• NICEIC introduces alternative to classroom training

    17th Edition training can currently involve up to three days in a classroom, plus a fourth day allocated for sitting the online examination.

    NICEIC has recognised how difficult and expensive it can be for electricians to take four days out of work to attend classroom-based courses. Working with e-learning experts, Virtual College, NICEIC has put the face-to-face training delivery into an online course.

    This means delegates can access 17th Edition training at a time, place and pace to suit them, potentially saving them from losing four days of site work.

    The online course keeps track of your progress and bookmarks where the delegate has got up to; so small bite-sized chunks are just as possible as larger online training sessions.

    Delegates can sit the course over a number of nights, weeks or months - it's totally flexible and NICEIC has structured the course into short interactive e-learning modules. Once these are completed one can undertake a number of online revision tests that will check the user is ready for entry to the final assessment.

    "The fact electricians can now access a 17th Edition course at a flexible time and place to suit them is an important step, especially in the current economic climate," says Alan Wells, head of electrotechnical, NICEIC Group. "This online learning facility, as well as the introduction of our virtual reality PIR course, means NICEIC is truly pioneering electrical training methods in the UK today."

    The course is available from 1 February 2010. For more details visit www.niceic.com and click on training or call 0870 013 0389.

  • Training - 2010 – The year of educational alternatives

    Following a year in which education and training were closely examined by the press, Ann Watson, Managing Director of awarding organisation EAL, looks back at 2009's key moments and reveals her hopes for 2010

    Last year was an interesting time for education and training, with the recession having a huge effect on those involved in our sector. The year saw a sharp rise in graduate unemployment, a record number of university applications, and thousands of new apprenticeship places created as the government attempted to combat rising unemployment. 2010 looks to be equally interesting as these new incentives bear fruit. With an election and potential change of government also on the horizon, this looks set to be a fascinating time for the education and training sector.

    The university system was featured regularly throughout the year, and sadly not always in a positive way. Back in the spring, the newspapers reported large numbers of cutbacks in traditional graduate job areas, one assumes as a result of the recession. This will have a significant impact on the graduates of 2009, potentially the hundreds of thousands of graduates embarking on new careers. Despite this, the summer and autumn brought news of rising university applicants, as the younger generation were pushed towards higher education in hope of boosting their employability.

    Away from the world of university, apprenticeships occupied significant column space when the government created thousands of new places, enticing employers to invest in the young professionals of the future. Incentives like the £2500 "golden hello" mentioned in December's White Paper are a step in the right direction, but a better move would have been to offset apprentices wages against companies pre-tax profits, or to offer the sum as a contribution to the apprentice's first year salary.

    While there will always be questions around the various enticements, any pro-active moves by the government relating to apprenticeships are warmly welcomed, due to their largely positive effect on raising the profile of apprenticeships. This directly benefits the young people who may not have considered this route by making them aware a way of entering their chosen industry in a way which allows them to earn a living while they study. The government has seen an increase in apprenticeship places of more than 165,000 since the 1996-97  academic year, and these numbers will hopefully increase following the introduction of the Young Person's Guarantee at the end of 2009. It would be great if 2010 saw apprenticeship numbers continue to rise as the gap in numbers of people studying vocationally and at university continues to decrease. This may be a hard ask as employers, who provide vital apprenticeship places, continue to feel the squeeze as a result of the recession. 

    I hope this year will also see the recognition of the value of NVQs. Despite being used across a wide range of industries for more than 20 years, in some quarters they are not being given the recognition they deserve. Shadow education secretary David Willetts' comment in September 2009 that "NVQs have negative value on the labour market" was uninformed. His view dramatically underplays the value of the qualifications, which are accessible to a wide range of learners. They often form a key aspect of the apprenticeships which play a valuable role in the development of the next generation of skilled workers. As well as providing proof of competence, they give the individual confidence in their own skills as they receive recognition of their accomplishments. I hope that 2010 will see these qualifications gain the respect they deserve.

    The endorsement of apprenticeships and the skills sector by the Shadow Minister for Lifelong Learning, Further and higher education John Hayes MP at EAL's recent Skills for Economic Success debate was most welcome, if a little at odds with his colleague's views. Given the vital importance of training as a means of safe-guarding the future success of our sector, any new policies must be carefully considered before they are introduced. Regardless of which party is in power, there needs to be a cohesive party line if legislation affecting the vocational sector is going to be brought in.

