One of the biggest complaints we hear is that the training will not deliver what the learner thought they were signing up for – in most cases, this is an ECS Gold Card. Many providers offer packages including courses that are not essential for new entrants and do not meet ECS card requirements.
Apprenticeship training in England, Scotland and Wales is now funded for people of any age, so if you find an employer they will receive funding for the apprenticeship programme and you will not be expected to pay anything towards your training.
The government is also currently funding selected Level 3 qualifications for those in England who do not hold a qualification at this level.
The Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment (Buildings, Structures and the Environment) is included in the list of funded qualifications. Also on the list is the Level 3 Advanced Technical Diploma in Electrical Installation, which is a key stepping stone on the industry approved training routes, for those who wish to continue to develop their technical knowledge before gaining work experience. You can find out more via the Gov.uk website.
You should not be asked to repeat training unless there is a valid reason, for example, it was completed a long time ago or a newer version is in place (for example BS7671:2018). If your goal is an ECS card, the ECS website has details on the recognition of legacy qualifications – check this before paying out to repeat training.
FE colleges and private providers offering apprenticeships are regularly inspected by Ofsted. You can find details on the OFSTED website.
You should also seek views from others – people often post about their experiences on Facebook, NextDoor, online electricians’ groups etc.
Look carefully at website rating tools – some offer independent feedback listing all types of reviews, others are operated by the provider themselves. If you are self-funding you are potentially investing thousands of pounds, so do your research carefully as you would if you were making any major purchase.
Most providers want to do the right thing and will happily answer questions. Be wary if you are being pressurised to commit to anything without having time to properly reflect or check out any claims, especially if you are being asked to enter into a financial agreement.
Watch out for sales techniques such as ‘this is a limited time opportunity’ or ‘spaces are going fast so you need to sign up’ – implying something is scarce is a selling technique to get you to sign quickly, perhaps without fully researching the value of what is on offer, including the contractual terms.