About the ECS

The ECS Card and the Register of Electricians

ECS stands for Electrotechnical Certification Scheme - it's the sole ID and competence card scheme for electrotechnical operatives in the UK and it's recognised and endorsed by the industry.

Holding an ECS card proves your qualification status, main electrical occupation, identity, your health and safety awareness, as well as any additional disciplines in which you are skilled to work.

The ECS is a partner of CSCS and covers not just core electrotechnical occupations, but specialised industries such as building controls, data communications, highway electrical and fire & security.

There are two main routes to meeting the initial entry criteria for an ECS card and JTL offer both:


NVQ Level 3

For all new entrants into the sector, ECS require the Level 3 Electrotechnical Qualification (in either Installation or Maintenance) to be gained as part of an apprenticeship.

This Level 3 qualification certifies that the individual has undergone what is required to be recognised as an electrician. This includes the underpinning knowledge, training on the UK wiring regulations (BS 7671), assessment of practical site-based competence and an independent ‘end-point assessment’ from NET (AM.2S).

However, the Level 3 qualification is open to candidates of any age who are fully and relevantly employed by an appropriate electrical employer, with ‘off the job’ underpinning knowledge & skills delivered at a JTL approved local college/training centre. The overall qualification will be assessed with a combination of centre assessments and assignments; a portfolio of site evidence; professional discussions and the AM.2S.


For new entrants, the qualification is likely to last around 4 years. However, for those already working in the industry and who have recognised prior learning (RPL) this time can reduce. Precise details would need to be discussed with a JTL assessor at the point of application.



Providing it meets relevant funding criteria, JTL will cover the cost of all off-the-job training. Should funding not be available the qualification is available if privately funded with details upon application.


Mature Candidate Assessment

Have you been working in the industry for years but don't have an NVQ Level 3?

If you've got years of experience working in the electrical industry but have never completed an apprenticeship or NVQ Level 3, there's now a way you can get formally assessed and meet the requirements for an ECS gold card.

It’s known as the ETS.3 qualification and the qualification is designed solely for those experienced persons who are/have been working in the electrotechnical industry as practicing electricians for a minimum of 5 years and who can demonstrate their technical knowledge, performance and competence to the industry standards at Level 3 and in line with the current edition of the IET Wiring Regulations BS 7671.

The qualification is based around an expired NVQ Level 3 and therefore those who complete are at Level 3 standard and will receive certification stating same. However, it is not an NVQ Level 3, it is an ECS accepted alternative that provides evidence towards the application for an ECS Gold card. 

The qualification is an assessment only programme – it is not a training scheme. Consequently, candidates are expected to have evidence available of their technical knowledge and practical skills at the point of entry to the programme.

Therefore, it is not suitable for new entrants to the electrotechnical industry, apprentices or other operatives who require any training. Such candidates are required to study and complete the full training and assessment requirements of the  relevant current apprenticeship ie. The Level 3 Electrotechnical Qualification (EAL 601/7345/2 or City & Guilds equivalent). The only exception to this is where the ETS.3 candidate may be required to achieve qualifications in the IET Wiring  Regulations (BS 7671) or Inspection and Testing and this would be advised by the JTL assessor.

The ETS.3 qualification is designed to take into account the existing qualifications and experience of the experienced worker at the point of initial assessment and will therefore establish:

  • Whether the candidate has the required level of technical knowledge to proceed
  • Whether the candidate has sufficient evidence of competent performance to proceed
  • Whether the learner has any specific and permitted training needs (e.g. BS 7671 or Inspection and Testing)
  • If accepted, the level of support and guidance required when working towards the qualification


If accepted on to the programme, assessment will take place through:

  • Meeting the qualification knowledge requirements via the completion of underpinning knowledge questions for each unit
  • Demonstrating acceptable knowledge of the current industry requirements with respect to the current IET Wiring Regulations and inspection and testing
  • Candidates providing sufficient, valid and authentic evidence from site of their previous & current work to demonstrate that they can fully meet the performance requirements within each unit of this qualification
  • Direct observation on site, by a JTL assessor, of the candidate’s practical work
  • Successful completion of the industry AM.2 examination, an independent assessment of occupational competence



As this is an assessment programme, duration is very much down to the individual. However, should a candidate appear with suitable levels of evidence and dependent upon AM.2 availability, it has previously been possible to complete the programme in around 3 months.



This is not a government funded qualification and must therefore be paid for by the individual (or their employer).

 However, JTL offer this programme in partnership with TESP (The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership) and are therefore able to offer the following:

  • A discounted rate of £1500 for this service excluding AM.2 costs
  • It is up to the candidate to book and pay for AM.2 via the National Electrotechnical Training (NET) website
  • Upon successfully achieving AM.2, you will receive a £71 completion bonus
  • The ECS Gold card will be issued free of charge to those completing the ETS.3 and meeting all ECS Card requirements

Important note

The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme has announced some important changes to the scheme that will take effect from 2019 across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. These new rules will apply to existing cardholders and those wishing to apply to the scheme for the first time.

From 01 January 2019

Anyone applying for an Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card for the first time will be required to sign up to Registered Electrician status. This means the applicant must be qualified to the current edition of BS 7671 (the IET Wiring Regulations) when the application is made and sign up to a Code of Professional Practice, in addition to holding the minimum qualifications required for the card.


From 01 July 2019

Any existing Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card holders who have let their card lapse for more than a year will be required to renew as a Registered Electrician.

01 July 2019 is also the deadline for Registered Electricians who have qualified to the 17th Edition of BS 7671 to achieve a qualification in the 18th Edition of the Wiring Regulations (BS 7671:2018). 

The changes are being introduced to promote and underpin the status of Registered Electrician, recognising those electricians who are not only working to the NVQ Level 3 standard, but also meet the latest British Standard (BS 7671) for electrical installation. 



Q: How does this affect me, as I haven’t applied for a gold card yet but plan to in the future?

A: From 01 January 2019 if you wish to apply for an Installation or Maintenance Electrician gold card, you will be expected to become a Registered Electrician – you will need to meet full gold card requirements, plus the latest Wiring Regulations (the  

     version in force when you make your application), plus sign up to the Code of Practice.


Q: I’m an Installation Electrician with an ECS Gold Card, but without Registered Electrician status. How does this affect me?

A: If you wish to continue without Registered Electrician status you should continue to renew your ECS card on time or as soon as possible. However, from 01 July 2019, if your card has expired for more than one year, you will have to renew as a Registered Electrician which will involve you holding the BS 7671 edition qualification in force when you renew and signing up to the Code of Professional Practice.


Q: I’m already a Registered Electrician but to the 17th Edition of BS 7671.

A: From 01 July 2019, you will be required to have an 18th edition qualification and have uploaded it to MyECS. If your MyECS record does not show that you hold the 18th edition qualification by this date, your Registered Electrician status will be removed from your MyECS record and will not show on your MyECS virtual card. We recommend as soon as you gain your 18th edition qualification to upload it via MyECS. There is no additional cost for adding your approved BS7671:2018 qualification to your MyECS account during the term of your ECS card.

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