    2010 is shaping up to be an exciting year for education and training, and we welcome the challenges which it may bring. We are proud of the fact apprenticeships are becoming more commonplace as a means of entering a new industry, and hope that their growth will continue to have a positive effect on the way in which vocational training is regarded. For those who are currently in training or considering it I urge you to take any opportunities offered to you in 2010 that will broaden your skill set.

  • Training - The new AM2 - demanding, but worth it!

    NET Business Development Manager, Stephen Plant, explains why the AM2  assessment has been modernised after consultation with the electrotechnical industry

    The AM2 has been the gold standard for the electrotechnical industry for the last 25 years, but as technology grows at a pace, the assessment must change to reflect the demands placed on today's electricians. From April 2010 we will be introducing a new AM2 assessment, which has been modified after a two-year consultation period. We hope the modifications to the assessment will further boost the next generation of electricians' confidence in their own abilities, while reinforcing AM2 as the evidence that they and their employers are capable of providing the best level of service to their clients.

    Contrary to many people's understanding, the AM2 is not solely a standalone qualification; it is an assessment of occupational competence, which forms an integral part of an electrician's apprenticeship, as well as being available to those who need to undertake it in other contexts, such as adult trainees. Passing the assessment is a useful proof of proficiency at a time when standards are becoming ever more demanding.

    Updating an established assessment such as the AM2 presents an interesting challenge, namely how to maintain the assessment's standing within the industry. The AM2 has provided valuable proof of competence for tens of thousands of electricians, so it was imperative any modifications to the assessment did not affect its position as the industry's benchmark of occupational competence.

    Over the last two years, NET has carried out a systematic consultation process involving apprentices, employers, practising electricians and examiners. We took every opportunity to get as much feedback as possible before we made any changes to the assessment. The review presented an opportunity not just to look at the assessment itself but also the marking system, administration and candidate guidance.

    One of the conclusions that came from the consultation was the need to make the assessment reflect current working practices, including the use of modern connection and wiring systems. As a result, the revised assessment is now entirely competence, rather than systems, based. It encompasses methods of installation and termination, safe isolation, risk assessment, inspection, testing and fault finding.

    We have also updated the marking system, reflecting the need to make the assessment more efficient and provide meaningful feedback. In the past, some candidates undertook the assessment before they were fully prepared. The new assessment will have much better candidate guidance to ensure, whilst it remains challenging, candidates can better assess their state of readiness.

    We have introduced a recommended pre-requisite checklist. This will allow candidates to check their competence against the individual elements of the assessment. When they feel comfortable with each component of the assessment, as outlined in the checklist, they are then ready to undertake the AM2. We have also increased the level of support and guidance that we provide candidates before, during and after the assessment.

    Those who already possess an AM2 certificate will not be required to re-qualify against the new assessment. However, due to the change in content, those who need to re-sit the current assessment must do so before April 2010 before the new assessment is introduced. We would urge all those who need to book their re-sits to do so as soon as possible to ensure that they are assessed under the present system. NET's mobile assessment centre (pictured) will be deployed on a regional basis to support AM2 centres in delivering an effective service to those requiring re-sit facilities.

    Altering something which has become a benchmark for an individual electrician's competence was never going to be simple, but we feel that the changes we have implemented reflect the skills required by the electricians of today and future.

  • Schneider Electric expands training course topics

    Schneider Electric has enhanced its training courses to now offer contractors and electricians more support, adding new topics to the events to include areas such as energy efficient solutions and the latest lighting technologies.

    The events are held by Schneider Electric in partnership with its network of authorised distributors to highlight the extensive range of solutions available, which installers can capitalise on to boost the profitability of a project.

    The free events are taking place at distributors' branches and conference facilities across the country and as well as new topics, will focus on core product areas including wiring accessories, home networking and lighting control applications.

    In addition, the training will advise installers about the latest cable management and circuit protection offers, which can reduce installation times, ensuring they meet project deadlines and helping end users save money.

    At the events, attendees will also be able to share ideas and network with other contractors and will have access to Schneider Electric's technical and sales experts.

