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Last edited 13 Oct 2020
What is the best way into the industry?
Skills, qualifications and competence are firmly at the top of the agenda following the Hackitt Review recommendations, ongoing reforms to building regulations and the sharp focus on the skills needed by the construction and built environment sector as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.
 Training routes
To help this effort and assist those who may be looking to enter the electrotechnical industry, a series of recommended training routes have been developed by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) to provide clear direction on the right paths to becoming a qualified electrician.
With over 190,000 UK redundancies made by businesses affected by COVID-19 (as of 03 Sept 2020), TESP hopes these routes will help individuals make informed decisions about how to spend their time and money to re-train, as there are many electrical qualifications on offer, but not all provide the skills needed by employers.
Hosted on the Electrical Careers website, the routes are also designed to educate school leavers and those looking to upskill within the industry.
I, and many other members, have countless experiences with people who have invested in training only to struggle finding worthwhile employment as an electrician because their qualifications aren’t recognised. We need to send a clear message to individuals and careers advisers on the right ways to join the industry, progress and embed the skills and judgement that comes with work-based learning and experience.
We welcome the steps taken by some providers to improve the clarity of their communication and encourage others to review their offering and make use of the TESP material to support employers to recruit more effectively at the level they need.
Traditionally seen as only suitable for young people, funding for apprentices of any age can now be accessed by employers in England. Between August 2020 and January 2021, businesses can also receive an incentive payment of up to £3000 per apprentice, in a move intended to drive apprenticeship recruitment.
 Apprenticeship alternatives
Recognising that not everyone will be able to secure an apprenticeship place, alternative routes are given for those eligible for further education funding and also those looking to fund their own skills development, such as career changers or re-trainers.
Importantly, the routes clearly stress that becoming a fully qualified electrician can only be achieved with valid on-site work experience, as opposed to courses that offer no ‘real world’ practical skills.
Recommended training routes are available for England at present, with other nations of the UK to follow.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Analysis: Is Hackitt a turning point for the profession?
- Articles by the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA).
- Careers in the electrotechnical industry.
- Independent review of the building regulations and fire safety.
- Opening the door to apprenticeships for all.
- Qualifying as a professional electrician.
- Setting the Bar Final Report.
- Skills for Climate consultation launched.
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