NAPIT Collaboration With SparkSafe

NAPIT Collaboration With SparkSafe

Chief Executive of NAPIT Group, Mike Andrews, announces collaboration between NAPIT and SparkSafe LtP (Licence to Practice) at Elex Harrogate.

NAPIT Collaboration With SparkSafe. NAPIT Group Chief Executive, Mike Andrews, announces a collaboration between NAPIT and SparkSafe LtP (Licence to Practise) and discusses the importance of individual competence in the electrical contracting industry. Mike claims the partnership will provide increased levels of assurance to clients relating to the qualifications and competence of individuals.

As one of the leading Government approved and United Kingdom Accreditation Services (UKAS) accredited certification bodies, NAPIT has over 10,000 registered businesses operating within the domestic, commercial and industrial sectors. The key objective of ensuring the safety and competence of individuals working within the UK’s electrical contracting industry is something of upmost importance and has always been high on the agenda for NAPIT, according to Mike Andrews.

NAPIT Collaboration With SparkSafe

The importance of individual competence

There are tens of thousands of unqualified, under-qualified and self-designated workers within the UK’s electrical industry

Alarmingly, there are tens of thousands of unqualified, under-qualified and self-designated workers within the UK’s electrical industry supply chain. Around 200,000 UK electrical workers operate outside of any common recognised system. There is currently no legal requirement for electrical workers to be registered in a manner where their qualifications and technical competence is verified, although this is something NAPIT are constantly campaigning to change. Clients who hire the expertise of individuals who are working in the electrical industry have a right to know that those individuals who are designing, installing and maintaining electrical systems on their sites are properly qualified and competent. Failure to ensure that individual workers are qualified and competent to carry out electrical projects can pose a very dangerous risk.

Since the establishing 27 years ago, NAPIT has continued to push for the recognition of individual competence at every opportunity; with an approach which registers the Company as being deemed to meet the requirements within the Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS), and then to technically assess individuals onsite to ensure that they are technically competent by having the necessary training, qualifications, experience and knowledge of the electrical system to be worked on.

What is SparkSafe?

SparkSafe is an independent system which is designed to connect the competency of electrical workers to client contracts. SparkSafe emerged from the Electrical Training Trust (ETT), a charity based in Northern Ireland. SparkSafe launched their Licence to Practise (LtP) initiative in 2013. This was formally adopted as a policy document 01/16 – Licence to Practise Initiative for Electrical Workers by the Government in Northern Ireland in 2016, when the main Public Sector procurement organisations included the LtP requirement in tender and contract award requirements.

NAPIT Collaboration With SparkSafe

SparkSafe’s unique online system creates a connection between each electrical worker via their employer to Client projects. The online system requires electrical workers to register for one of three Licence types. These are QE (Qualified Electrician), REW (Restricted Electrical Worker) and AE (Apprentice Electrician). The result is an online Workforce Composition Report (WCR) which provides Clients with an insight into the occupational identity and licence type of each worker on a project by project basis. Clients get to see who is on their project and how well those workers are qualified to carry out the work based on independent, third party assessment. SparkSafe also provide Clients with an online and onsite compliance auditing service aimed at preventing the supply chain from resourcing projects with unlicenced electrical workers.

SparkSafe LtP and NAPIT share the same values and beliefs: high standards, individual competence, transparency and integrity. Increased acceptance of the LtP model will drastically improve the compliance and safety of electrical installations across the UK. Essex and east London train operator Trenitalia c2c is the first company in England to adopt the Spark safe Electrical Licence to Practice management system. Read more about it here.

What are NAPIT doing with SparkSafe?

NAPIT Collaboration With SparkSafe. NAPIT have committed to endorsing the SparkSafe LtP model. They will be working closely with SparkSafe in the coming months to develop a fourth Licence type, which will bring together the qualifications, requirements and the UKAS accredited certification body technical onsite assessment model operated by NAPIT. NAPIT members who meet the qualification requirements of SparkSafe’s Qualified Electrician and have been technically assessed onsite will be awarded the higher standard fourth Licence type. Mike Andrews says “I feel positive that this exciting development will be a step-forward for the electrical industry. We are making further progress towards raising standards, improving safety, and increasing the levels of recognition and credibility of electrical contractors throughout the UK.”

