October 31, 2023

How to get an Experienced Worker ECS Gold Card

ECS cards have become the norm as they provide a standardised way to quickly assess worker’s suitability for roles.

How to get an Experienced Worker ECS Gold Card

Becoming an ECS registered electrician and gaining the appropriate ECS Card is often a vital step in progressing your career.

The ECS card scheme is widely recognised and respected across the electrical industry, as well as in construction and related sectors. The Experienced Worker ECS Gold Card, specifically, is desired by many in the industry.

So how do you go about getting ECS cards, and particularly your experienced worker gold card?

We've compiled this short guide just for you.

What is an ECS Card?

The ECS card (a.k.a the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme card), is a type of identification and certification card used in the UK's electrical industry. 

ECS cards have become the norm as they provide a standardised way to quickly assess worker’s suitability for roles. The ECS card is issued by the Joint Industry Board (JIB) for the electrical contracting industry.

It is essentially a way to verify the qualifications and competence of individuals working as electricians, electrical engineers, and related tradespeople. In order to earn their ECS cards, workers must prove they have the necessary skills, training, and qualifications to work safely and competently on site. 

ECS Card types

ECS cards are colour coded for two reasons: 

  • To show the holder's occupation 
  • To show their level of competence. 

And there are four different ECS card categories:

  • Gold Card: Only issued to fully qualified and registered electricians who have completed a recognised apprenticeship and achieved the required qualifications
  • Blue Card: Issued to those working in an electrotechnical role who are not fully qualified electricians but have completed a relevant NVQ or SVQ
  • White Card: Designed for non-electrotechnical roles in the industry, such as labourers and managers
  • Red Card: For those who are in the process of gaining the qualifications required for a Blue or Gold card

Gold Card Requirements 

Seen as a very high achievement for electricians in the UK, having an ECS Gold Card allows you to work as a fully qualified electrician and in more advanced roles like inspection and compliance. 

It proves that you’ve gained the right level of training and skills to carry out your role safely and effectively.

Plus, some construction sites won’t allow you in without one. So for many, getting this card is an essential step in their career!

What qualifications are needed for an ECS Gold Card?

To obtain an ECS card, individuals need to have specific qualifications and experience, before sitting and passing a formal assessment. 

The requirements for this type of ECS card are:

  • Have completed a recognised apprenticeship and hold an NVQ Level 3 qualification such as the Electrotechnical Experienced Worker Qualification
  • Proof of any other relevant certifications and qualifications gained through the years
  • Pass an ECS Health, Safety and Environmental Assessment
  • Be able to prove your experience as a qualified electrician, through work records, employment references, or other documents that demonstrate your experience

How to apply for an ECS card

To apply for any type of ECS cards, you’ll need to visit the ECS website to download or complete the appropriate application form.

Be prepared for your application with your national insurance number, proof of relevant qualifications and safety qualifications, and ECS HSE Assessment certificate. There may be an application fee involved.

ECS will then review your application, qualifications, and experience to ensure that you meet the necessary requirements.

If your application is approved, you will be issued a card which typically contains information about your qualifications, registration, and a headshot.

How much does an ECS card cost? 

According to official information from the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme website:

Standard online application fee is £54 for your first initial card, and renewal or replacement cards are priced at £42.

There are discounts for applicants employed (and listed) by a JIB member company, and for members of Unite the Union.

More information on the fees is linked on this page: Electrotechnical Certification Scheme

What can I do with an ECS Gold card?

Here are some paths a gold card can lead to - specific opportunities will also depend on your experience, additional training, and employer regulations or requirements.

1 - Work as a Fully Qualified Electrician

You can work as a fully qualified electrician in various settings, such as residential, commercial, or industrial electrical installations.

2 - Contractor or Self-Employment

Many ECS Gold Card holders choose to become self-employed or work as electrical contractors. This allows you to take on your own projects, manage your business, and potentially hire and supervise other electricians.

3 - Supervisory and Management Roles

You can advance into supervisory and management roles within the electrical industry. This might involve overseeing projects, managing teams of electricians, and ensuring compliance with safety and industry standards.

4 - Teaching and Training: 

Some experienced electricians with Gold Cards decide to share their knowledge by becoming trainers or instructors in electrical training programs or apprenticeship schemes.

5 - Specialisations: 

The gold card is a foundation for exploring various electrical specialisations, such as renewable energy installations, data and communication systems, fire and security systems, or industrial electrical work. (Additional training and qualifications may be required.)

6 - Compliance and Inspection Roles: 

You may also work as an electrical inspector or compliance officer, ensuring that electrical installations meet regulatory and safety standards.

7 - International Opportunities: 

In some cases, an ECS Gold Card may be recognised or transferable for electrical work in other countries, depending on local regulations and agreements.

What is an Experienced Worker? 

An ‘experienced worker’ is usually someone with at least 5 years experience as a qualified electrician. You can also take a course to solidify your title of experienced worker, which often helps towards an ECS card application. 

At Universal Skills, our Electrotechnical Experienced Worker Qualification is designed for electrical professionals who can demonstrate their technical knowledge, performance, and competence to the industry standards. 

The Experienced Worker qualification includes training and assessment for Level 3 Performance Units. These are:

  • Practices and procedures for maintenance
  • Health, safety and environmental considerations
  • Organise and oversee electrical work environments
  • Design and installation practices and procedures
  • Terminate and connect conductors
  • Inspect, test and commission electrical systems
  • Fault diagnosis and rectification

Candidates who complete the Experienced Worker qualification as well as the AM2E safety assessment (which covers safe isolation, installation, fault finding and inspection and testing) can apply for an ECS Gold Card. 

Working towards your ECS Gold Card? 

Chat with us today to see what course suits your current level and goals. 

You’ll be on the road to getting your ECS Gold Card in no time!

Explore Experienced Worker Course here. 

Speak to a member of our team today.

Our in centre team can advise you on course bookings, availability and commercial training programmes. Fill in the form to get started.

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