An ECS card

Why do I need an ECS Card?

If you work in the electrical industry, you will probably need an ECS Card.

The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) allows those working in the electrical industry to evidence their skills and qualifications and the disciplines they are competent to work in. An ECS card also shows that someone meets the relevant health and safety requirements.

Having an ECS card demonstrates that you have reached the industry standard for electricians. Without an ECS card, you will not be allowed on site.

ECS card types

To apply for an ECS Card, you should first identify which type of card you need. There are a range of ECS Card types which cover the breadth of occupations and skill levels within the industry – from entry-level to manager, as well as covering related disciplines.

In order to qualify for a valid ECS Card, you will need to be able to provide evidence that you meet the essential requirements for that card by submitting evidence of your qualifications. You will also need to pass the ECS Card test to be eligible to apply for an ECS Card.

ECS Gold card

If you work in the electrical industry you’ve probably heard of the ECS Gold Card. It is the industry standard recognition that the holder is a qualified electrician.

The Gold Card covers all electrotechnical occupations, as well as those working in data communications, fire detection & alarms and emergency & security systems occupations.

There are two routes to an ECS Gold Card for an electrician. The standard route is to have an NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Installing Electrotechnical systems and equipment. If you are NVQ Level 3 or equivalent qualified, then you are eligible for your gold card after providing proof of your qualification.

The second route is for electricians who qualified many years ago but don’t have the Level 3 NVQ standard. To become eligible for an ECS Gold Card, the Electrotechnical Experienced Worker Assessment recognises an individual electrician’s years of experience, and offers a way to be formally assessed. Upon successful completion of the assessment, a worker will achieve the Level 3 qualification and receive their Gold Card.

ECS Apprentice Card

The ECS Apprentice Card (also known as the white card) is for those taking an electrical or electronic apprenticeship.

Your training provider will usually arrange this card for you. The ECS Apprentice Card will allow you to work on-site, although you will still be under strict supervision throughout your time there (just like all apprentices).

To be eligible, you will need to be registered on an apprenticeship or advanced apprenticeship, have a copy of your Training Agreement and passed the ECS HS&E Test.

ECS Trainee Card

ECS Trainee Cards are for electrotechnical trainees who are not undertaking an apprenticeship but instead enrolled on a formal Joint Industry Board (JIB) training programme.

Training is usually split into three stages, which come with their own requirements:

  • Stage 1 – For those at the beginning of their training programmes. You will need to provide evidence of your employer’s sponsorship and that you are registered on a training programme, as well as passing the ECS HS&E Test before being able to move on to stage 2
  • Stage 2 – You need to have completed stage 1 and provide a copy of your certificate, as well as stage 1’s previous requirements
  • Stage 3 - You need to have met the previous requirements, as well as provide evidence that you are working towards the AM2 and Level 3 NVQ in a related field and evidence that you have passed stage 2.

ECS Industry placement Card (AKA work placement)

The ECS Industry Placement Card was formerly known as the work placement card, and is required by electrotechnical trainees, T Level or degree sandwich course students attending formal work placements. Training providers will apply to the ECS on behalf of the student after the student or trainee has passed the ECS HS&E Test.

Electrician working with a socket or switch fitting

How do I get an ECS Card?

Step 1 - register with ECS

You will need to register for a MyECS account – you can make your application online via MyECS and can track your progress from there.

Step 2 - provide evidence of qualifications

You will need to prove that you have the right qualifications for the card you are applying for.

Copies of certificates can be uploaded as scans or good-quality digital photographs. The ECS cannot issue a card without proof that you have the correct qualifications. Please make sure you have everything to hand before you start.

Step 3 - ECS HS&E test

The ECS Health, Safety and Environment (HS&E) Test ensures all cardholders have a good level of health and safety knowledge and awareness when on site – you cannot work on a site without it.

The test consists of 45 multiple-choice questions surrounding working safely on site, with a pass mark of 85% (38 correct answers). Here is all the information you need about test fees.


What’s the difference between a CSCS Card and ECS Card?

A CSCS card is the Construction Skills Certification Scheme card. This is the card that construction workers need to work on construction sites. Holding a CSCS card means that you have the right qualifications to work on-site. An ECS card is similar, but it relates just to electrotechnical workers. To work on a construction site as an electrician, you need an ECS card, not a CSCS card. The ECS competence card scheme is affiliated with and recognised by the CSCS.