The ECS ‘Gold Card’ is well recognised within the electrotechnical sector and across the wider built environment.
But what is it and do you need one? What skills, qualifications and experience do you need? Is this card the same as a JIB card and/or a CSCS card?
In this blog, we’ll provide an overview of the ECS and answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
What is the electrotechnical certification scheme?
The electrotechnical certification scheme (ECS) is an ID and competence card scheme specifically for those working in the electrical sector.
Who is it for?
The ECS offers those working in the electrotechnical sector the chance to certify their skills under a scheme that is well respected throughout the building services and construction sector and beyond, including:
- Fully qualified electricians
- Electrical apprentices
- Trainee electricians
- Electrical assistants
- Site managers
- Plus, a variety of other roles across the electrotechnical sector,
What is an ECS card?
The ECS issues a wide variety of cards, depending on qualifications, occupation and experience.
Requirements for cards are developed and agreed by industry bodies, unions and professional institutions, including the Institute of Engineering & Technology (IET), the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), among others.
Your ECS card is proof of your identity, competence and adherence to industry standards and health and safety legislation.
- ECS Gold card – This card is for:
- Installation Electrician – electricians who hold a Level 3 NVQ and work unsupervised on the installation, commissioning and maintenance of low voltage electrical and electronic equipment; and
- Maintenance Electrician – operatives working on electrotechnical installations, plant and equipment to ensure their safe and continued operation.
Holders of these cards can apply to become an ECS Registered Electrician, a new status to recognise electricians who are qualified to Level 3 NVQ and the current edition of the Wiring Regulations.
Additionally, holders of the ECS Gold Card can apply for JIB grading, which indicates the level the cardholder is working at within the industry together with responsibility and technical training.
If you do not hold the relevant competency-based qualification to apply for an ECS Gold Card, you might qualify for:
- ECS Experienced Worker Card – this card is white with a brown stripe and is for operatives who hold a JIB recognised level 3 technical certificate but have not yet completed an NVQ.
- ECS Electrical Labourer Card – this card is white with a green stripe and is for operatives working in a supportive role under the supervision of a fully qualified electrician.
Once the relevant qualifications have been achieved, these cards can be upgraded to the ECS Gold Card.
- ECS Black Card – the black card is for site managers, contract managers and project managers working in the electrical sector.
Do electricians need a JIB card?
The ECS card used to be called the JIB card until 2002 – some people still call it this over 20 years later! Today, the Joint Industry Board (JIB) administers the scheme but the name of the card has change.
Do electricians need a CSCS card?
What is a CSCS card?
Many building sites and public and private sector clients, such as local authorities, NHS trusts, universities, government departments, internet service providers, house builders and social housing organisations, require tradespeople and construction workers to hold a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card to begin work.
ECS – the CSCS card for electricians
Electrical workers do not need a CSCS card – but they do need an ECS card.
The ECS Card is the electrotechnical-specific equivalent of a CSCS card.
A part of the ECS application process, candidates must complete an ECS Health Safety and Environmental Assessment (or hold a relevant H&S qualification) which proves they have been trained in site safety and working practices.
How much does an ECS card cost?
It costs £54 (£45 plus VAT) to take the ECS Health Safety and Environmental Assessment if you apply online – paper applications or in-person applications using the premium service cost more.
How to apply for an ECS card
The best way to make an application is online. You can apply manually but you will have to pay extra administration charges.
- Next, check qualification requirements. To meet the requirements for the ECS Gold card, you need to provide proof of the following qualifications and training:
- Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard or JIB recognised NVQ including NET AM2 assessment
- 18th Edition Wiring Regulations (BS7671:2018)
For engineers that qualified before 1999, these requirements may be different. Check ECS website for details.
If you don’t qualify for an ECS Gold Card, you might qualify for an electrical trainee, experienced worker or electrical labourer card.
- Complete ECS Health, Safety & Environmental Assessment or provide proof of exempting qualification. The ECS assessment is an online, multiple-choice exam. Candidates must answer a minimum number of questions correctly to pass. On successful completion, a certificate is issued which is required for your ECS card application.
I have lost my card – what do I do?
Login to your MyECS account and begin the application process, selecting the ‘replacement’ option. A ‘Premium’ service is available to engineers who want their card same day and can attend the Card administration office in Swanley.
How much does a replacement cost?
It costs £42 (£35 plus VAT) to replace a lost, damaged or stolen card using the online application form.
Costs vary for engineers who are part of the Unite Union, employed by a JIB member company, making a paper application or using the Premium service.
Are you looking for electrical training?