Rogue Trainers
Rogue Trainers

When researching electrical training courses, if you read between the lines you may discover their claims aren’t completely as them seem. Take a look at our Red Flags to watch out for:


Going through a Third Party

Watch out for anything that sounds like this:

“We will put you in touch with a specialist company that provides trades training courses for individuals.”

Be aware that some providers are not regulated or approved to offer qualifications, but will sub-contract others to offer these on your behalf.

You may also see statements such as this, which show that a third party is involved in your training:

Statements about third parties may also be hidden within the terms and conditions small print, for instance:

We’d recommend you contract directly with the training provider who is actually delivering the training and qualification.

Make sure they are regulated by an Awarding Organisation that offers industry-approved qualifications, such as City & Guilds, EAL or LCL Awards. Going through a third party may cost you more and if things go wrong, it will be more difficult to take action because your contract is not actually with the provider.

Using terms like “Professional Electrician” or
“Full Scope Electrician”

Example 1:

//Professional Electrician Course

The qualification you will be working towards:

  • City & Guilds 2365 Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings, Structures)
  • City & Guilds 2392 – Certificate in Fundamental Inspection, Testing and Initial Verification
  • 2391-52 Level 3 Award in Inspection and Testing

This example is a mix of a knowledge qualification (C&G 2365) and other courses that are best taken as further development after you have qualified.

It does not make you a Professional Electrician – unfortunately, because the title Electrician is not currently controlled, training providers can make these claims. See our What Training Should I Choose? page for a link to the courses that the industry truly recognises as leading to qualified, professional status.

Example 2:

//Full Scope Electrician
The qualification you will be working towards:

  • Part P Defined Scope
  • City & Guilds 2382 – 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations Part P Full Scope
  • 2391-52 Level 3 Award in inspection and testing
  • City & Guilds 2365 Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Building, Structures)
  • City & Guilds 2392 – Certificate in Fundamental Inspection, Testing and Initial Verification
  • AM2 (Achievement Measurement 2) Assessment

This example is a mix of knowledge qualifications, CPD courses and also states that it includes the industry assessment of competence. To take the AM2 and to become a full scope qualified electrician – you would need to the Level 3 NVQ in Electrical Installation which is NOT included in this package. So you would be paying for an incomplete package and would not be eligible to take the AM2.

Check carefully when the word “College” is used

Further Education Colleges and other approved Independent Training Providers operate across the country and hold direct contracts with Government and awarding organisations.

However, some training providers use the word ‘college‘ in their title to try to give a similar impression. They may simply be agencies who will contract other providers to deliver training and qualifications to you.

Be very careful when using these services – we strongly recommend always contracting directly with the actual training provider and ensuring they are accredited by an awarding organisation. You can check whether a provider is approved through these links:

The National Careers Service also has a search facility which lists approved training providers.

Limited Information to encourage you to submit a form to find out more

Be wary when the website provides only limited information and encourages you to give your contact details in order to receive further details and ‘personalised advice’. Although this might feel like an easy option, this can lead to high pressure sales calls from so-called ‘careers advisors’.

Here are some of the stories we’ve found from unhappy individuals:

“They don’t list where the training centres are… that’s really weird because other professional training centres do.”

“…didn’t send any documents out or email anything that was discussed over the video call and would only concentrate on getting me to sign the agreement.”

(you should be given documents to show how it all works, what to expect and the training school locations)

“the website is shockingly low on basic information. If you want to know anything it’s “talk to the sales team”… err you could post basic FAQ on the actual website like every other normal business does.”

“Had a webcam interview with someone that represents this college and I must say it was all very unorthodox. We spent 50 mins just talking about me and my personal situation and absolutely no information regarding the college or their courses was divulged.”

“We now have another ‘interview’ scheduled for next week in which he wants my partner to also be in on the call. I find this all very strange. They’re supposedly offering training courses, so why do they need to speak to my partner?”

