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Skills for the Future

Tackling the skills shortage and attracting new talent to the industry.

Our Members know the importance of a competent, well-trained workforce.

Many ECA Members started their careers as apprentices and progressed to senior company roles or running their own businesses. They understand the mix of skills and experience needed by trainees.

As system designers and installers, our Members are in the vanguard of the shift to smart buildings and net zero. These complex challenges make it vital we attract and keep high calibre entrants. Yet there simply aren't enough of them.

ECA plays a pivotal role shaping employment, training and qualification programmes to fit our industry for the future.

Read more about ECA's Charter to Recharge Electrical Skills.

ECA plays a pivotal role shaping employment, training and qualification programmes to fit our industry for the future.

What is the issue?

Overlooked electricians
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Overlooked electricians
  • Electricians are crucial to society and the economy, but are too often overlooked by policy makers.

  • The safe roll-out of green technologies, like EV chargers, energy storage systems and solar PV, need the skillset of a competent, qualified electrician.

  • Core electrical competencies cannot be learnt at a ‘skills bootcamp’ or other short course.
Not enough electrical apprentices
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Not enough electrical apprentices
  • There aren’t enough competent, qualified electricians, with significant differences between regions. 

  • To maintain the existing number of electricians, we need to increase recruitment to 6% of the existing workforce, with apprentice recruitment accounting for 5% of total numbers. The average in England is less than 4%.

  • Despite shortages, it is not viable for many small firms to employ apprentices.
Broken skills pipeline
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Broken skills pipeline
  • Although vast numbers enrol onto classroom-based electrical courses each year, these courses do not produce qualified electricians, with less than 10% of learners progressing into an apprenticeship.

  • There are another 40,000 individuals practising as electricians or electrical fitters, but without the right level of qualification. Learners wishing to upskill often struggle to obtain financial support. 

  • Because of the above, most learners never complete their training – locking thousands of potential electricians out of secure employment. 

What is ECA calling for?

Qualified electricians at the heart of net zero
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Qualified electricians at the heart of net zero
  • Fund industry-recognised upskilling programmes for qualified electricians in green technologies.

  • Train electricians to advise customers on transitioning to low carbon technologies.

  • Raise awareness that skills bootcamps and other short courses, developed without proper industry input or endorsement, risk competence and safety.
Increasing the number of qualified electricians
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Increasing the number of qualified electricians
  • Priortise public funding towards industry-endorsed routes which lead to qualified electrician status, including apprenticeships, NVQ and experienced worker assessments.

  • Provide additional direct funding and administrative support for small employers to take on apprentices.

  • Incentivise industry professionals to teach apprentices by benchmarking pay by industry levels.
Stronger pipeline and support into employment
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Stronger pipeline and support into employment
  • Monitor and assess more closely the outcomes of classroom-based courses.

  • Build more effective partnerships between education providers and employers to help connect learners with jobs.

  • Incentivise employers to offer hands-on work experience for classroom-based, NVQ and experienced worker route learners.
It is possible to fly without motors, but not without knowledge and skill
Wilbur Wright
ECA's activity
Welsh Members visit Senedd

March 2024: Members met with parliamentarians and education providers at a time of concern about cuts to the Welsh Apprenticeship budget. Read more >

PM's Apprenticeship pledge response

March 2024: ECA broadly welcomes Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's pledge to create up to 20,000 more apprenticeships, but calls for more actionable detail.

Read more >

Need to prioritise Green Skills

February 2024: ECA COO Andrew Eldred reiterates calls on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to provide small electrical contractors with extra financial and administrative support.

Read more >

Welsh Apprenticeship cuts

January 2024: Members voice concern over Welsh Government Apprenticeship cut

Read more >

EBSSA launch

January 2024: ECA co-hosts formal launch of ‘Super Sector Skills’ Authority (EBESSA)
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ECA meets Sir Bill Wiggin MP

January 2024: Introduced Sir Bill Wiggin MP to ECA’s Charter to Recharge Electrical Skills

Welsh Government Consulation

December 2023: ECA submitted a response to the Welsh Government Net Zero Sector Skills consultation.

