When it comes to working in the electrotechnical industry it can seem a minefield working out which ID and competency card you need. The JIB Gold Card, to put it simply, is the card to apply for if you are a qualified electrician. It can be hard to know where to start when applying for the JIB Gold Card. So here we provide everything you need to know. In this article, we take a look at the requirements for the JIB Gold Card and how to apply. We also take a look at the JIB Gold Card test.
What’s the difference between the JIB and the ECS?
Some of the confusion around the JIB Gold Card lies within the fact that the terms ‘JIB Gold Card’ and ‘ECS Gold Card’ are often used interchangeably. These cards are, in fact, the same thing. ECS stands for the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme which provides ID and competence cards for those working within the electrotechnical industry in the UK. JIB stands for the Joint Industry Board. They are the organisation who sets standards for grading, welfare, employment, and apprentice training in the electrical industry. The JIB are who provide the ECS scheme in Wales, Northern Ireland and England. In Scotland the Scottish JIB deliver the scheme.
About the JIB Gold Card
The JIB Gold Card (also known as the ECS Gold Card) is the card to apply for if you are a qualified installation electrician. The card covers a wide range of occupations in the electrotechnical industry. These include jobs within the fields of electrotechnical, data communications, fire detection and alarm systems, and emergency and security systems occupations. It requires the holder to have a JIB recognised UK competency qualification. There are also other requirements that we will go into in the next section.
Being the holder of this card certifies that you are eligible to work unsupervised on the installation, commissioning and maintenance of low voltage electrical and electronic devices/appliances. This card will provide evidence to potential employers that you are qualified to undertake the work required.
JIB Gold Card Requirements
The requirements for this card are dependent on when you qualified as an electrician and whether or not you gained your qualifications within the UK. For a full list of qualification requirements see here.
The main route to acquiring a JIB Gold Card is to first achieve a Level 3 NVQ in an electrotechnical field. An equivalent qualification will also be accepted. This can be a formal UK electrotechnical apprenticeship or a historical qualification that is recognised as an equivalent to an NVQ Level 3.
Since 1st January 2019, the JIB added additional requirements to apply for the JIB Gold Card. Applicants must hold the current edition of the Wiring Regulations BS7671:2018 and be signed up to become an ECS Registered Technician. This is a new initiative from the JIB which intends to ‘shine a light’ on professionals who have achieved a highly qualified status in their field.
Other routes to a JIB Gold Card
If you’ve come this far in the article only to find that your years of experience do not qualify you for the JIB Gold Card then don’t worry, there are two other routes to apply.
Another route to apply is if you are a qualified supervisor with either Certsure or the ECA. Evidence requirements for this route are three successful NICEIC assessments. However, from 31st December 2019 applicants will no longer be able to apply or renew their card via this route. This is due to a move by the Construction Leadership Council (CLC). Those who previously applied for the Gold Card via this route will be required to be qualified to NVQ Level 3 or equivalent.
The final route is through the Mature Candidate Assessment. This is for individuals who have years of experience in an electrotechnical occupation. However, they have not completed an apprenticeship or NVQ Level 3. To get this process started, get in touch with a Mature Candidate Assessment Provider. An independent assessor will be able to look at your experience and advise you on any training gaps you need to fill before undertaking the AM2 assessment. There will also be an on-site assessment.
Not eligible for a JIB Gold Card? Here are your other options
If you don’t yet have the necessary qualifications to apply for a JIB Gold Card then there are other cards that you can apply for. These will give you step on the ladder towards acquiring this card and place you within the JIB grading structure.
You may currently be working in a supportive role under supervision and may apply for the ECS Electrical Labourer Card and can upgrade to the Gold Card when you have completed the relevant qualifications. Another option is the Experienced Worker Card which is for workers who have experience in the sector and are currently working towards the NVQ Level 3 qualification.
How to apply for the JIB Gold Card
You can start the application process when you have established that you are eligible for the JIB Gold Card. Here is a step-by-step guide:
1. Register for your My ECS Account
An online portal manages your application for the Gold Card known as My ECS. You can register for your own account here. To register you will need a personal e-mail address, your National Insurance Number and Date of Birth. The system will also ask for either your surname, ECS Card Number (if you have an existing card) or your ECS Card Test assessment number. Through your My ECS account, you can track the progress of your application.
2. Send evidence of your qualifications
The next step is to provide the JIB with evidence of your qualifications. Evidence can be either high-quality scans or photos of certificates. You can upload these to your My ECS profile.
3. Take the ECS Test
To qualify for the JIB Gold Card you need to meet certain health and safety requirements. The ECS Health, Safety and Environment Assessment assesses your knowledge of these areas. There will be more info on this in the next section. Holding or taking certain qualifications can mean that you are exempt from taking the ECS Test, see this list to see if the exemption applies to you.
Once you have submitted your evidence and passed the ECS Test you can fully submit your application through the My ECS portal. Your card should arrive within 4 weeks of submitting your application and you can track its progress through the portal.
JIB Gold Card Test
You will not be able to apply for the JIB Gold Card until you have passed the ECS Test. This test assesses your knowledge of key health and safety requirements and safe working practices within the electrotechnical industry.
An ECS approved test centres are where you will take your test. The JIB, the ECA and Unite the Union provide test centres across the country. You can book your test via one of their websites. It costs £48 (including VAT) to take the ECS Test. There are 45 multiple-choice questions in the computer-based test. To pass you will need to answer 38 questions correctly within 30 minutes.
You can revise for your test on this website. Take a mock test here. There is also a comprehensive Revision Guide provided by the ECS which provides the full bank of questions and answers that could be asked in the ECS Test. Make sure you give yourself at least 10 days to prepare for the test (as recommended by the ECS).
How much does the JIB Gold Card cost?
The cost of ECS Cards is dependent on the card type. When you log into My ECS and indicate which JIB Gold Card you require it will automatically calculate the cost of the card. Generally, ECS cards cost around the £40 mark (not including VAT). You will also need to factor in the cost of the JIB ECS Card Test. The ECS Card Test costs £48. If you need to retake the ECS Card Test you will need to pay again for the test.
The JIB Gold Card is a competency card which shows that the holder has achieved a nationally recognised qualification. It also demonstrates they are fully trained to undertake their role in an unsupervised capacity. Holding a JIB Gold Card will open doors to employers. It demonstrates that you are trained to undertake important electrotechnical roles.
The typical route to achieving the JIB Gold Card is through NVQ Level 3. However, if you have experience in the industry or a historical qualification you may be eligible for the Mature Candidate Assessment. All Gold Card applicants must pass the ECS Health, Safety and Environment Test to be eligible for the card.