Electron newsletter

Strategic projects

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Strategic projects

The Electrical Workers Registration Board (the Board) promotes safety for all New Zealanders by ensuring the competence of electrical workers. The Board and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) are undertaking two projects this year to ensure the quality and integrity of the registration and licensing systems for electrical workers:

  1. Registration Criteria – getting your registration: this project is looking at the process for electrical workers to become registered.
  2. Ongoing Competency – keeping your licence: this project is looking at how electrical workers stay up to date with technological advances and maintain their competency once they are registered.

A high-level overview of the approach for the two projects is below, followed by a brief update on each project and activity to date.

Timeline of review of registration criteria and ongoing competency.

Registration Criteria – getting your registration

The Board sets the minimum requirements that a person must meet to become registered as an electrical worker. Overseas workers and anyone who works outside the electricity supply industry are required to also sit a written Board examination.

The Board had become concerned about the quality of these examinations and their variable pass rates. It was agreed last year with MBIE to undertake a review of the examinations. The Registration Criteria project team is taking a collaborative approach to the review. They’ve been getting out and talking to those in the industry affected by the registration requirements to both understand the way things are now and to co-design any improvements.

The scope of the review has since expanded to consider the whole of the Board’s registration criteria. The project team has been tasked with considering what the Board will require in order to be assured that a person is safe and competent to be a registered electrical worker and how this can be assessed. A critical aspect of this, given the current shortage of electrical workers, is to ensure that everyone who is competent and safe can achieve registration while ensuring standards are not dropped.

Over the past six months, in order to understand how the system currently works, the team have spoken with a wide range of stakeholders, including;

  • Chief Examiner
  • training providers
  • industry training organisations
  • industry body representatives
  • electricity supply industry companies
  • electrical workers and
  • students.

The team has also spent time researching other jurisdictions and occupations, both in New Zealand and around the world. The insights gained from this research have been presented to the Board and the next phase of work is now underway, with idea generation workshops taking place around the country between 12 and 27 September.

Ongoing Competency Project – keeping your licence

The Board also sets the minimum requirements for competence programmes that electrical workers go through to get and maintain their practising license. In order to ensure that the process of registration and licensing is clear and consistent across all processes, the Board has also agreed with MBIE to assess how electrical workers stay up to date with changes to the industry and how they maintain their competency once they are registered.

The Ongoing Competency Project – keeping your licence began in July 2017 and will provide recommendations about changes to the Board in June 2018.

Over the past couple of months the project team has carried out 49 phone interviews with electrical workers, as well as face to face interviews with a range of people across the country, including:

  • electrical workers
  • training providers
  • wholesalers and suppliers.

This will help the team understand a diverse range of experiences and insights about the current scheme. The findings will be presented to the Board later this year to highlight where any opportunities for improvement exist. The next phase will look at possible solutions.

Over the course of this project, the team will be getting out and talking to those in the industry affected by the relicensing requirements and working to understand how the process carried out and whether it can be improved. We will also involve electrical workers and system users when creating solutions.