The Future of Electrical Skills Charter

November 2023: Parliamentary launch of The Future of Electrical Skills Charter. Read more >


November 2023: ECA leads industry Roundtable on Skills for Net Zero. Read more >

ECA presents to London Assembly

October 2023: London Assembly hears ECA evidence on ‘green’ skills. Read more >

Welsh Gov cites ECA evidence

October 2023: Welsh Government cites ECA evidence in Net Zero Sector Skills Consultation. Read more >

LSIP report

September 2023: Analysis of local electrical workforce and recruitment given to policy makers. Read more >

New Electrician Worker Route

July 2023: ECA welcomed the launch of a dedicated Experienced Worker Assessment (EWA) route for domestic electricians by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP). Read more >

ECA join Gov’t Skills taskforce

July 2023: ECA Director of Workforce and Public Affairs, Andrew Eldred, was invited to join the new Department of Energy Security and Net Zero’s Solar Taskforce. Read more >

ECA Employer Skills Surgery Group

July 2023: Skills Surgery encourages Members to stay up to date on ECA network. Join group >

ECA chaired skills panel

June 2023: Trade Association Forum Conference features Skills session hosted by ECA. Find out more >

Andrew Eldred - keynote speech

June 2023: Powered-On Keynote Andrew Eldred talks about electrical engineers of the future. Learn more >

ECA addresses APPG on T levels

June 2023: ECA appears before All Party Parliamentary Group on T levels. Read more > 

New ECA Skills Surgery opens

May 2023: New ECA Skills Surgery opens on LinkedIn. Find out more >

ECA at All Party Parliamentary

April 2023: ECA speaks at Westminster All Party Parliamentary. Read more >

National Apprenticeship Week

February 2023: National Apprenticeship Week - Members urged to recruit more apprentices. Read more > 

ECA explains skills needs to 25 LSIPs

January 2023: ECA explains skills needs to local skills improvement plans (LSIPs)

ECA offers expertise on training

November 2022: ECA writes to newly created LSIPs offering expertise on training.

Podcast: Investing in training

October 2022: In conversation, Jill Nicholls from Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE)  and Ruth Devine from SJD Electrical discuss investing in electrotechnical training. Listen to the podcast > 

Leading the Charge launches

September 2022: ECA documentary highlights the skills needed for next generation making the switch to net zero. Learn more >

ECA & Gov discuss Green Jobs

July 2022: The Green Jobs Delivery Group will support the delivery of up to 480,000 skilled green jobs by 2030 as set out in the Energy Security Strategy and Net Zero Strategy.

Higher standards for clean heat

June 2022: The TUC sets out recommendations to support higher standards and jobs for clean heat. As expert contributors, ECA emphasised the importance of quality jobs and high-standard training for heat pump installation as key to the journey to net zero.

CLC competence report published

May 2022: ECA as part of the Construction Leadership Competence Steering Group, publish a new report defining competence, post Grenfell. The report marks a milestone in progress towards improved standards of installer competence in the built environment.

Apprenticeship recruitment rises

February 2022: Sector wide Quarterly Building Engineering Business Survey which includes data from industry trade bodies ECA, BESA, SELECT and SNIPEF, shows rise in apprenticeship recruitment.

ECA National Apprenticeship Week Webinar

February 2022: ECA host webinar with Jill Nicholls (IfATE) detailing the current and upcoming apprenticeship developments in England and Wales.

ECA joins Actuate UK

August 2021: ECA joins industry alliance Actuate UK to urge school leavers to enter engineering careers, as the UK employment market enters uncharted territory.

ECA contributes to new skills plan

March 2021: ECA is a key contributor to the Construction Leadership Council’s Skills Plan 2021-2025 through its involvement with the CLC People and Skills Network.

ECA National Apprenticeship Week Webinar

February 2021: Apprenticeship week, ECA showcases the success of JTL female electrical apprentices at Member firm, TClarke.

ECA leads on Installer Competence

January 2021: Andrew Eldred, ECA’s Head of Workforce and Public Affairs, Leads on Installer Competence for the Construction Leadership Council.

Retaining employees webinar

August 2020: ECA’s employment and skills team outline the options businesses have to help them retain employees in the challenging Covid period, above and beyond the furlough scheme.

ECA Skills4Climate Report Published

Summer 2020: ECA produces ground breaking Skills4Climate industry survey report, mapping the skills and training required to achieve ‘Net Zero Carbon’ by 2050.

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