    Hamish Bingley, customer marketing engineer from Schneider Electric said: "The free events provide a great opportunity for contractors and electricians to keep abreast of the latest technologies, which is particularly important in the current competitive market. One way they can add value to the service they offer customers is to play an advisory role, guiding them through the range of solutions available and making recommendations. Also, with energy efficiency so high on everyone's agenda, there is plenty of scope to have an input on refurbishment as well as new build projects, helping customer to meet environmental obligations while lowering CO2 emissions and energy bills. "

    Attendees will also receive vouchers for 15% off featured products and support literature.

    For further information, and to obtain a list of venues across the country, call 0870 608 8 608 or email customer services at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Authorised persons training for EDF Energy

    One of the UK's largest energy companies has chosen leading energy management specialist Schneider Electric to provide authorised persons training.

    EDF Energy - which generates about 20 per cent of the UK's electricity and distributes electricity to 7.9 million homes and businesses - identified a need to engage an external training organisation to provide refresher training for their authorised persons that work in their un-regulated business unit. This was driven by the EDF Energy requirement that all operatives working on the network must attend a refresher course every three years.

    The infrastructure services section of EDF Energy selected Schneider Electric to provide the AP training, which was well received by the delegates and a very successful programme. The course incorporates both practical and classroom based training, ensuring participants are offered a comprehensive programme.

    Schneider Electric
    02476 847564

  • Opinion/training - Pulling together

    Confusion reigns but QCF promises to deliver tangible benefits to the electrical  industry says Ann Watson, managing director of EAL (EMTA Awards)

  • Opinion/training - Green light for the electrical industry to flourish

    Iain Macdonald, head of education and training at the Electrical Contractors'  Association (ECA), discusses what the sustainability agenda and the Low Carbon Skills Consultation will mean for the electrical industry

  • Opinion/training - Funding shortfalls

    It has been widely reported the new coalition government refuses to rule out a rise in university tuition fees. It has also been widely reported that the Russell Group of leading universities is calling for a fee rise, arguing that students should pay more towards the cost of their courses. Engineering degrees are expensive to deliver, and the natural worry is the subject could see dramatic fee increases, which would deter students from applying, exacerbating the country's skills shortages

  • Baseefa secures training contract with EDF

    Baseefa of Buxton, a specialist in hazardous area certification, has landed the largest single training contract in its history - with EDF Energy.

    The bespoke, modular DSEAR practitioner training course was designed specifically for EDF Energy and will be used in its eight nuclear power stations in England and Scotland from October. EDF Energy supplies about 9,000 MW annually to the National Grid.

    Ron Sinclair, managing director of Baseefa, commented: "This is a major achievement for our fast-expanding training arm, and we are delighted to be working with the largest energy company in the UK."

    The deal was set up by Allan Ogden, Baseefa's DSEAR and services manager, and Jeff Healey, one of Baseefa's hazardous area training specialists, and involved running a pilot scheme at EDF's Heysham plant in Lancashire in January.

    Each module requires the preparation of a set of detailed student notes to supplement the set of Powerpoint slides with presentation notes. The students' notes are designed to provide sufficient information to limit the need for course participants to refer to numerous other standards or reference documents. It is hoped a training course for more specialist operators will be set up later in the year.

    Jeff Healey commented: "I was very impressed by the enthusiasm of the EDF people who were on the pilot course. People showed a lot of interest and we had lots of questions. Safety is obviously vitally important in the field of nuclear energy generation."

    David Drury, head of technical training for EDF Energy, said: "It is vital we find the right partners to help us deliver key training across the fleet. After the success of the pilot course at Heysham we will now be rolling this out across all our nuclear stations."

    Picture courtesy of David Long.
  • Demand calls for increased training

    Niko UK has announced it is expanding its training programme for 2011 following an increase in demand. The training programme provides free one-day courses to electricians and installers on how to install and programme the Nikobus home automation and lighting control systems, are delivered at the company's purpose-built training suite in Toddington, Beds, just off Junction 12 of the M1.

    Commenting on the expansion, Niko UK's sales director, Stephen Calder, explained "We recently established a joint training programme with the NICEIC - and this has seen a substantial uplift in demand for places on the courses. As ever, we like to respond positively to the demands of the market, so we are in the process of revising our training programme for 2011 to accommodate as many installers and electricians as possible."

    Anyone interested in booking a place on a training course should contact Niko UK as follows on 01525 877707 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

  • Modular Wiring Systems opens new training facility

    Modular Wiring Systems, a subsidiary of electrical cable manufacturer Tratos, has opened a new demonstration and training facility at its Slough offices.