Watch the announcement of the NAPIT Collaboration With SparkSafe at Elex Harrogate

#E5 Group founding members Ryan Dempsey and David Watts (SparkyNinja) record the announcement of the collaboration between NAPIT and SparkSafe at Elex Harrogate 2019.

#NAPIT #SparkSafe #Elex

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Bali, Indonesia

FREE 20 Minute Coaching Session

FREE 20 Minute Coaching Session

FREE 20 Minute Coaching Session With Dan

I am offering a FREE 20 minute coaching session. We can discuss your business goals, positives and negatives surrounding your business and discuss a brief action plan.

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FREE 20 Minute Coaching Session
FREE 20 Minute Coaching Session

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You get a coaching session for 20 minutes. It would be no different to how I provide my services to my regular customers.

We will discuss your business and what you are attempting to achieve. My views and perspective are completely impartial.

I am able to assist business owners and tradesmen by coaching and mentoring. I offer my vast experience and knowledge within the trade to help with business development, sales, marketing and social media strategies, management procedures and growth.

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Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in, Nusa Penida, Bali.

What Is Part P Building Regulation?

What is part p building regulation

What is Part P Building Regulation? What does Part P mean? Who does Part P apply to?

Part P isn’t a qualification. Part P isn’t a type of an electrician. Part P isn’t a scheme. So, what is Part P Building Regulation?

Part P is a building regulation in England and Wales covering electrical safety in dwellings. The requirements are produced in Approved Document P – electrical safety, dwellings. Part P is statutory meaning it must be adhered to. Part P is a legal requirement.

What is Part P of the building regulations?

Part P was introduced in 2005 to reduce danger from electricity in residential premises. ALL electrical work in people’s homes in England and Wales whether carried out by a registered electrician or as DIY, must meet the requirements of Part P of the building regulations.

ALL electrical work in residential homes must meet Part P of the building regulations

The current edition explains when notification of work is required. Information on the design, installation, inspection, testing and provision of information is explained.

What is part p building regulation
Photo credit: Karen from She’s Electric

What electrical work is notifiable?

Some types of electrical work need to be notified to the local building control. This needs to be done prior to commencement of the work or can be notified afterwards if the installer is registered with an electrical competent person scheme. Competent person schemes include Elecsa, Napit, NICEIC and Stroma. A register of companies or electricians who are accredited by one of the schemes can be found here.

If the electrical work is carried out by a registered electrician, the electrical company will be able to register the work on behalf of the client online and produce a certificate of notification. This isn’t the electrical installation or minor electrical installation works certificate which is a document to show compliance with the British wiring regulations BS7671. They are two separate certificates.

Examples of notifiable electrical work

The following are examples of electrical installation work in a home that requires notification to building control:

  • A new installation or rewire.
  • The replacement of a consumer unit (fuse board).
  • New circuits.
  • Alterations to existing circuits in a special location such as rooms containing a bath or a shower, swimming pools or saunas.
  • Alterations to existing circuits in a kitchen (Wales only).
  • Alterations in gardens.

What areas of a dwelling does Part P cover?

The scope of Part P covers any house or flat that is intended for the use for living in. It covers the gardens of a home and any outbuildings. It includes communal areas in blocks of flats including laundry rooms and gyms. It doesn’t include any commercial areas such retail units in blocks of flats unless the commercial areas are connected to the same electrical meter. It doesn’t include lift supplies in blocks of flats but does include lifts in houses.

Who is responsible for making sure that electrical work in your home meets the requirements of Part P?

By law, the homeowner or landlord must be able to prove that all electrical installation work meets Part P, or they will be committing a criminal offence.

Local authorities have the power to make homeowners or landlords remove or alter any electrical work that does not meet the requirements of the Building Regulations.

You can find out more about building regulations and planning permissions here.

Part P
Part P

What do I need to do before electrical installation work can be carried out in my home?

