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 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.
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