    The Modular Academy is a showcase for Modular Wiring Systems' product ranges and services. The large ground floor room has been divided into three key sections - power, lighting and bespoke equipment - each with working equipment, allowing customers to see and interact with product in action.

    "The new Modular Academy will allow us to clearly show how modular wiring systems work" states Neil Ancell, Mmanaging director of Modular Wiring Systems. "Despite such systems being on the market for some 25 years, many specifiers, developers and contractors remain unfamiliar with them and are therefore reticent to move away from the traditional approach of fixed installations which are labour intensive and costly.

    "We are also keen to show how our systems differ from others in the market. Having the equipment on show in a working demonstration allows us to do this as the quality of the product is immediately obvious, from the cabling to the connections. Customers can see the difference first hand."

    The new Modular Academy is available free of charge to anyone who wants to learn more about the concept of modular wiring systems, including specifiers, electrical and mechanical contractors and training providers and their students.

    For more information, please visit www.modularwiring.com.

  • Training - The sustainability agenda: Is the electrical industry ready for the challenge?

    This is not just a sustainability challenge; this is a skills challenge, says Iain Macdonald, Head of Education and Training at the ECA

    It is no secret the UK faces a huge challenge if it is to meet current carbon reduction commitments, which require an 80% reduction in our carbon emissions by 2050.
    Drastic energy savings will need to be made to meet this challenge, and it is our built environment, which accounts for nearly half of the UK’s carbon emissions, that offers the best route to achieve this. If we are serious about meeting these targets, every home, office, and commercial and industrial space in the UK needs to become energy efficient.
    If done correctly, this challenge can be turned into an opportunity.

    The role of the electrical industry
    Electricity is the lifeblood of every building, and the majority of sustainable technologies, such as energy efficient lighting, controls, sensors, and photovoltaics are powered by electricity. This means electricians have a vital role to play advising and installing the energy efficiency technologies which will be key to achieving carbon reduction targets.

    Although current operatives may need to update their skills to gain specialist expertise, none of this calls for a new breed of ‘green’ installer. Fully trained electricians already possess the core skills to act as the frontline troops in the fight to cut carbon emissions.

    However, meeting this challenge will require significant numbers of operatives. In the domestic market alone, 2,000 homes per day will need to be refurbished, which will create significant demand for people to carry out this work - something which has the potential to secure a new and ongoing market.

    Skills challenges to the industry and UK plc
    The UK must be in a position to respond to this demand, and obstacles to training the workforce, in particular, employer engagement must be overcome.

    Apprenticeships are the traditional and best entry route to a vocational career in our industry. Historically, electricity boards were the main employers of apprentices, but since privatisation, this is no longer the case, and the onus has increasingly fallen on the SME.

    The current recession also means companies don’t always prioritise training. Despite the best efforts of electrical contractors, the number of apprentices continues to fall.

    With a lack of new entrants coming into the industry and the average age of a qualified electrician in the UK being 45, we could soon face a skills crisis where we will not have the skilled workforce to cope with demand.

    If this skills challenge is to be addressed, a business culture that encourages companies to train must be created. Thousands of new apprenticeship places will have no value if employers are not in a position to take advantage of them.

    The ECA believes efforts should be directed towards achieving industry-recognised outcomes, which lead to jobs and employability. We must work together with government to ensure the investment we make in skills is appropriate and develops a sustainable skills base for our young people and our industry.  

    ECA solutions
    If we achieve this, we will win the public’s confidence in ‘green’ solutions. It is imperative clients have confidence the right solution for their circumstances has been recommended and fitted, as well as confidence that energy-saving measures and renewable technologies are fitted safely and correctly the first time round.

    There already seems to be recognition of this amongst electrical contractors, and at ECA we have seen real appetite for micro-generation courses and the Micro-generation Certification Scheme (MCS).

    To help members better understand this market, the ECA has taken to the road with a Green Opportunities Roadshow featuring seminars and a specially fitted truck kitted out with renewable and energy-efficient technologies. The roadshow truck and seminars will help electrical professionals gain an in-depth understanding of renewable and energy-efficient technologies, as well as the business opportunities afforded to them by the government’s low carbon agenda. For more information on the ECA roadshow visit: www.eca.co.uk/roadshow.

