Changes to the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations allow apprentices to start supervised electrical work sooner

Recent changes to the Electricity (Licensing) Regulations 1991 (“Regulations”) mean that new apprentices can now perform supervised electrical work while waiting for their electrician's training licence to arrive. 

Changes to the Regulations

Under sub-regulation 19(1) of the Regulations, any person who undertakes electrical work must be authorised by a licence or permit. Failure to comply with this requirement is an offence, carrying a maximum penalty of $250,000. 

There is an exception to the above position, however, where the conditions of sub-regulation 19(2) are satisfied. In this regard, there have been recent changes to the Regulations. Now, sub-regulation 19(2)(q) provides: 

(q) to electrical work performed by an apprentice who is under a relevant training contract if—

(i) the electrical work being performed by the apprentice is being supervised by a person who holds an electrician’s licence that authorises the supervisor to carry out the electrical work
unsupervised; and
(ii) the Board has not issued an electrician’s training licence to the apprentice; and
(iii) the Board has not notified the apprentice that their application for an electrician’s training licence has been refused; and
(iv) less than 60 days has passed since the relevant training contract was registered under the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 section 60F.

What does this mean for electrical contractors and apprentices?

In short, providing the work is: (1) supervised by an appropriate person; (2) the apprentice has not received an electrician’s training licence; (3) the apprentice’s application for an electrician’s training licence has not been refused; and (4) less than 60 days has passed since the training contract was registered – the apprentice can lawfully perform supervised electrical work, even without an electrician’s training licence. 

These changes are welcome news for electrical contractors. This is because previously, a newly engaged apprentice was unable to perform electrical work, until their electrician’s training licence arrived. It would often take weeks or months for this same licence to arrive, temporarily limiting the apprentice to non-electrical, labouring work. 

Even so, for a valid apprenticeship, there must still be a registered training contract in place. Also, electrical contractors must still ensure that an electrician’s training licence is immediately applied for once the training contract is registered. Click here for information on applying for such a licence.

Disclaimer: This summary is a guide only and is not legal advice. For further information, call ECA Legal on (08) 6241 6129 or email