You must first check whether the work is notifiable. If it is then you must either;

Employ an electrician who is registered with one of the Government-approved competent person schemes; or

Tell (‘notify’) your local-authority building-control about the installation work before work begins.

Why not read our article – do electricians need to be registered?

Does Part P apply to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland?

Part P applies to England and Wales, but they have different building regulations. Part P doesn’t apply to Scotland as they have the Building Standards system. At the present time Northern Ireland has no equivalent statutory requirement. You can download Part P for either country free of charge by clicking on the links below.

Download a free copy of Part P England.

Download a free copy of Part P Wales.

What is Part P qualified?

Part P isn’t a qualification. You may hear some electricians saying they have their Part P or they are Part P registered. This is just a trade expression. Usually it means they have undertaken an electrical short course on domestic electrics and are registered with a competent person scheme.

Individuals can complete an electrical short course and be registered with a competent person scheme so they can notify building control on the client’s behalf. It doesn’t mean they are competent to carry out electrical work. Some training providers sell electrical short courses titled “Part P course”.

A few Part P facts

  • Part P is a building regulation
  • It is the law
  • It applies in England and Wales
  • The building regulations slightly differ between England and Wales
  • It is the building owner’s responsibility to ensure notifiable electrical works are notified
  • ALL electrical works in residential premises are subject to Part P
  • It isn’t a qualification

Make sure that if you have electrical work carried out in residential premises, that you download for free the Part P building regulations for England or Wales to ensure you meet the requirements.

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Rishikesh, India

How do I become an electrician?

How do I become an electrician

How do I become an electrician? Time served electrician Ricky Howell tells us how to become an electrician, what to look for and what to avoid.

Our guest author Ricky, time served electrician, husband and father of four, writes for us about How Do I Become An Electrician?

You have decided to turn your hand to a trade and decided electricity is for you, or perhaps you are still deciding which way to go and are looking for advice? The following blog – how do I become an electrician will explain exactly what is required to get that infamous JIB/ECS gold card, things to avoid at all costs and what to expect along the way.

We will be focussing on what I believe are the only 3 true ways to get qualified proper which are:

  • Serving an electrical apprenticeship
  • Attending electrical “evening classes”
  • completing the mature electrical trainee candidate scheme


how do I become an electrician
Photo: Karen from She’s Electric


Serving an electrical apprenticeship is by far the best way to get qualified as an electrician and indeed all trades. You will usually study at college for one day a week over three years whilst working on the tools the other four days and gaining experience on the job, with the final year being used to complete your NVQ and preparing for your AM2.

In the end not only will you have the theory covered but also 4 years’ experience carrying out your job! You will have learnt from other electricians who have been through the same as you and will teach you the tricks of the trade.

The downside is the wage which is aimed solely at school/college leavers and makes it incredibly difficult for anyone not living at home to survive on. For this reason, it’s also difficult for anyone over 18 to even be accepted for an apprenticeship program but not impossible.

Another big pro is the fact that you will not pay a penny for your training with all costs being met by your employer. The reason for this is the grants that the government give to companies to encourage apprenticeships.

If you get offered an apprenticeship grab it with both hands! The pros far outweigh the cons and I can honestly say I have never met a bad time-served spark.


Much like an electrical apprenticeship, evening classes well normally take place 1 or 2 evenings a week over a 3-year period although can be completed quicker depending on how quickly you can complete the tasks required of you.

Unlike an apprenticeship the class well tend to be filled with older students who cannot secure an apprenticeship and are keen on getting their head down and get through the course as quickly as possible. It is important to remember that although you can progress quicker depending on your work ethic and experience there is no short route and the modules will have to be completed to the standard required.

Anyone looking to re-train should look for these courses at their local colleges. Typically, you will earn a better wage doing it this way but may well have to pay for the course yourself.


Once known as “grandfather rights” this method seemed to disappear then re-appear under a different title. This is aimed at people who have been working in the trade but for whatever reason have not got qualified. This is not always down to the individual but can be companies not willing to invest in getting their employees qualified and is a common problem in our trade.

