If you work in the trades industry, are on your way to doing so, or are even just considering it, you may ask yourself, “what is an ECS Gold Card?”. (Before 2002, the common name for the card was ‘the JIB card’, which is still sometimes used today.)
Several cards, qualifications, and certifications are available to people in the electrical industry, but with so many, things can get a little confusing.
What Is JIB?
JIB stands for Joint Industry Board. JIB is an impartial organisation which sets the standard for employment, grading, welfare and apprentice training within the electrical industry. The JIB helps to maintain stability in the workplace. Doing so helps to assure clients that they are dealing with qualified and competent workers. Their ultimate goal is to improve the industry’s status and productivity.
Some of the UK’s largest electrical contractors and numerous small-to-medium businesses are members of the JIB.
The JIB administers the ECS scheme in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The Scottish JIB administers the scheme throughout Scotland.
What Is ECS?
ECS stands for Electrotechnical Certification Scheme, which is recognised and endorsed by the industry. ECS is the ID and competence card scheme for electrotechnical operatives throughout the United Kingdom.
By holding an ECS card, you demonstrate the following:
- Qualification status
- Electrotechnical occupations
- Experience and employer endorsements
- Health, safety and environmental awareness
- Adherence to industry CPD requirements
- Adherence to Codes of Professional Practice
- Other addition, relevant skills.
There are over 175,000 ECS cardholders across the UK, covering industries such as:
- Building controls
- Digital support, cyber and network engineering
- Fire, emergency and security systems
- Highway electrical
- Network infrastructure, telecoms and data communications
What Is The ECS Gold Card?
ECS has a range of cards available depending on the qualification(s) you have obtained.
The ESC Gold Card, in particular, is an ID that proves the holder is a qualified installation technician. Therefore, it is evidence the holder has completed the necessary training and is a competent electrician.
Holders of the ECS Gold Card are legally certified to work unsupervised on installing, commissioning, and maintaining low-voltage electrical and electronic devices/appliances.
How Do I Get An ECS Gold Card?
To get an Installation Electrician ECS Gold Card, you must first gain your NVQ Level 3. However, if you have worked as an electrician in or before 1999, you may be eligible to obtain an ECS Gold Card without needing NVQ certifications if you provide proof of qualifications and certification.
Currently, to be eligible for an ECS Gold Card and Installation Electrician status, you must meet the following:
- A JIB-recognised UK Level 3 Apprenticeship Standard or JIB-approved UK competency-based qualification (NVQ).
- Hold a current ECS Health, Safety and Environmental Assessment. For details, visit the HS&E Assessment page.
- A recognised BS7671:2018 qualification.
How Long Is An ECS Gold Card Valid?
An ECS Gold card is valid for three years, and you can renew it when there are fewer than three months before expiration.
Other ECS cards have shorter expiry dates. For example, the ECS Trainee Card (earned at the end of stage one of our NVQ course) is valid for 24 months. However, you cannot renew the trainee card as you must meet training requirements before progressing to the next stage.
Experienced Worker and Provisional graded cards are valid for 18 months, while Work Experience cards are valid for 12. As these cards have specific requirements, you cannot renew them.
Visit the JIB handbook for more information.
How Much Does An ECS Gold Card Cost?
The cost of an ECS card will vary depending on the card type and your application method. In addition, if a JIB Member Company employs you, you may be eligible for a discount.
Standard online application fees:
- Initial Card – £45 +VAT / £54
- Renewal/Replacement – £35 +VAT / £42
For more information, view ECS Card Payment Details.
How Do I Apply?
The ECS provide step-by-step instructions to help you apply for your first ECS card.
- Register your account on MyECS. Here you can make your application and track your progress.
- Provide proof of the qualifications you hold via scans or high-quality photographs. Unfortunately, ECS will not issue cards without proof of qualifications.
- Meet the H&S requirements of the card you’re applying for. You can do this by completing the ECS Health, Safety & Environmental Assessment. If you already hold or are taking a separate qualification for your ECS card, you may be exempt from taking the assessment.
NVQ Level 3 Electrical Training
The Options Skills NVQ Level 3 Electrical Training Course provides all the formal training required to become an installation technician. Through centre-led training, on-site experience and AM2 assessments, trainees can apply for their ECS Gold Card.
- Stage One – Complete six weeks of centre-led training. During this stage, you’ll learn essential electrical skills and theory knowledge, including installing lighting and sockets and health and safety.
- Stage Two – You must complete an NVQ portfolio while working on-site as a paid trainee. With your ECS Trainee Card earned in stage one, our recruitment team can assist you in finding work.
- Stage Three – At an independent AM2 centre, you will undertake your AM2 assessment, which is the final stage of training. Upon completion, you can apply for your ECS Gold Card.
Where Can I Train?
We have four fully-equipped training centres across the UK delivering our NVQ Level 3 Electrical training.
For more information about the NVQ Level 3 Electrical Training Course, call one of our Options Skills advisors on 0800 802 1306. Alternatively, fill in our online contact form, and one of our advisors will get back to you asap.