There has been concern from many members about the situation where an inexperienced electrical worker can go straight from completing their capstone into the Electrical Contractor Training Program, and a few weeks later begin to operate an electrical contracting business.
Anecdotal evidence indicates that of all businesses that fail, the majority have been operating for less than five years.
To address this situation, NECA WA has been working with the Electrical Licensing Board and CET to change the eligibility requirements for obtaining a contractor licence.
The position we have taken is that an electrical worker seeking to obtain an Electrical Contractors Licence must have completed two years of post-trade experience before applying for the licence. Preferably this experience will be gained within Australia.
Additionally, we have recommended that the UEE42111 - Certificate IV in Electrotechnology - Electrical Contracting course becomes the default requirement for a full contractors licence to be issued.
Business representatives would need to hold the business units and nominees, the electrical based units.
This two-pronged approach would ensure that electrical workers have developed skills as a tradesperson, as well as a greater focus on basic business practices, which will improve the likelihood of their business becoming sustainable.
These practices will include understanding costing, estimating projects and the development of safety systems.
NECA WA envisages that if successful, this training would result in better equipped contractors who understand not only the importance of electrical safety, but also business continuity.