“I decided to back away from them in the end.”

“Lots about me and little detail about course, and indeed a call arranged for later this week. Found myself rather dubious about it all hence the research on the net. When I asked about being emailed a prospectus and details of fees I was fobbed off with some twaddle about privacy law requiring face to face contact only (online given the covid situation). None of this rings the right bells.”

“My partner and I have had one of these video calls for around 2 hrs! Was very wary and stupidly gave my driver licence number and bank account details as they needed to check we could get the 3-year interest free payment option. Didn’t give any money over or sign for anything so I’m hoping they can’t do anything with the details we have given. We thought he was a bit pushy and as you have said didn’t really take much about the actual training sites just showed a bunch of videos which they could have acquired from anywhere.”

“There is no way to contact them other than via a web contact form. They are not registered as a limited company. There are no online reviews. The only reference to an address of an individual is in the privacy policy, along with a company name and number. If you look this up at Companies House, it refers to 2 companies this individual is a sole director of. There are no assets listed to this company.”

False accreditation claims

Check the provider’s accreditations

Some websites may look impressive with lots of official logos, but the training provider may not be authorised to use them.

Look carefully at any accreditations. The three awarding organisations that develop electrical qualifications are City & Guilds, EAL and LCL Awards, who regulate and audit their approved centres.

If you’re unsure whether the accreditation or a claim is genuine, check it via the website of the Awarding Organisation.

Some providers may also work with recognised industry bodies, such as JIB Preferred Providers and ECA Educational Associates.

If you’re doubting the authenticity of a training provider who seems to accredited, please contact us and we’ll check it out on your behalf.

An affordability process that doesn’t add up

If you are asked to carry out an affordability assessment, watch out for the following warning signs:

  • Being asked to submit your parent’s or partner’s details for the credit check if it’s unlikely you can pass the credit check yourself
  • Being asked to falsify figures on the affordability statement, or the sales person telling you what to write in order to pass.
  • If the affordability paperwork shows you do not have sufficient funds for the finance agreement. We have seen instances where people have signed up for a finance agreement even though the affordability shows they were living with parents, unemployed and had insufficient money available for training.

Contract terms and conditions which may impact your ability to complete the course

Read the contract wording carefully and consider the implications of what is being laid out.

Don’t be pressured, take advice from reputable industry bodies if you are unsure. Watch out for wording in the small print of the agreement that can cause unexpected issues.

Take a look at some of these examples and our advice:

A time limit on completion and costs for extension:

To become a industry-recognise qualified electrician with zero prior experience you would need around four years of training (check out the TESP routes for more details). , There is a risk that you would not be able to complete the qualifications on offer within the 36 months period, bearing in mind the NVQ requires work-based experience and evidence. Contractually you may not have the ability to extend without incurring further costs.

Additional costs for practical days:

There are no shortcuts to gaining industry-recognised qualification as an electrician and it cannot be done with self-study workbooks or classroom training alone. A significant amount of practical training is required. Be aware that the number of practical sessions on offer may not be sufficient and you may be subject to additional costs. There may be issues with availability and location of practical days, which could increase the time needed to complete.

Consider the feasibility of work experience requirements:

If you wish to complete the NVQ you will need a considerable amount of on-site work experience to demonstrate the evidence required and be assessed on site. Consider carefully if you are likely to secure this on your own and look at specific conditions around whether your training provider is likely to help you with this.

This may also impact on the duration of your course if you cannot find work experience within the time allowed.

Separate to the NVQ, any courses for ‘domestic installer’ qualifications are classroom-based and the training is short in duration. There is limited opportunity to practise skills in the workplace under supervision, demonstrate your performance in the workplace or develop the technical knowledge and understanding that’s expected of an electrician. Domestic installers require two years’ evidence of responsibility for the technical standard of electrotechnical work to meet the application criteria for a certification or registration body offering an electrical Competent Person Scheme.

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