If you feel confident that you can go into an AM2 test and pass, then this is for you. You will be required to complete an NVQ and AM2 in that order but will not have to go to college as your experience is deemed to be sufficient.

This course seems to keep changing and you could well find that although its accepted now, in the future the goalposts change, and you need to attend college. This is pretty much what happened to most electricians who done their qualifications before the NVQ was a thing, only to be told they now need to complete an NVQ to be deemed “qualified”. A total slap in the face to some who had been working in the trade for 20+ years and still a hot topic today.

SUMMARY – How do I become an electrician?

At the moment 99% of sites in the country only recognise the ECS card for electricians and to gain a gold one you must:

  • Provide college certificates or provide the required documents for a mature candidate
  • Provide AM2 certificate
  • Provide the latest edition course certificate (currently 18th edition)
  • Provide NVQ certificate

Failing to provide the above you will be given a white card with a title depending on your experience such as trainee or apprentice.

If you are lucky enough to work on a site that accepts SparkSafe then the requirements are slightly different and more extensive, thus helping to keep rogue electricians out of the system.

Head to SparkyNinja for great training videos

For those training a whole host of videos to help you along the way can be found on YouTube. One of the best is SparkyNinja.

Finally, for anyone looking to start training GOOD LUCK!!!

Written by Ricky in Essex, United Kingdom.

Do electricians need to be registered? Check out our blog post.

How many fraudulent electricians have ECS cards? Find out here.

Electrical Industry Skills Shortage

Electrical industry skills shortage

The electrical industry is expecting a skills shortage following market research report.

The UK electrical Industry is expecting a skills shortage following new report. It is estimated that between 12,500 and 15,000 additional skilled electricians are needed over the next 5 years to accommodate sector expansion following a new labour market report on the electrotechnical industry.

Even if an extra 5000 new apprentices qualified by 2023, there will still be a shortfall of 7,500 to 10,000 electricians who will need to be sourced from elsewhere.

The reason for the electrotechnical sector expansion is due to grow in future technologies such as; SMART technology, e-mobility and Wi-FI technology. Other areas that are likely to influence the sector include changes to regulations and public policy in areas such as energy efficiency and fire safety.

Whilst the largest proportion of the UK workforce is between 25 and 49 years old, England and Wales have only around 15% of their workforce under the age of 25, compared to 24% for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Electrical Industry Skills Shortage
Image courtesy of electrical contractor B.N.E.C. Ltd

New labour market report on the electrical industry.

The market research report produced by specialist Pye Tait was commissioned by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) and co-funded with industry charity National Electrotechnical Training (NET). The report is the first to provide an in-depth analysis of electrotechnical skills needs in over 10 years. Almost 450 electrotechnical companies, with around 19,000 employees were surveyed. Want to have a read of the report? Click here.

What does the JIB say?

Joint Industry Board (JIB) Chief Executive, Steve Brawley says “This valuable report by Pye Tait gives the JIB and TESP an excellent platform to develop initiatives and projects which will take the industry forward. However, the industry will not be able to recruit the 12,500 to 15,000 additional electricians it needs over the next five years without much higher levels of direct employment. Clients and main contractors need to do more to encourage direct employment and the Government must also play its part by adopting policies which drive down levels of false self-employment. Apprenticeships and programmes to upgrade the skills of individuals already working in our industry are the key to success but they cannot be effective unless direct employment is the norm.” 

What does this mean for the electrical industry?

It is apparent that if the industry cannot support the additional growth within the next 5 years, there will be a skills shortage. When a skills shortage occurs, one of two things could happen;

  1. The wages for competent people increase because they become sought after due to demand and lack of supply of quality tradesmen.
  2. The wages for competent people decrease because it opens the doors for non-competent people to work in the industry due to demand and lack of supply of quality tradesmen.

Over the last 15 years, the level of quality of training for electricians in the UK has decreased. Gaining entry into the industry has become easier due to short courses that are easily available and affordable. There are many experienced trainers who will admit this is the case.