    A sustainable future
    The sustainability agenda presents a challenge, but significant opportunities can also be found. We must view this agenda as an ongoing project, as we do the maintenance of the Forth Bridge. Following initial installation, technologies will need to be maintained or replaced several times between now and 2050 creating a flourishing business environment for those involved in this market.

    To create a sustainable environment, we must create a sustainable workforce by setting a path that prioritises the acquisition of skills at the right level, and in sufficient numbers. Only then can we look to the future and meet the challenge of the sustainability agenda.

  • Training - The assessment of occupational competence at Level 3

    Stephen Plant, business and development manager of NET, discusses how the decision to make the AM2 a formal unit of the new Level 3 NVQ will ensure greater competence within the electrical sector

    The coming year will be marked by a change in the vocational education sector.  The Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF) – which was introduced by the Labour Government in 2009, and came into force in January 2011 – will alter the way vocational training is delivered; it is undoubtedly the biggest change to take hold of vocational education since NVQs were brought in during the late 1980s. The shake-up is the result of a shift in popular opinion, predominantly led by the government, which is increasingly citing skills-based careers as the driver by which the UK economy will be rebuilt.

    What is the new framework?
    The QCF offers a simplified learning process, allowing those responsible for training and development to invest in a more flexible qualification structure for their staff.  They can now do this because the modules that make up QCF qualifications can be taken at the employee’s pace, allowing career development to fit around professional and personal commitments.
    Qualifications will be built up in units, with each unit having a level and a ‘value’.  Learners will be awarded credits for every unit they pass, where one credit represents 10 hours of learning time. From April 2011, the electrical industry’s Assessment of Occupational Competence (AOC), the AM2, will be a compulsory unit for anyone signing up for an electrotechnical NVQ Level 3 qualification:
    s Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Installing, Testing and Ensuring Compliance of Electrical Installation Work in Dwellings
    s Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical Systems and Equipment (Building Structures and the Environment)

    As clarification, the term NVQ (National Vocational Qualification) will still be used in titles where the qualification is competence based, and directly aligned to National Occupational Standards. So, for all trainee electricians studying for a Level 3 qualification the NVQ title will still apply.

    The AM2 has long been a formal part of the national UK work based apprenticeship; but until now, it was not a compulsory requirement under the equivalent Level 3 NVQ qualification taken by adults training to enter the industry.  Embedding AM2 in the new NVQ structure under the QCF is visibly the right way forward, as it aligns requirements for all electrical trainees at Level 3, be they apprentice or adult. This will undoubtedly have a positive effect on the wider electrical industry, raising standards across the board.

    The AM2 – at the heart of industry
    As the AOC for the electrical industry, AM2 is the practical assessment that proves an individual’s competence in electrical work. The assessment was launched by the industry in 1985, and redesigned last year with the demands of today’s environment in mind, and with an enhanced emphasis on safety. The AM2 aims to reflect ‘real life’, assessing competence in the typical tasks and time conditions that a qualified electrician would experience at work within a property or site.

    AM2 is generally the final stage of an apprenticeship or NVQ; it is taken at the end of the training period when the candidate is almost fully trained and therefore likely to be ready to have their practical ability tested across the breadth of electrical work. However, before sitting AM2, candidates have the opportunity to consider if they are in a good position to pass the assessment, by means of a pre-assessment exercise based on the tasks they will have to perform in the AM2.

    Benefits to learners, employers and industry
    By incorporating the AM2 into the Level 3 NVQ, employers benefit as much as learners do. Every qualified NVQ Level 3 holder will be able to provide evidence they are equipped with the right skills and employers can be confident taking on an electrician who has come through the NVQ route, rather than through an apprenticeship, is equally competent to support their business appropriately. This will be particularly important as the UK embarks on the government’s low-carbon initiatives, which will require a large number of qualified electricians to play a key role over the next 40 years.

    NET has been working closely with the UK’s two awarding bodies for the electrotechnical NVQ Level 3, EAL and City and Guilds, as they incorporate the AM2 into their suites of NVQ Level 3 electrical qualifications. From next year all relevant qualifications will list the AM2 as a compulsory component, and learners enrolled on these level 3 NVQs will be required to sit the AOC irrespective of their training provider or college.  This highlights the role of the AM2 in ensuring competence within the electrical industry.

  • Free voltage optimisation training seminars

    Companies in the Midlands and the North West will be able to find out how voltage optimisation can help them cut their energy costs and reduce their carbon footprint at free training seminars to be held in May and June by EMSc (UK) Ltd, manufacturer of the Powerstar system.

