Level 3 Diploma course complements the information contained in this level 2 version and must be completed as the next step towards acquiring your NVQ and AM2 (the final stage towards becoming a fully-fledged electrician). Therefore, in line with the logical approach discussed in the last section, candidates may decide to take the Level 2 and Level 3 C&G 2365 as a ‘packaged’ course. This unified method is offered by many learning providers.
For the purposes of providing information on both courses, the Level 2 and Level 3 elements have been split in this analysis. It should also be noted that students should ensure they have a relevant base level of scientific electrical theory before undertaking the Level 2 qualification. If not, candidates should reflect on whether taking an initial Domestic Electrical Course is the best route to pursue.
Content and structure
The Level 2 C&G 2365 programme covers off an extensive list of electrical installation skills and knowledge. Another characteristic is its attention to more developed discussions around Health and Safety practices. These are applicable on any construction site or associated electrotechnical work spaces. A topic that is further explored as individuals progress through their training plans.
Courses are usually broken down into one-third e-learning (roughly 9 days), and two-thirds practical learning (approx. 20 days). Various providers offer different learning schedules, but most will ensure all subject matter is completed comfortably within four months.
On passing this course, candidates will be able to automatically enter the electrotechnical industry as an electrician’s mate. This means that electrical instalment works can be conducted, provided they’re implemented under the supervision of a qualified electrician.
Although this electrician course is relatively costly, it will significantly improve chances of gaining employment with an electrical contractor. This is essential further down your training pathway, as workplace experience is the only way to navigate any professional electrician career route to its conclusion.
By demonstrating your competent in the areas covered in its course content, employers will be attracted towards hiring you. And, aside from the compulsory qualification component involved, on the job experience will serve to expediate your training programme. It should therefore be a point of focus early in your training plan. The opportunity to practice core skills on a daily basis is invaluable, and will significantly support your learning efforts.
The key topics covered on the Level 2 C&G 2365 electrician course are:
- Electrical Installations Technology
- The principles of Electrical Science
- Wiring systems and enclosure installation
- Health and Safety in Building Services Engineering
There is also a competency-based element around communication. This aims to upskill individuals on their style, tone, and content of interactions when engaging with colleagues on-site.
Again, the examination process for this qualification is relatively robust. Candidates must complete several practical assessments and online multiple-choice tests to pass this course.
In terms of essential reading required, individuals should look to acquire the following titles:
-The IET On-Site Guide (bs7671: 2018, 7th Edition)
-The City and Guilds Textbook: Book 1 Electrical Installations for Level 2 Diploma (2365). This guide is available online, but not in hard book format.
C&G 2365 Level 3 Diploma
Unsurprisingly, given its higher academic grading, the C&G 2365 Level 3 is significantly more challenging than the Level 2 foundation course. Given its additional complexity, the course timeframe is substantially longer and will demand a working plan of approximately 34 days. This is almost twice as long as the Level 2 C&G 2365 qualification. Therefore, delegates usually take roughly six months to complete. However, as always, this depends entirely on the individual’s pace of learning, previous experience, and available free time.
Within the C&G 2365 Level 3, coverage of types of electrical installation increases, as does the difficulty level of the accompanying theory. Therefore, although some existing knowledge areas are built upon, there are also some entirely brand-new concepts introduced. These include learnings on three-phase circuits, information and appreciation of renewable technology, and exercises in mini-trunking conduits.
All of these topics are examined through the vehicle of several learning modules, which vary in duration and density. The following chapters are studied as a continuation of Level 2 focus, with the usual training application adjacently in brackets:
Development of Level 2 content
- Health and Safety in Building Services Engineering (Practical & Theory Training)
- Principles of Electrical Science (Theory-based, but with Practical demonstrations involved)
- Electrical Installations: Inspection, Testing and Commissioning (Practical & Theory Training)
- Electrical Installations: Fault Diagnosis and Rectification (Practical & Theory Training)
- Understanding the core principles and requirements of Environmental Technology Systems (Theory-based)
- Design of Electrical Systems (Practical & Theory Training)
- Career Awareness in Building Services Engineering (Theory-based)
There are a number of embedded online and practical assessments which relate to the subject matter articulated above. Therefore, candidates should ensure they’re well-positioned to thoroughly revise course content, prior to sitting their examinations.