The problem caused by poor training are; the quality of work that is carried out declines, reduced level of electrical safety, reduction in wages for the competent electricians and false economy.

Let us look into this further.

Quality of work

If the training isn’t as vigorous and becomes easy, it means more people will pass and ‘qualify’. This doesn’t mean someone is competent. It allows an accepted standard of work to be reduced. When guys and girls qualify and work in people’s homes and commercial buildings, the workmanship is reduced. It takes experience and time to increase your skills.

Sitting a short course gives you an understanding, but not the experience. When you terminate a copper conductor, there is a manner in how it should be done which reduces the chance of a loose termination which could lead to a fire. Someone who has been taught how to do it correctly and has practised a few hundred times is far less likely to cause a fire than someone who has done it once or twice and not shown how to do it correctly. Carrying out work as a tradesman takes time to master. It cannot be taught quickly for the average person and where safety is concerned, I believe it is completely unethical.

Electrical Safety

The reason for having wiring regulations and UK legislation is to prevent injury, damage or death via electric shock or activity caused by electricity.

Lack of knowledge and understanding of electrical systems is more likely to decrease electrical safety.

Having electrical safety systems and procedures in place can be costly but being liable for the death of a human is far costlier in my opinion. The biggest flaw in UK legislation in regard to electrical and fire safety is that the client is ultimately responsible to ensure they meet said legislation as well as being responsible for the budget of the works being carried out. There isn’t a requirement in many instances for a client to have any works third party audited where the auditor is ultimately responsible.

Due to commercial pressure and the desire for higher profits, clients can quite easily achieve a better margin by cutting out level of electrical and fire safety and therefore a culture is created where the client’s attitude completely sets the level of safety, not the law.


There are a few ways to become an electrician. Typically, you have an apprenticeship where a student learns as she earns or someone who sits a short course. Without going into too much detail, the apprentice will endure a number of years partly in college and partly on site who will complete a portfolio of evidence to prove they have met the criteria and completed a final practical examination in order to obtain the title as an ‘electrician’.

The guy who sits the short course has little practical experience, learns all they need to know in a very short space of time and once qualified can go out into the real world connecting up systems that can kill people or cause fires – scary hey? Carrying out a trade requires on site experience which is key for competence because there is only so much you can learn practically in a class room.

The guys who have sat the short courses are likely to accept less money because they have not invested as much time, energy, emotion and effort into their role as the time served electrician who worked for little money for years and put hours and hours into the class room during their apprenticeship.

The outcome of quality and knowledge is most certainly relative to training. Therefore, the market value of the electrician wage is reduced for every short course electrician that works in the industry and accepts lower rate of pay.

False Economy

Having poor quality electrical work carried out is false economy because it is very costly to repair or completely rewired. It doesn’t last and increases the chance for fires and faults to occur. Time is then required to investigate the installation and then repair it. Of course, this is only true if a problem does occur.

Lower quality workmanship increases the chances of the works being non-compliant if the installers do not have sufficient experience and knowledge of the systems they are working on.

Who benefits from the electrical industry skills shortage?

It can’t be all doom and gloom right? Surely sector expansion is a great prospect for the economy? Does anyone benefit from the UK Electrical Industry Skills Shortage?

Competent Person Schemes (CPS)

In the UK it has become easier to become accredited by a competent person scheme such as NICEIC, Elecsa, Napit or Stroma due to the introduction of the short courses. If the CPS’s have more companies signing up with them, their revenues increase. If the accepted level of contractor decreases such as accepting those who sit short courses, the CPS’s open their doors to additional revenue. Sounds like a no brainer for a business.

Training Providers

Training providers can benefit from the UK Electrical Industry Skills Shortage as many individuals will look to change career or start out in the electrical industry in seek of well-paid work. Some will not be conscious about being ‘competent’ and it allows training providers to sell their courses. When a training provider has a high pass rate, it is a selling point to a potential candidate because who wants to fail??? What this actually does is contribute to reducing the market value of the electrician as discussed earlier.