    North West seminar - Warrington

    The North West seminar, which is in partnership with the Energy Institute, will be presented by Powerstar sales engineer for the North West Ray Booth and will take place at The Centre in Birchwood, Warrington on Tuesday 10 May

    Mark Hobbins, who is a registered energy engineer with Energy Institute, as well as a Low Carbon Consultant with CIBSE, will speak at the event about energy and environmental projects in business and industry, including legislation, controls, metering and lighting.

    Midlands seminar - Warwick

    The Midlands seminar will be presented by Mick Meakin, the Powerstar sales engineer for the Midlands and will take place on Tuesday 14 June at the Radcliffe House Conference Centre, at the University of Warwick. There will also be a presentation from an independent keynote speaker on the latest developments, trends, government legislation and examples of best practice in relation to carbon reduction and energy management.

    Both events. which are free to attend, run between 10am - 1pm and include a buffet lunch. All attendees will be presented with a CPD (Continuous Professional Development) certificate for completing the introductory course to voltage optimisation and energy management.

    People interested in attending the events should contact Nick Lee on 01709 836 200 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There is also an opportunity to register online at: powerstar.co.uk/seminarbooking.html.

  • Installer training programme

    Emitex has developed an affordable, comprehensive training course. The Emitex Approved Installer Programme is a single day course taught with the electrical contractor in mind, at various locations throughout the U.K on a weekly basis.

    The one day course is designed to give contractors an introduction to Cat 5E and Cat 6 structured cabling systems, installation practices, network hardware, horizontal and backbone layouts, cabling standards, hands on termination, continuity and certification practices.

    Investing in the Emitex Approved Installer Programme will provide engineers and contractors with the competency levels needed to install structured cabling systems. And by gaining the EM1 registered installer status you would enhance and diversify your business to todays market demands.

    All Emitex systems installed by an Emitex approved installer (EM1 programme) have a full life warranty.

    01952 270 271

  • 20m management training fund announced for small businesses by government

    Skills Minister John Hayes has called on senior leaders in SMEs to take advantage of funding that will support leadership and management training to help them grow their businesses.

    About 13,000 small and medium sized businesses and social enterprises that display a potential for development will benefit from the Leadership and Management growth grant. This will help encourage innovation and employment, boosting the economy and helping develop a bigger and more cohesive society.

    A match funded grant of up to £1,000 can be spent on leadership training and coaching that helps grow the business, improving productivity and competitiveness. The programme also includes a free consultation with an expert adviser before the training commences, as well as a free follow-up to discuss the impact of the training and any further skills needs.

    Skills minister, John Hayes said: "This government will back businesses that want to boost their skills. We're spending more than ever on apprenticeships, freeing up training providers from red tape, and focusing public spending where it is most needed to drive growth. Effective leadership can make the difference between survival and growth, and this fund will give vital support to entrepreneurs who want to continue to develop their businesses."

    Dr. Mark Brenner, chief executive, Building Engineering Services Training (BEST) added: "This scheme is very timely for the building service engineering sector with available training for supervisory and first line managers from BEST. Leadership skills are a vital component of a growing company's skillset and will provide a strong platform for productivity improvement much needed in our sector. The BEST leadership and management training schemes are delivered under the ILM qualifications programme leading to diploma/NVQ's that are compliant with skills cards needs. Please contact your local BEST representative who will be able to help you access funds for this scheme."

  • European training centre opens

    Lutron Electronics, an expert in light control, has launched its new European Training Centre with an array of courses to suit every custom installer and lighting professional's training needs.

    Recently named as winner of the Cedia Best Training Initiative Award, Lutron has created a selection of workshops that offer training on every element of selling, specification, installation and programming of Lutron light control systems.

    From simple dimmer installations through to total light management systems, Lutron's courses, running throughout 2011, provide insightful training on Lutron's quality range of systems. Based out of Lutron's new European Training Centre at its head office in Wapping, the courses include:

    Introduction to Lutron's Quantum Energy Management Solution
    From one circuit to a whole campus energy management solution, this one-day class concentrates on the specification, sales, design and choice of equipment processes for a Quantum application. This course offers a great introduction into the world of commercial light controls.