Lastly, there is a substantial number of reading materials that are essential to support candidate learning. These titles are:
- Guide Note 3: Inspection & Testing, 8th Edition
- bs7671: 2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations, IET Wiring Regulations (18th Edition)
- IET On-Site Guide (bs7671:2018, 7th Edition)
- The City & Guilds Textbook: Book 1 Electrical Installations for Level 2 Diploma (2365)
- The City & Guilds Textbook: Book 2 Electrical Installations for Level 3 Diploma (2365)
These last two items are only available as online articles.
In order to progress through to the NVQ stage, you must have completed the Level 2 and Level 3 C&G 2365 Diplomas (or equivalent courses) in either a combined module or a series of singular ones.
However, if you have over five years’ work experience in an electrotechnical occupation, the industry offers an alternative route in attaining the all-important NVQ. Indeed, those who have already undertaken electrical installation work over a prolonged period of time will have most likely already acquired skills and knowledge that supersede the course content of the respective C&G 2365 diploma programmes.
Therefore, the industry has created the C&G 2346 Level 3 Experienced Worker NVQ Electrical course. An overview of this training programme will be provided at a later stage.
C&G 2357 NVQ Level 3 Electrical Installation or Maintenance
The final chapter in your quest to becoming a fully-qualified electrician! This electrician course does not contain an abundance of fresh material. Rather, it is an assessment of the knowledge and competencies acquired throughout the C&G 2356 Level 2 and Level 3 diploma stages.
This course usually lasts for approximately 6-12 months. However, again, this will be dependent on current employment experience, capability, and personal circumstances. Importantly, candidates registering for this course must have completed less than five years’ service in the electrical industry.
As referenced, it’s vital that, by this stage, students will be in fixed employment in an electrotechnical capacity. This is crucial, as substantial evidence needs to be presented in order to pass this qualification. Without real-world examples, candidates would be unable to produce the necessary work for accreditation purposes.
Whilst in employment, it’s important to be receptive to new disciplines, and actively seek out opportunities to practice learned skills and demonstrate knowledge. This will serve to hasten your qualification timeframe, as more, diverse evidence, results in a quicker pass.
The requirement and importance of strong evidence
However, the collation of evidence can be quite challenging. It’s a skill that thus far hasn’t been covered throughout your learning journey. Previously, assessments and learning modules will have come with structure and guidance; this is a key differential of the NVQ stage. Ensure that you enlist the support of your course tutor and senior work colleagues to support you in this endeavour. The idea is, that you formulate a strong portfolio of work, and therefore clearly demonstrate your competency level across all related disciplines.
As part of the assessment procedure, candidates will be tested on the potency of this evidence through a number of methods. Again, this may feel a little different to previous courses. Assessors will be grading you via a range of approaches.
Testing formats and structure
- Witness testimony: This will involve a suitable industry professional validating your work. They will be going on record to state that you’ve completed the relevant task to the expected standard, whilst in employment.
- Reflective accounts: These are pieces, written by yourself, that articulate specific work you’ve done throughout your course or working experience. Be sure to emphasise why you’ve taken particular actions, as opposed to what action you’ve taken. This will demonstrate to the assessor that you have a firm grasp of the relevant skills and knowledge required.
- Photographic evidence: Self-explanatory. You’ll be expected to present proof of the work you’ve delivered by submitting appropriate images.
- Direct observation: This will involve an assessor physically viewing your skills in action, either by reporting to site, or conducting a virtual examination. Although this can be nerve-racking, there’s a good chance you’re in this position due to your already demonstrated capabilities. By relaxing, and calmly completing the set task by deploying the approaches learned during your training programme, you’ll be more than comfortable in addressing this part of the testing process.
