What is an ECS card and do you need one?

If you’re looking to pursue a career in the electrical industry, one of the first things you’ll need to do is get your Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) card. That’s because, to put it simply, you won’t be able to work without one.

The ECS is a card scheme for electrotechnical workers in the UK. You need to have a valid ECS card whether you’re a trainee electrician or a manager; it’s there to prove you are proficient at meeting the sector standards in order to maintain a high level of health and safety across the industry.

What is the difference between a CSCS card and an ECS card?

You’ve likely heard of a CSCS card as they’re used to provide proof that each individual working on a construction site has had the appropriate training and has the correct qualifications to competently carry out their job. This ensures that workforces are appropriately qualified and improves the safety standards on construction sites throughout the UK. If you go to work in an electrical site role you will need to have an ECS card as the ECS scheme is recognised by the CSCS as the equivalent competence card.

There are various other construction site occupations that require their own specific card and they are equivalent to the CSCS card. So, in terms of on-site safety, there is no difference between the CSCS and ECS cards.

Types of ECS cards

 There are several types of ECS cards, each with their own qualification requirements to obtain them. They include:

  • Apprentices and Trainees
  • Electrotechnical
  • Management
  • Fire, Emergency and Security Systems (FESS)
  • Building Controls
  • Network Infrastructure
  • Cabling and Jointing
  • Telecommunications
  • Digital Support
  • Related Disciplines
  • Partner Cards
  • Legacy Cards

An ECS card proves that your skills and qualifications have been independently assessed and certified, guaranteeing employers that you are qualified to work at the level shown on the card. It’s unlikely that any employer will let you work without one.

Holding an ECS card proves:

  • your qualification status
  • electrotechnical occupations
  • your experience and relevant employer endorsements
  • your identity
  • your health, safety and environmental awareness
  • adherence to industry CPD requirements and Codes of Professional Practice
  • any additional disciplines in which you are skilled to work
How to get an ECS card

You can get an ECS card by registering on the official site. Depending on the type of ECS card you’re applying for, you’ll need to provide proof that you have the correct qualifications. Uploading scanned copies or photographs of your qualifcations online will suffice. You also need to meet the health and safety requirements which you can get by taking the ECS Health, Safety and Environmental Assessment (HS&E).

To obtain an ECS card you need to have an up-to-date health and safety qualification, that is either the ECS Health, Safety and Environmental Assessment, or a relevant qualification that meets the exemption criteria.

The ECS HS&E assessment is designed to specifically cover health and safety that relates to electrotechnical workers, therefore they are unable to accept the CSCS health and safety assessment. For a full list of qualifications that are approved as meeting the requirements of the ECS Health, Safety and Environmental Assessment, click here.

Which ECS card will I need?

You may have heard other electricians discussing the types of ECS cards they hold. In England and Wales, the cards are called ECS cards, whereas in Scotland they are known as Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) cards. Both cards are essentially the same, however, you will need the correct card to work in each of these regions. The Joint Industry Board is the issuing authority of the ECS card, so sometimes ECS cards are referred to as JIB cards (but they are the same thing).

If you’re recently qualified or have just updated your ECS card and are looking for a new role, give us a call on 0151 665 0170 or email up at info@mepresourcing.co.uk and a member of our team will be happy to help.