    Quantum Specification Course
    Perfect for those investigating the requirements for performing building installations using Lutron's Quantum total light management system, this three-day course provides the technical training needed. The course concentrates on the specification and interoperability between Lutron's Quantum system devices, as well as the installation and programming of the stand-alone systems.

    Quantum Design & Project Management Course
    This class covers the process of quoting a Quantum lighting control system and how to manage commercial projects. The course also includes a complete update of the Quantum components.

    GRAFIK Eye QS System
    This one day training session focuses specifically on Lutron's GRAFIK Eye QS lighting control system. This course utilises hands-on training to teach attendees how to navigate system hardware, software and programming.

    Energi Savr Node System
    Focusing specifically on Lutron's new lighting control system, Energi Savr Node (ESN), this one-day course utilises hands-on training to teach attendees how to navigate system hardware, software and programming.

    Sivoia Installation and Programming Qualification Course
    Comprising of a two-day seminar, this course is the capstone for Lutron's Window System Provider programme. The course covers advanced installation and programming for Sivoia QED and Sivoia QS including integration with lighting and AV systems. Sivoia QED and Sivoia QS qualification requires attendance of this session.

    Introduction to Lutron Residential Lighting Control Systems
    Looking at everything from a single circuit and room controls through to whole home centralised systems including shading technology, this one-day seminar focuses on Lutron's residential systems. This class is required for all new dealers to understand the basics of the Lutron product offering.

    Homeworks Installation and Programming Qualification Course
    Within this comprehensive three-day course on Lutron's residential system provider programme, Lutron uses hands-on training to teach participants how to design, install, and programme Lutron's renowned residential lighting control programme, HomeWorks.

    Andrew Bechgaard, head of marketing EMEA at Lutron comments: "At Lutron, our mission is to educate industry professionals about the benefits of light control, so they have the right tools to determine the best solution for every customer and every space.

    "The extensive choice of courses on offer at our new European Training Centre in Wapping will ensure that there's a course suited to everyone's training needs, providing them with the latest information on how to install, use and specify Lutron's portfolio of products."

  • Training centre searching to spark interest in new bursary scheme

    Trade Skills 4U, (TS4U) whose bursaries are aimed at ex-service personnel who have slipped through the resettlement net, is offering £100,000 worth of training for those seeking a new career path in the electrical and renewable energy industries.

    The centre is urging armed forces personnel invalidated out of the services or who have left due to illness and injury, to come forward and take up the training scheme.

    "I'm surprised so few ex-forces personnel have applied to take advantage of this great opportunity for free training, especially as there is huge demand in both electrical and renewable energy industries," said Carl Bennett, managing director of TS4U.

    Trade Skills 4U was founded in 2004 after the managing director, Carl Bennett, suffered a brain tumour and was unable to continue his career in the SO19 Met Police Specialist firearms unit. Given his personal experience with adversity, Bennett wants to help ex forces personnel in a similar position who are struggling to find their feet.

    "We are not a huge company and can't offer free training to everyone that is eligible so we have to select and prioritise those able to take the free training, based on need,' says Carl Bennett. "Anyone who thinks they qualify can apply for an interview and we will try our best to help.

    In the wake of its success as a national electrical training centre, TS4U is officially launching its renewable energy training centre on 17 June 2011.

    The launch will also act as an open day for those who wish to visit the centre as it truly showcases Trade Skills 4U's dedication to training. The centre provides candidates with purpose built facilities to train domestic installers and electricians in real and relevant scenarios to prepare for the renewable revolution.

    Simon Weston OBE, a name well-known for his time in the Falklands will be awarding the first bursary place at the open day on the 17 June. Weston's fight to overcome horrific burn injuries and redefine his role in life after the Falklands War is an example of the incredible bravery shown by Britain's heroes.

    The day will also be an eye opener for those who are mystified by the renewable energy industry with seminars from partners Easy MCS, Stroma and Eco Tube. These highly regarded companies within the industry will explain accreditation, Feed in Tariffs and installation. Following the theme, the 100% electric car, the Nissan leaf, will be making an appearance as the company will be attempting to charge the car via a solar array. Trade Skills 4U will conduct its own seminars, which will include live demonstrations of installation from their qualified team of instructors.

    "The renewable energy market is growing so quickly that there is a real need for qualified installers," Carl Bennett stressed. "That's why Trade Skills 4U is working hard to create the best facilities for candidates to train on."