Assessments can be taken in chunks, or consolidated into an intensive period. There are clearly advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, and no one-sise fits all. You’ll also find that some electrician course providers will offer a full, virtual examination package, which may be of benefit to certain individuals.
Candidates can select a more specific area of the electrician role to specialise in at the NVQ stage. There will be a significant element of crossover, however courses do accommodate two, subtly different, pathways; installation, and maintenance. So, consider the requirements of your targeted future role, and pick accordingly. However, don’t worry if you commit to one route and later change your mind. The skill sets learned are often interchangeable, and extremely transferrable.
Content will alter slightly based on your decision between maintenance and installation. However, generally, the electrician course will assess your capability in the following areas:
- How to work safely on-site, and sustain a healthy working environment
- Identifying and addressing faults in electrotechnical circuits and equipment
- Demonstrate adequate technical knowledge on a range of electrotechnical circuits and equipment
- Assessing the general characteristics of a given works before commencing the installation of wiring systems, enclosures, and electrical equipment
- Safely and competently installing wiring systems, enclosures and electrical equipment.
- Link isolated wiring systems in line with bs7671 regulations and guidance
- Correctly sequence the inspection, testing, and commissioning stages of electrical installation.
At the conclusion of this course, students will also need to undertake the Electrotechnical Assessment of Occupation Competence. This is known in the industry as the AM2 Assessment. This is the culmination of all work, conducted on all previous courses, up to press. Therefore, it is an accordingly challenging examination.
The test is broken down into five sections, which all involve conducting a practical task under timed, examination conditions. These activities will be reflective of the work an electrician will regularly come across whilst operating in the trade.
Don’t panic about this assessment! This is simply a final review of the skills you’ve most likely already demonstrated on numerous occasions. Therefore, candidates should feel confident and prepared to tackle the attributed tasks. Practice does make perfect, so hone your approach in the workplace and during your course sessions in the weeks prior to your exam.
It’s worth checking to see whether your course provider incorporates the AM2 into their overall course costs, or charges separately. Either way, this assessment is the only way to be formally signed-off as a fully qualified electrician. You’ll therefore need to ensure you’re in a position to undertake it.
C&G 2346 Level 3 Experienced Worker NVQ Electrical
As touched upon previously, there is an alternative electrician course pathway for those with extensive industry experience. However, individuals must not apply for this course if they’ve either been part of a Level 3 Diploma/NVQ (such as the C&G 2365 series), or have endured less than five years’ experience in the electrotechnical employment sector.
The vehicle towards gaining this qualification is through a testing process called the Mature Candidate, or Experienced Worker, Assessment. The name deployed is determined by the course provider you’ve decided to use.
Required learning milestones
Successful completion of this course results in the same NVQ grading awarded in the C&G 2357 programme. Unsurprisingly, therefore, the two sets of content are a mirror image of one another. In order to suitably pass, candidates must similarly complete a robust evidence portfolio of skills and knowledge. This may be something that is slightly easier to comprise, given the time already endured on a construction site. Furthermore, mature candidates must have certification to show they’ve passed the most recent wiring regulations assessment (presently 18th Edition). They’ll also need to hold a relevant qualification within the discipline of initially verifying, inspecting and testing an electrical instalment. This could be the C&G 2391-50 learning module (more on this to follow).
Given that those on this programme will arrive with considerably more experience, course lengths tend to be slightly shorter than the C&G 2357 equivalent. Mature workers should expect to complete this course in a period closer to six months than twelve.
Candidates will not need to allocate time off-site to complete this qualification. All course communication and assessment can be conducted exclusively in the workplace or online. This makes it an attractive proposition for employees and employers alike.
Again, content varies slightly dependent on whether you take the installation or maintenance options, but participants should expect to see the same topics covered as those articulated in the C&G 2357 section.
