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ECA News We’re on an e-learning curve

THE ECA HAS LAUNCHED ITS FIRST ONLINE e-learning training course. The ECA Online 17th Edition Course has been set up to help fulfil an industry requirement for all qualifying supervisors (QSs) to have a minimum of a 17th Edition qualification by the end of 2011. The e-learning course is designed to be very practical, and is presented by the ECA’s own in-house experts in the technical assessment and educational and training fields, and is based on real examples that contractors can relate to. The course module is delivered in line with the different sections of the Wiring Regulations and, as a full 17th Edition course, it is designed to be equally applicable not just for the domestic contractor, but also for those working in commercial and industrial facilities.

The course is designed to be interactive, with

participants setting their own pace. Participants can spend time on those areas that they feel they need


The ECA has welcomed the coalition government’s prioritisation of the Green Deal initiative.

Steve Bratt, group CEO of the

ECA, commented: ‘We are delighted to see that the government is placing appropriate emphasis on the skills required to deliver the Green Deal scheme. Consumer confidence will be key to the take-up of the Green Deal – confidence that energy-saving measures and renewable technologies are fitted safely and correctly the first time round, and confidence that the right solution has been recommended and fitted.’

His comments come in the light of the situation in Australia, where the government spent close to 2.5bn Australian dollars on fitting insulation in homes. The project was abandoned after 150 house fires resulted from installations carried out by opportunistic contractors with little or no electrical experience and few qualifications. ‘As electrical contractors are the frontline troops who will be responsible for installing much of this technology, it is encouraging that government has stipulated that under the terms of the scheme, only “appropriately qualified installers” will be allowed to install energy- saving technology.’

IT’S BEEN A SUCCESSFUL FEW months recently for ECA members, with a succession of accolades and industry awards. Firstly, Diane Johnson, our president – and first woman president of the ECA in its 109-year history – was voted winner of the SAS Daniels LLP Women in Business award at the Cheshire Business Awards 2010. Her role with the ECA is seen as a great achievement in a male- dominated industry, having started at the bottom level and worked her way up from branch level through to chairman of the North West region. She then went on to the national

12 ECA Today Winter 2010

to brush up on, and move more quickly through those that they are more familiar with. And each section has sample questions to test how well users are learning and understanding the issues. The move to offer an online course recognises the difficulties that contractors often face when attending traditional training courses – both the cost of the training itself and the cost of taking time out of the business are major barriers.

‘Sometimes it’s just simply not possible to attend a traditional day release programme,’ comments Iain Macdonald, the ECA’s head of education and training. ‘We thought looking for an online solution would be more convenient and contractor-friendly,’ he added.

While the primary function of the course is to lead participants to a new qualification, it is also suitable to those contractors who simply want to remind themselves of the detail, as a refresher course – as there is no mandatory exam

requirement at the end of the course. The ECA’s partners, Navigator Productions, are the production team behind the e-learning 17th Edition course. Navigator has specialised in producing technical training content for the electrical industry since the 15th Edition was introduced in 1980.

Navigator has provided the ECA with a ‘Learning

Lounge’ online, which will enable participants to have their own personal account and experience their own virtual classroom. Users will receive learning plans from the ECA to help guide them and help them get the best out of the e-learning process. Navigator’s is usually a key tool for further education establishments in the UK to support both lecturers and students in the classroom, at work or at home.

The course is expected to be live by the end of

2010. For more information, visit the Members Area at

Awards success for ECA members

Chris Lewis Fire and Security picked up two of the security industry’s flagship awards at the 2010 Security Excellence Awards

council, before working her way up to her current role.

Diane is financial director in the

64-year-old family-run business Eric Johnson of Northwich, and her company also had success at the Electrical Industry Awards in October when employee, Shaun Lane, won Electrical Apprentice of the Year 2010.

Another ECA member, Valsave Engineered Solutions of Middlewich, won a Cheshire Business Award – the Mersey Forest Trust Medium Business of the Year award, 2010. In the last 25 years, the company has built a strong reputation for providing intelligent, highly efficient

solutions for the water, utilities, process and chemical industries. Meanwhile, Chris Lewis Fire and Security enjoyed fantastic success at the 2010 Security Excellence Awards at London’s Park Lane Hilton, picking up two of the security industry’s flagship awards, including IT Initiative of the Year for the second time – having previously won it in 2006, and been shortlisted for seven successive years. Two of the company’s apprentice engineers, Daniel Boyes and Mike Barnett, were awarded first place in the Apprentice Skills Challenge, each collecting £500 prize money. The pair had competed against apprentices from around the UK in May at the International Fire and Security Exhibition and Conference (IFSEC), and successfully used their skills and knowledge to secure top position. And finally, of course, Tony Morgan received the Peter Greenwood Award at the FSA Conference (see FSA Conference feature on pages 38-40). Stefan Hay, head of FSA and Marketing, said: ‘This collection of accolades truly shows the quality of membership that exists within the ECA and that our members are better businesses.’

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