    Only 1,500 renewable energy installers are currently registered in the UK but research by the Department of Climate Change predicts there will be 7 million PV installations by 2020, requiring up to 50,000 accredited installers.

    The facility opened for training courses earlier this year, providing fully qualified instructors with hands-on practical workshops and theory lessons. Delegates taking the courses can obtain registration and accreditation from bodies such as City & Guilds, NICEIC and BPEC. The solar PV courses are a key step into becoming MCS accredited.

    To register for the event on 17 June, call 01293 529777 or visit www.tradeskills4u.co.uk/events

  • Training - Invest in some brain training

    As the lingering effects of the economic downturn continue to have a stranglehold on the construction industry, it can be tempting for many electrical contractors to dismiss training as an unnecessary distraction warns Asad Majid, national training manager at NICEIC

    There is now a growing case to say training in difficult times can actually be more beneficial in the long term.
    The publication of the first amendment to the 17th edition of the wiring regulations is due out next month (1 July) and is sure to create an increased demand for training in the upcoming months.
    Anyone involved in the design, erection and verification of electrical wiring systems will be statutory obliged to get to grips with the new regulations before they come into force on 1 January 2012.
    For some electricians this obligation to go back to the books can be seen as a hindrance, but for many contractors it is an opportunity to develop new skills and strive for better things in their work.
    Everyone involved in the industry has a duty to at least appreciate the new regulations so they can go about their work confidently and in the knowledge it will comply with future regulations.
    This is because, ultimately, the regulations are in place to protect and enhance the safety of customers, and as professional electricians and electrical engineers, the regulations ensure standards are maintained.
    The electrical sector is a fast moving industry where new products and technologies are being launched on to the market every day. Standards which might have been suitable a decade ago are now out of place and the need to update regulations has become a necessary and vital tool to ensure best practice.
    In anticipation of the changes NICEIC has been running one-day workshops to give contractors an early warning of what to expect.
    The sessions have been well attended and looked at subjects expected to be included in the amendment such as; the inclusion of a new electrical installation condition report, changes to legislation relating to medical locations and new guidelines which deal with the installation of surge protection devices.
    What we tend to see here at NICEIC is  those who are quick to invest in training tend to stay up to speed with technical developments and are often in a better position to take advantage of new business opportunities.
    There is a commercial advantage to be gained by companies with employees who are skilled in a number of areas and just as the challenges may seem numerous the opportunities for electrical contractors right now are significant.
    The drive for sustainable buildings, the advancement of electric cars and an increase in demand for renewable technologies means electricians are well placed to take advantage new opportunities in the market.
    The challenge of exploiting these opportunities will only be accessible through the development of new skills and without the knowledge gained through training, the danger is many contractors could get left behind.

    Online training
    One growing trend for NICEIC in recent years has been the use of technology to provide access to training via online services such as virtual reality. NICEIC can now offer contractors online versions of several City and Guilds courses as well as the 17th edition.
    Last month NICEIC registered its 1000th online customer for the for the City & Guilds 17th edition e-learning course. Since its launch over a year ago the online training facility has proved very popular with contractors who find it difficult to take time off work.
    Training in the 17th edition regulations could usually involve electricians spending up to four days in a classroom – four days when they are not earning any money! The online facility means they are able to reduce this amount by half and so training becomes something which is viewed as beneficial and not a disadvantage.
    Perhaps surprisingly it is not just the younger sparks who are switched on to this method of training. The 1000th online customer at NICEIC was Les Keetch of Power Distribute, in Kent. Les is 61 but said he prefers the option to train online because it allows him to train at his own pace – which is not always possible in the classroom.

  • Launch of new training facility

    EPIT Group has announced the opening of its newly completed, custom built, training centre in Blackburn, Aberdeen, UK.

    The new facility will allow the group to accelerate its growth strategy, as it increases the capacity for providing specialist training and assessment services to engineers working in hazardous and industrial environments. With three additional training rooms and a purpose built electrical/instrument practical area, HV/LV and cable glanding courses are catered for as well.

    EPIT Group will be delivering an extensive portfolio of nationally recognised, competency based courses, in this new accredited training centre including the CompEx scheme, as directed by EEMUA, and Competency Plus courses, which are certified by OPITO.

    Delegates are assured of a first class training experience and will also have access to a modern canteen area along with the use of an internet cafe.

    JCE Group
    01224 798600