However, there are a couple of additional learning areas which may have escaped attention, given that these individuals will not have undergone Levels 2&3 of the Diploma NVQ. Therefore, some additional attention is given to the bs7671 wiring regulations, as well as the initial verification, testing and inspection of electrical instalments. Nevertheless, these two workstreams are often positioned as ‘Recognised Prior Learning’ (RPL) modules. In this way, they build, consolidate and refresh knowledge, as opposed to presenting these topics as ‘new’ information. This is because any workers with substantial industry experience should have already acquired the necessary experience in these areas.
On wiring regulations, this is the Level 3 Award in Requirements for Electrical Installations bs7671:2018 (C&G 2382-18). For inspection and testing, this is the Level 3 Award in Initial Verification and Periodic Inspection & Testing of Electrical Installations (C&G 2391-52). More on both of these qualifications to follow.
Lastly, as per the C&G 2357 equivalent course, mature candidates will also need to sit an AM2 Assessment as an end-point exam. There is no specific version of this assessment for the Experienced Worker course, and therefore questions and content remain the same as previously expressed.
Gaining an awareness of old course titles
As a cautionary note, the full suite of Level 2 and Level 3 NVQ Diploma courses are sometimes referred to by their legacy titles. Although this can be somewhat frustrating, it is unfortunately an occupational hazard of changing course names and gradings throughout time. The same could be said of any qualification alteration, in any industry.
The C&G 2330 Certificate in Electrotechnical Technology, is the equivalent to the current C&G 2365 programme. The 236/2360 Part B/2 is the previous name for a course amalgamating the components of the current C&G 2346 (Level 3 Experienced Worker NVQ), and the old C&G 2330. Therefore, the old Experienced Worker training path, incorporated both the Level 2 and Level 3 Diploma elements, as well as the separate NVQ aspect.
Confused? I’m not surprised! It will most likely be some time before these previous titles are completely eradicated from the industry, and, by that point, another name change may well have been introduced.
However, don’t worry too much about this. The key thing is to remember the course names in their contemporary forms. And, equally as importantly, fully understand their grade-level and respective content.
C&G 2382-18 Level 3 Award
The IET and BSI endorsed wiring regulations are seen as a cornerstone document in electrotechnical theory and practice. IET, or the Institute of Engineering and Technology, are a highly-reputable body that supports governments on policy decision-making relating to their fields of expertise. The British Standards Institute, or BSI, are an industry-recognised group that set the benchmark of compliance across a number of sectors.
The IET have released refreshed wiring regulations periodically since 1882, with the last set before the 18th edition launched in 2008.
The associated bs7671:2018 course relates to the practical application of the principles and regulations contained in the 18th edition wiring guide. The key dynamic of this course, and the resultant examination, is to encourage candidates to consider these regulations in real-world scenarios, as opposed to a list of disconnected rules on a page. Therefore, delegates should study the theory and drivers behind this set of guidelines, and not just commit the regulations to memory.
The ‘update’ course
For those already in the industry, a shortened ‘update’ course is available, which assumes a decent foundation knowledge level in this subject.
It is the responsibility of those working in the industry to maintain a grasp of the latest compliance standards. These individuals need to attend a relevant course, and pass an associated assessment, on each occasion that these guidelines are released. However, given the average publication period between issues is roughly 10-15 years, electricians may only need to sit this examination on three or four occasions within their full employment life cycle.
For those candidates taking the update course, particular attention should be given towards the major alterations between the most recent guides. These will most likely be areas where knowledge could be noticeably weaker, or indeed be missing altogether.
Full course format and structure
The ‘full’ course should be taken for anyone in the primitive stages of their career in the trade. However, it’s worth understanding whether these regulations have already been covered in a previous learning endeavour. For example, the Level 2 & Level 3 NVQ Diploma includes this unit as part of its course curriculum.
Although timeframes differ, delegates should expect the course to run in a 3-day block schedule. This will include a first day of learning the book’s basic content and numbering system, before two full days of theory discussion. These elements will take place in either a training centre or via a virtual classroom environment. On the final day, i.e. the second day of ‘theory’, a two-hour assessment will be conducted.
