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TRAINING FEATURE GETTING READY FOR THE AM2


Carolyn Mason, ECA head of education and training, and chief executive of NET, writes on the AM2 assessment and how best to prepare for it


However, feedback from NET centres


is that continually, too many candidates are being put forward for the assessment by their training provider before they are ready. Last year NET introduced compulsory


‘readiness for assessment’ checklists signed by the candidate, employer and training provider to confirm the candidate has the knowledge and practical experience required for the assessment. Yet still, centres report that candidates are being told ‘just sign this’ and ‘you don't pass first time, so tick the sections you can, and we’ll focus on the others afterwards’. This is simply unfair and demoralising


for the candidates who are essentially being set up to fail. Re-takes are also a waste of time and money for employers.


A


s the final unit of the electrical installation qualification, the AM2


has provided the means of independently assessing the occupational competence of electrical installation apprentices for more than 30 years. A robust, timed practical assessment


in five sections, the AM2 requires candidates to perform a set of common occupational tasks and procedures that a fully qualified electrician might face when working in commercial or industrial premises, as well as dwellings. It assesses candidates on installation, inspection and testing and fault- finding. Their work must comply with the current British Standard (BS7671: 2018) and meet with the requirements of relevant health and safety legislation and industry best practice. The purpose of the AM2 is to ensure


all qualifying installation electricians achieve a single standard that has been agreed by employers in the industry as meeting their expectations of newly qualified personnel. The content, structure and marking of the


assessment is designed to produce evidence that a candidate has gained all the relevant safety critical competencies during their training process. The AM2 is compulsory for


apprentices, adult trainees or upskilling workers who seek to gain industry-recognised qualified status; raising overall safety and skill levels and ensuring that candidates from various routes have the skills employers need. It was extensively revised in 2010 to reflect current industry standards and best practice, following a wide-ranging, independent consultation process with employers, candidates, training providers and other industry parties.


BARRIERS TO READINESS For the last few years, the average pass rate for the initial AM2 assessment has been stuck stubbornly around mid-40 per cent. Some might see this as a badge of honour by being ‘one of the few’ to pass first time, with many candidates resigned to failing their first attempt.





A NEW APPROACH So, how can NET help to improve this situation? Ultimately, the company cannot stop people who say they are ready and want to be assessed. However, it is developing a new evidence-based checklist which asks candidates to submit robust evidence against specific areas of the assessment, rather than just ticking a box. The evidence will be reviewed by an assessor before an assessment can take place. The company is also developing a range


of preparation materials which will be available online, free of charge, that include more information on the assessment environment - too much mystery has built up over the years and too often there’s a genuine ‘fear factor’ about undertaking the AM2. NET wants people to perform at their best and be fully prepared and confident going into the assessment. NET is also exploring use of virtual


reality within these preparation materials; and welcomes feedback from candidates and providers on what would be most useful to them. All sections of the AM2 assessment are


covered in detail, not only in the checklist but also on the NET website – the company recommends anyone to use this as the starting point for AM2 preparation, on the way to pursuing a rewarding career in the industry.


NET netservices.org.uk/candidate-guidance


ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING | SEPTEMBER 2019 25


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