ECS Card - The Complete Guide
If you wish to work as an electrician on a construction site, you must hold an ECS/CSCS card which proves your identity, competence and qualified status. In this guide you will find out how to get one and how to prepare for the ECS exam
What is an ECS Card?
The ECS card means you can prove your identity, your qualifications and your occupation. One has to present his ECS card whenever he needs access to a construction site.
Because construction sites are classed among the most dangerous places to work on, all employers ask for a proof that you are a competent person with proper training and qualifications.
This is where the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) comes in to place.
Please note that the ECS is affiliated to the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS). So when your employer asks for your CSCS card, you will have to present your ECS card because it is the one relevant to the electrical industry.
Please note, if you are not an electrician you will need an appropriate CSCS card. You can get information on the CSCS card, as well as practice for the Health, Safety and Environment test with the help of mock tests here: http://www.cscsvizard.co.uk/
Fees, validity and how to apply
The cost of an ECS card will depend on the type of card being applied for. Full details of ECS card costs can be found in the "ECS Card Payment Details" document.
As you can see in the document above, the cheapest option is the Standard Online Application, where an initial card is £48.00 and the renewal/replacement card is £36.00.
The ECS card is valid for 3 years, after which you will need to renew your card for a smaller fee.
The easiest way to apply for an ECS card is online. Go to MyECS, set up an account and follow the step-by-step instructions.
You could also apply by post, but this option incurs an additional £10 administration fee and it is a much slower process. To apply by post, download the Application Form from the ECS website and post it to the following address:
ECS Administration, PO Box 127, Swanley BR8 9BH
You will have to provide additional documents such as proof of identity and qualifications.
Please note applying for an ECS card and applying for the ECS H&S assessment is two different things! You need to pass the ECS Health & Safety Assessment first!
JIB Grading for ECS
During the application process, you will get a chance to apply for a JIB grade.
The JIB Grading System is accessible to anyone who has the appropriate electrical qualifications such as the NVQ Level 3 and relevant practical experience. You do not have to be employed by a JIB member company to obtain a JIB grade.
If you wish to apply for a JIB grade, you must complete section 5 and ask your employer to complete section 9 of the application form.
As an electrician you can apply for the following JIB grades:
There are other grades as well, such as Labourer or Technician, but to you as an electrician, the above grades are relevant. You can find out more about JIB grades here on the JIB website.
ECS Card Types
There are three different types of ECS card:
- Gold and platinum ECS cards - which identify the holders as qualified to NVQ Level 3 or above, within their occupation, such as Electrical Site Manager, Contracts Manager or Installation Electrician. The individual's occupation will determine the title of the ECS card (i.e. ECS Installation Electrician). For the full list of card titles visit this page on the ECS website.
- Conditional Electrician ECS card - is for individuals employed by a JIB member company who do not meet the requirements of a gold or platinum card. This card is only valid for three years during which the individual is expected to undertake all the training necessary to obtain a gold or platinum card. This card cannot be renewed.
As you can see the ECS card identifies your name, your JIB grade and your occupation:
On the following pages you will find out about the ECS exam and how to prepare for it with the help of our ECS Test Simulator.