The assessment consists of 60 multiple choice questions and must be completed within two hours. This allows 30 seconds per question, which should feel an adequate amount of time to offer a response.
The content covered relates to the constituent ‘parts’ of the 18th Edition guide. In essence, these are the key sections of the book, and articulate, in chronological order, the steps of the electrical installation journey. There are seven ‘parts’ in total, with an Appendix located at the back of the guide, which serves to supplement understanding and provide rationale for the scientific formulas deployed throughout. There is also a definition ‘part’, which offers explanations for the extensive use of terminology and industry jargon used within the guide.
The ’parts,’ and therefore course topics covered, are as follows:
- Part 1: Scope and Fundamental Principles
- Part 2: Definitions
- Part 3: Assessment of General Characteristics
- Part 4: Protection & Safety
- Part 5: Selection & Erection of Equipment
- Part 6: Inspection & Testing
- Part 7: Special Installations or Locations
It’s absolutely essential that all candidates acquire a copy of the bs7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition) prior to joining this electrician course. Furthermore, delegates should ensure that this documentation is an official copy. Fraudulent guides, which are seen from time to time in training circles, could possess incorrect or missing information. If unsure, look for the IET hologram. If the guide is authentic, this should be present on the inside cover of your guidebook.
C&G 2391-52 Inspection and Testing (Periodic & Initial)
Delegates will need to already have a reasonable knowledge of inspection and testing sequences prior to applying for this course. Therefore, this qualification is targeted at industry professionals with at least a modest experience level in the electrotechnical trade.
The course is an amalgamation of the C&G 2391-50 Initial Verification and Certification of Electrical Installations, and the C&G 2391-51 Periodic Testing and Certification of Electrical Installation. Therefore, as per the Level 3 Diploma NVQ, it’s worth candidates selecting this option ahead of attending the two, aforementioned courses individually. For reference, this qualification replaces the legacy training programme, C&G 2394/95. The updated course is equipped with the new legislation introduced regarding landlord inspections, which was initiated from 1st July 2020.
The course duration will be roughly one full week. With regards to structure and format, candidates will most likely undergo two days of intense e-learning, before entering three days of tutor-led training in either a practice centre or virtual classroom conditions. The electrician course concludes with an assessment schedule, which broadly lasts around two days.
As referenced, a previous understanding of this discipline is a must. If candidates are unfamiliar with general testing & inspection practices and have a lack of knowledge in relation to 3-phase systems, they’ll quickly find themselves lagging behind their peers. At least six months of experience in conducting inspection and testing is preferred. For those keen to ascertain this qualification, but who are still relative novices in this field, it may be worth looking at the C&G 2392-10 Fundamental Inspection & Testing Course. This will provide key introductory information in this field, and equip students to advance onto the more challenging C&G 2391-52 Level 3-graded qualification.
Course content and examinations
This qualification is predominantly concerned with the principles included in IET Guidance Note 3. It is recommended that this is reviewed and digested prior to attendance. Delegates will also cover the various reports and certification associated with testing, as the associated documentation is a central component of this activity.
The course covers a diverse list of subjects, which includes:
- Protective conductor continuity
- Checking continuity of ring final circuits
- Understanding insulation and earth electrode resistance
- Polarity and phase sequencing
- Earth-fault loop impedance
- Prospective fault current
- How to use residual current devices
- Understanding how to safely isolate electrical installations
- How to initially verify electrical installations
- Periodic inspection and testing activity and regulated timeframes
- How to inspect electrical instalments prior to them becoming operational
- How to safely test and commission an electrical instalment or electrical equipment
- Safely using equipment intended for the purposes of inspection, testing and commissioning
The assessment format takes shape as a hybrid package of online exams, written coursework and practical observations.
Examination conditions permit an ‘open-book’ approach, so candidates will be able to take in appropriate literature. A very short written assignment will be set within the course duration, with delegates given roughly an hour and a half to compose the text. A two-and-a-half-hour practical assessment rounds up the testing element of this electrician course.
