The ECS Gold Card For Installation & Maintenance Electricians
As a practicing electrician, you will be all too aware that a JIB ECS (Gold) Card is now a necessity when seeking work on commercial sites, or sub-contracting to larger contractors.
Your desire to become a cardholder will almost certainly be your reason for wanting to gain your NVQ 3 Electrical qualification.
But what exactly is the ECS Card and why is its ownership so valuable?
NB: There are many different types of ECS Cards for sectors throughout the Electrotechnical Industry. Here we are focusing mainly on the certification for those working in the occupations of Electrical Installation and Maintenance.
What Is The JIB ECS Gold Card?
The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) is THE occupational certification scheme for electrotechnical workers in the UK. It certifies that the cardholder has proved their specific experience and competence through a set, ‘rigorous and robust’ assessment process.
The Joint Industry Board (JIB) are the owners and issuing authority for the ECS in England, Wales & Northern Ireland, whilst north of the border is served by the ‘Scottish JIB’.
Add to this the background of the card being Gold and it will probably help explain why you may have seen and heard it referred to in a number of different ways.
‘JIB ECS Gold Card‘, ‘ECS Card‘, ‘JIB Card‘ and even just ‘The Gold Card‘, but they are all in fact the same card and certification.
What Are The Benefits Of The ECS Card?
As already mentioned, it is now a standard requirement for anyone seeking work as a sub contractor on larger sites.
It is recognised and accepted as ‘proof’ of being a fully qualified electrician. Someone able to work alone and unsupervised on the installation, commissioning and maintenance of electrotechnical systems.
It is not only a certification card but also an ID Card too as it includes your personal photo and ECS registration number. This provides extra reassurance about the cardholder and their skills – and not only to larger employers, but also domestic customers too.
The card will only continue to gain more credibility and importance over the next few years as it becomes mandatory for ALL ECS cardholders to sign up to become a Registered Electrician. (See below for more details).
It will open up many doors that may remain closed to those that don’t hold the ECS Gold Card.
What Is JIB Grading?
JIB Grading is an additional option that can be added on to your ECS Gold Card, along with your occupation, when you have attained your NVQ Level 3 Electrical.
Your Occupation, also sometimes referred to as your ‘specialist pathway’, maybe Installation Electrician, or Maintenance Electrician, or several other options if you attain your NVQ Level 3 qualification through the Mature Candidate Assessment route.
Your JIB Grade is determined by your job role, duties and responsibilities within your occupation.
The three grading levels are: Core, Approved and Technician Grade – and you can find out more about their specific requirements here on the ECS website.
The biggest beneficiaries of those applying for JIB Grading would be those working for companies who are JIB members.
Your JIB Grade affects your entitlement to the terms and conditions of employment linked to that grade. The agreement includes pay rates, travel / subsistence payments, health care, and other employment benefits.
If you don’t currently work for a JIB member company then you may still wish to apply for a JIB grade to show your industry status. Being able to show you have met the additional responsibility and technical requirements for a JIB grade might be needed for some types of work, such as being approved for inspection and testing.
How Can I Get An ECS Gold Card?
From 01 January 2019 anyone applying for an Installation or Maintenance Electrician ECS Card for the first time will also be required to sign up to Registered Electrician status.
From 01 July 2019 any existing Installation or Maintenance Electrician ECS Cardholders who have let their card lapse for more than a year will be required to renew as a Registered Electrician.
01 July 2019 is also the deadline for Registered Electricians who have qualified to the 17th Edition of BS 7671 to achieve a qualification in the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018).
If you trained in the UK before 1999 then there are other ways in which you may be able to apply for your JIB ECS Gold Card. You can find out more under the Eligibility and Requirements section on this page at the ECS Card website.
And if you trained outside the UK it is still possible to acquire the ECS Gold Card. You must of course still demonstrate the same qualification standard as UK trained electricians and you can find out more about this here on the ECS Card website.
As of September 2023 the cost of applying for your ECS Gold Card starts at just £54 for an online application.
An ECS card is valid for 3 years after which it must be renewed and a Health and Safety (re)assessment taken.
Still Have Questions About Your NVQ Level 3 Electrical?
Whether it's about your previous experience and qualifications in the industry, the difference between the NVQ 2346, 2356 or 2357, or you're unsure whether the on-site or online path may be best for you, then please do get in touch. We'd be happy to help if we can.
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