Clients can also use buying power to drive costs down during the UK Electrical Industry Skills Shortage. If the market value of the electrician is decreased due to an increase of workers who haven’t served apprenticeships and gain quick entry into the industry, it allows the client to pressurise their supply chain to keep charge rates down. The client benefits by not paying a higher rate of pay if only competent electricians were allowed to work on such systems.

Electrical industry to boost the economy

It certainly seems like fantastic news for the economy that an additional 12,500 to 15,000 electricians’ jobs will be created within the next 5 years. However, the UK Electrical Industry Skills Shortage and the shortfall of people expected to be produced by apprenticeships could be a concern. The alternatives are; foreign labour which is perfectly fine if the foreign labour is able to understand and work to British Standards or an increase in semi-skilled labour produced by short courses.

Let’s hope that the guys and girls in the field who have invested a life time of work will benefit from increased amount of work from new technologies.

How do you feel about the prospect of up to 15,000 jobs being created to fill an electrical industry market expansion? Let us know in the comments.

The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) is a not-for-profit industry partnership formed by the ECAJoint Industry Board (JIB)National Electrotechnical Training (NET)SELECT and Unite the Union to support electrotechnical employers to develop and drive the industry’s skills agenda.D

How many fraudulent electricians have ECS cards?

New electrician qualification checking system has been launched by City & Guilds and ECS to reduce fraudulent electricians.

City and Guilds report that a specially-designed computer programme that allows electricians qualifications to be automatically verified during an ECS card application has been developed by City & Guilds and the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme. Read the City and Guilds article here.

The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) certifies the skills of electrical workers in the UK. The scheme isn’t compulsory for electricians to join, but when they do, holding an ECS card shows the cardholders qualifications, electrical occupation, identity and whether they have sat the ECS health and safety awareness.

When somebody applies to obtain an ECS card, the qualification details are now automatically searched directly within the City and Guilds database to verify the certificate number, name and date.

The new system combats fraudulent electricians applications and increases efficiency as previously the details were checked manually between the two organisations. City & Guilds claim those who make fraudulent applications will be referred to the Fraud Investigations Team who work in conjunction with other schemes and the police if necessary.

ECS Contact Centre Operations Manager says “We are continuously looking to improve our service and the robustness of the scheme overall. Our work with City & Guilds and other partners not only makes the application process more streamlined for customers, but also importantly catches and deters those who attempt to gain an ECS card under false pretences. These people are potentially endangering the safety of themselves and others if they are carrying out work for which they are not qualified.”

How many fraudulent electricians are operating in the UK?

This begs the question – How many fraudulent electrician applications have glided past the ‘old system’? It has taken until the year 2019 for the ECS and City and Guilds to utilise a very simple technology system. Is this a complete mockery to the safety of the general public and those electricians who pay for their ECS cards and City and Guilds qualifications?

How easy is it to get fake ECS and Gold Cards?

How does someone make a fraudulent electrician application?

It is very easy. You purchase online fake City and Guilds qualification certificates. You can simply google it and find someone who offers the service. People do this to be able to earn an electrician’s wage on sites that require ECS cards as proof of being an ‘electrician’ without actually obtaining the qualifications.

The problem with this is that it allows non-qualified persons to carry out electrical work in the role of an electrician. It isn’t too difficult to work out why this is bad and a safety issue – electricians who aren’t electricians connecting up and energising electrical circuits which have the ability to cause electric shock or fires if installed and tested incorrectly. The other major issue is that it devalues the title of the electrician. If the average skill and ability of an ‘electrician’ is less, the wages will be less than if fraudulent persons were not operating because training as an electrician requires personal investment of time and money. If individuals are cutting out some of this investment, they will be willing to accept less of a pay because they haven’t the same expense of those who have qualified legitimately.

Innovative Technology?

It is fantastic this technology is now being used and hopefully will protect the title of the electrician further. However, obtaining an ECS card does not prove competence, it proves qualifications. There is a distinct difference. What is a registered electrician? Read our article here. It is like passing your driving test, you drive to a certain standard to pass the test, then once you have your licence you are completely free to drive as you please. How bad were the drivers on your commute today?

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Rishikesh, India

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