Essential publications to acquire in order to successfully conduct this course are as follows:
- IET On-Site Guide (bs7671: 2018, 7th Edition)
- bs7671:2018 Requirements for Electrical Installations, IET Wiring Regulations 18th Edition
C&G 2919-01 EV/Car Charging Point Installers Course
As per the theme, individuals can select either a novice or competent pathway, dependent on training and experience. For the purpose of clarity, this review is concerned with the two-day qualification, which is aimed towards electricians already in the trade.
In recent years, there has been a huge rise in the popularity of electronic vehicles, and vast societal pressure to scale-up production. This has therefore had a resultant impact on the car charging industry, which has undergone a paralleled boom in activity. Whether you’re a seasoned professional in the trade, or just entering at domestic installer level, the successful navigation of this course presents delegates with a sizeable financial opportunity. This could be exploited as a means to gaining some additional income or be a reason to create a dedicated, full-time business related to this endeavour. Either way, acquiring this skill-set could lead to lucrative working activity.
This predominantly theory-based course is typically run over a two-day period and is split evenly between classroom learning and examination sessions.
Given this qualification is targeted at those with relatively decent industry experience, course entry requirements are reasonably demanding.
Tutors will expect individuals to be:
- Qualified to NVQ Level 3, and therefore taken a qualification such as the C&G 2365. This means they would be able to capably demonstrate their ability to work on domestic and commercial electrical installations.
- Competent in installing and terminating both PVC twin and earth cable, as well as Steel Wire Armoured Cable (SWA)
- Understand how to initially verify, inspect and test an electrical installation. This would include completing the necessary reporting documentation.
- Have good knowledge of the latest Building Regulations requirements
- Have good knowledge of the latest 18th Edition IET Wiring Regulations.
Course content and examinations
With this strong foundation of electrical understanding in place, candidates will be coached on how to design, specify, install, fault find, test, and inspect EV charging stations. The course will encompass information on all environments where charging points can be located. This includes those positioned on commercial and domestic grounds, as well as ‘on-street’ stations around town and city centres.
As this sector may feel completely new to some, the training does include a preliminary session on Electric Vehicles themselves. This will include a brief overview of types available in the marketplace, their key characteristics, and some relevant safety considerations.
Aside from this, the electrician course will entail:
- Learning about different charging methods, their electrical requirements, and what restrictions apply.
- A detailed unit on the preparation phase of the install. This delves as deep as planning permission and risk assessment implementation. It will also cover information on supply, earthing, potential explosive atmospheres, safety protection, and labelling.
- Understanding how to apply inspection and testing in this context. This unit will also include content on how to appropriately commission and certificate the instalment.
- How to accurately fault find in charging stations
Testing for this qualification consist of a multiple-choice formatted exam, as well as a practical assessment. Candidates can bring their own testing device for the practical element, providing it complies with the necessary legislation (GS38).
Essential reading is the Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation (IET Standards). So please ensure this has been suitably digested prior to attending the course.
There is an alternative course available in this discipline, pitched at domestic installer level and below. Should you wish to participate in this training, course length usually extends out a further three days, due to the additional content required to cover.
BPEC Solar PV Installers Course
As the City and Guilds have now discontinued their C&G 2399-13 qualification in Solar panel installation, we turn our attention to BPEC’s equivalent course.
This module is aimed at experienced electricians, keen to diversify into new disciplines. Furthermore, and in similarity to the EV charging point course, it provides electrical workers with an opportunity to operate within the renewable energy sector. Not only is this a proliferating industry with substantial personal growth prospects, but it also facilitates individuals to contribute towards protecting the planet. Therefore, associated job roles can be extremely rewarding.
The course embodies a combination of theoretical and practical information, with delegates able to physically work on Solar PV instalments. Tutors will elaborate on the design, installation, commissioning and servicing phases of solar systems.
