Two newly qualified electricians have become the first operatives to successfully complete the new industry-wide TESP career progression scheme, developed and funded by partners including the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), the Joint Industry Board (JIB), Electrical Safety First, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), JTL, and NET.

Former Royal Marine Luke Versfeld of Dorset-based PB Electrical, an ECA member-firm and NICEIC registrant, is one of the first to complete the career progression initiative. The other newly qualified electrician is Reece Kirk.

The career progression scheme is intended to upskill hundreds of existing electrical workers to qualify them to the industry standard of NVQ Level 3 and AM2.

Luke Versfield of PB Electrical stated (see photo)“Thank you for this opportunity to complete the ‘TESP programme’. This represents an opportunity to further develop my career as an electrical engineer and I would recommend this course to any potential candidates looking to advance their careers within the electrical industry.”

ECA Director of Skills and Employment Alex Meikle commented: “Like much of the engineering industry, our sector faces a growing skills shortage which can only be tackled through a range of measures to increase the number of qualified electricians.

“Many congratulations to both Luke and Reece, who have been the first to successfully complete this innovative industry-wide training scheme for existing workers seeking to progress in their careers.”

JIB Chief Executive Steve Brawley said: “The JIB is very pleased to support this initiative – it provides an opportunity for people already working as electricians to qualify to the industry standard and receive our gold ECS card in recognition of their achievement.”

Michelle Richmond, IET Director for Membership and Professional Development added: “We are really pleased to welcome Luke and Reece into IET Membership.  The IET aims to support engineers and technicians at every stage of their career and I am sure they will continue to grow and develop through IET resources.”

Phil Buckle, Director General of Electrical Safety First, commented: “We believe one of the best ways we can protect consumers is by working with the industry and what better way to do this than by ensuring contractors are well trained and properly qualified – which the innovative TESP scheme achieves. We would also like to add our congratulations to Luke and Reece, the very first ‘scheme graduates’!”

Both individuals have received an ECS Gold Card in recognition of them meeting the industry standard, a year’s free individual membership of the professional engineering institution the IET, and some cash awards and training subsidies for their efforts.

In the coming months the training aspect of the career progression project will be expanded beyond the initial pilot with JTL to the other training providers who have been licenced to deliver the JIB Mature Candidate Assessment, helping to boost the number of operatives taking part in the initiative.

The electrical and electronic industries are currently facing a growing skills gap, with ECA research from last year finding that 6 in 10 SME electrical contractors (with 31-100 workers) say they are facing a skills shortage in the workplace.

To find out more about the initiative or to apply, please click here.