Moreover, this qualification acts as supporting mechanism towards attaining an MCS certification. The MCS, or Microgeneration Certification Scheme, helps demonstrate to clients that the installation of equipment is being conducted by a competent party. It is an international scheme that has full endorsement from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change.
Course content and examinations
As this electrician course upgraded from Level 2 to Level 3 status in November 2012, both content and assessments have become more challenging in recent years.
Given this uplift in standards, the entry requirements for undertaking this electrician course have become significantly more challenging. Individuals will have to be equipped with a relevant NVQ Level 3 (such as the C&G 2357), and have passed their 18th Edition Wiring Regulations Assessment. Furthermore, there is an expectation that you are Part P registered, or can demonstrate that you are capable enough to join a competent person’s scheme (more information on Part P to follow). Alternatively, acquiring an Inspection & Testing qualification, such as the C&G 2391-52, will be deemed sufficient evidence of competency.
The testing structure consists of two multiple-choice examinations, a timed, short, written assignment, and a three-hour practical assessment.
C&G 2377-77 EET/PAT Testing
There are two-and three-day versions of this electrician course, with the former designed for more experienced electrical workers. We will focus our attention here.
This qualification was recently updated by the City and Guilds in November 2020. The course has now substantially expanded into further concepts of Electrical Equipment Testing (EET). However, traditionally, this qualification focused almost squarely on PAT Testing. However, such has been the movement towards other forms of equipment testing, in the near future, it’s highly likely that the ‘PAT’ element will no longer require a specific place in the course title.
However, PAT testing will certainly remain a routine fixture in the electrician’s working schedule. Given legislation in place, all commercial units and offices must have their equipment suitably PAT tested at appropriate intervals. Given the volume of buildings this includes, this has become a considerable income generator for those trained in this discipline.
Candidates will need to have a decent platform of electrical scientific knowledge, but it isn’t as essential as many of the other City & Guilds courses. Therefore, in this instance, taking the two- or three-day course is more aligned to personal preference or confidence level, as opposed to experience or expertise.
Course content and examination
The IET Code of Practice is used as a central, guidance document throughout. Candidates are therefore encouraged to read and digest this article before course arrival. Items covered in the EET/PAT Testing training are:
- Understanding the contents, practical application and definitions of the Code of Practice document
- Legislation and legal requirements
- What equipment is included in the scope of the Code of Practice
- Understanding and calculating electrical units of measurement
- How to classify equipment accurately
- Safety precautions and considerations
- How to competently inspect equipment
- Reporting and certification
- How to process new and third-party equipment
- How to conduct a robust risk assessment
In truth, this electrician course is a little easier than many other electrical qualifications. However, EET/PAT testing is an everyday procedure in the electrical sector, and therefore candidates need to feel confident in its delivery. As always, students should consider whether this content will have been studied as part of a previous learning course.
The examination schedule is relatively straightforward. To pass, candidates will need to successfully sit a 50 question test on the topics covered. This will last 1 hour 45 minutes. There is also a short practical assessment section to complete.
There is just one essential reading material for this qualification, which is, as discussed, the IET Code of Practice- In-Service Inspection and Testing of Electrical Equipment: 5th Edition.
C&G 2393-10 Building Regulations & Part P
Again, this electrician course is reserved for those who have considerable experience in an electrical occupation. The qualification will demonstrate capability and knowledge in relation to the Part P regulations. This will suitably support individuals when aiming to register on a governmental Part P scheme.
In January 2005, an important piece of legislation was passed. This instructed that domestic electrical installers were, for the first time, required to understand how electrical works conducted could impact upon Building Control systems. By extension, this now meant that they were subjected to the same rules and regulations imposed on those carrying out building works.
Gaining a Part P license serves to prove that the individual conducting specific works within residential dwellings is competent to do so. This does not mean that all electrical work conducted in domestic conditions requires the task implementer to have Part P accreditation.
However, there are some scenarios where a Part P license is required (these situations are covered within the course body). In these cases, the electrician licensee holder will be able to scope, install and self-certify the works, without needing to inform the Local Authority Building Control Department (LABC). Indeed, their only obligated contact is to confirm to the LABC that an electrical instalment has been carried out. If not aligned to a Part P scheme, electricians need to go through a protracted planning and execution process, which involves frequent communication with an LABC representative.
Course content and examination
This electrician course is usually wrapped up in one day, and will efficiently move through units on:
- Understanding the content, scope and format of the Building Regulations documentation
- Identifying whether the planned works are notifiable, or non-notifiable to the Local Authority Building Control under Part P of the Building Regulations.
- Gaining an awareness of the associated reports and documents involved in the process
- Understanding how Building Regulations are imposed
The examination will most likely be squeezed into the same session as the learning modules. It is a 40-minute, open-book, multiple-choice assessment.
Candidates will need to acquire a copy of the Electricians Guide to the Building Regulations. This documentation should be brought into the open book assessment at the course’s conclusion.
ECS Card Scheme
There is one last obstacle to overcome, but this is comparatively easy compared to the challenges encountered through your training.
The ECS, or Electrotechnical Certification Scheme, offers a range of cards that demonstrate an individual’s role and grading within the electrotechnical sector.
In their pursuit of becoming a fully-fledged electrician, all candidates will need to acquire an ECS Gold Card. This will allow individuals to gain construction site access, and prove that they can compliantly conduct electrical work in a domestic or commercial dwelling.
To do so, you’ll need to complete an ECS Health, Safety & Environment Assessment. However, no need to worry! This is a relatively base-level examination that all students should feel comfortable passing. Furthermore, you may have already tackled this in the attainment of lower-grade cards, which have been acquired as you’ve worked through your training modules. Extremely few ECS card types are exempt from taking this assessment (usually those whose recipients have already demonstrated an appropriate level of Health & Safety knowledge.
A differing ECS card may have been received during an industry placement programme, an Apprenticeship scheme, or a trainee programme.
However, there is an expiry date attached to the ECS Test. Therefore, if you’ve already passed this assessment previously, please make sure you double-check your certification’s validity before continuing your gold card application.
So, there you have it. A comprehensive overview of the main electrician courses provided in the electrotechnical industry, with particular reference to those specifically offered by the City & Guilds skills body.
Hopefully, you’ve gained a solid understanding of course contents, structures and assessment processes present in the electrical trade. Unfortunately, given the nature of technological advancement, qualifications can often become updated or re-structured at short notice. Electricians, and students of the profession, should always strive to stay across these edits, and equip themselves with the latest information.
Although this can be somewhat frustrating when trying to grasp electrician course names and learning routes, it’s absolutely critical for the industry to maintain the pace of advancement. Ultimately, these serve to keep buildings, clients, and industry professionals safe.
It does take some time and effort to consider your options, so use the following top-tips guide to support your electrician course decision-making process:
- Consider your personal circumstances, both from a financial and work-life balance perspective. Which electrician course suits you best?
- Understand your current skill-set and experience level. Are you over or under-qualified to take on any given electrician course?
- Understand what discipline within the electrotechnical industry you would like to specialise in. What does your qualification roadmap look like?
The road to becoming a fully-qualified electrician is a long and challenging one. However, once you have passed that final AM2 Assessment, you’ll be entering a career that is both personally and financially rewarding. Ensure you’re ready to commit a sizeable dose of hard work, determination and concentration, as you’ll often need to lean on these traits throughout your training. If you require any further information, it’s recommended that you navigate through the City & Guilds website. In addition, it’s always good to chat your options over with somebody in the know. Link in with your course convenor or an appropriate industry professional for support and guidance.
Hopefully, you can soon acquire the qualifications needed to become a recognised electrician, and may even consider some of the additional electrician courses advertised. These will serve to consolidate learnings, and open up potentially lucrative new doors, so are well worth exploring.
Finally, take the time you need to pick your courses, and, most, importantly, best of luck on your future training journey!