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Posted By Topic: You can choose the Red pill or........the Red pill

Jun 13 2017 22:37

Not sure if it is just old age or being off my pills but after some deliberate thought on the subject of being an electrician it has come to my attention that some serious government interference with what we, as electricians. are expected to do, and are actually regulated to do, all under the guise of public safety.

I am not pointing my finger at the myriad of rules and regulations we are expected to know almost verbatim and mostly necessary, nor the extraneous pages upon pages of health and safety rules that seem to be needed nowadays to replace common sense of old, but I am more concerned that 2 yearly courses are now in place, for what I initially thought was a great reason, that, to keep sparkies that cared, up with the latest changes and improvements to the electrical industry but now with this years newly introduced testing and online course I think it has gone beyond a point or pertinence and more of that of regimentation, control and policing of electricians to the detriment of the public.

Why I believe this; I was licenced here in NZ back in the 70's therefore I probably am one of the most knowledgeable sparkies around with those others of the same era. Not just because of the time gained experience but also because I prided myself in continual self education holding multiple licences from 3 countries and only NZ being a third world country of them all. lol. Sense of humour never goes amiss. Saying this I have never heard in any other country of an electrical trade, or any trade for that matter, having to be tested on what they know every two years in order to keep their licence to do their job and earn a living. I said TESTED, implying a pass or fail.

My problem with testing electricians every 2 years, is that they already have the ability required, as proven by their trade exams, to do their job, competently or not is up to them and no control will change this. We are all able to find out how something is supposed to be done and if not sure then looking through our books and rules etc but NOTHING makes us do any of our work correctly or safely other than that we ourselves choose to!

So why this new test?

Fear of not paying the bills, loosing a job, loosing a client or pissing off an inspector could all be seen as control forces to keep sparkies on the straight and narrow but in actuality it is ONLY the sparkies personal integrity, as it is with all tradesmen, that keep him honest and doing his job safely and to the best of his ability.

We are all aware of needing to pay a fee every 2 years to keep a licence which is bullshit in itself as we never needed to do that for many, many years and now it is common place. I would not be surprised if some day soon we will all need to have a government appointed person to be with us while we work who makes sure we do it to a certain ordained standard and they will probably also need someone looking over their shoulder doing the same thing to them. Silly, yes, but don't hold your breath... I had a lifetime electricians and drivers licence once...

I have no problem with people earning money and am happy to pay those experienced teaching the 2 yearly course and those teaching the safety course as well but being actually BS! I find this demeaning and insulting to say the least. Even the on-line course, introduced this year, is BS in that it is toted as a must have in order to be re-licenced, I completed it but wasn't paying to much attention while doing it. I have a life and many, many other things going on never mind needing this silly certificate just so I could get my licence renewed for another 2 years.

I hope the young sparkies believe this is also unneeded and think the 2 year tests aren't a good thing but remember this; electricity was NEVER invented, it was/ has and will always be around. All we can do is look at ways of using it to suit our own sometimes sick purposes. That may be electrocuting our fellow man, powering homes/factories and industry or sitting in batteries for when you are all alone and need a little light to see by because of a power cut.

Whatever electricity is used for, or in, it, in itself has not changed since it's inception and just because we find new technology to use it in it doesn't change it. Once we learn the required theory, and work with those experienced in using electricity, we then pretty much know enough in order to earn a living for a lifetime. But now we are tested, examined and possibly pushed out of our trade, or at the very least, threatened by this every two years.

I wonder if this is the same for Doctors, nurses, plumbers, carpenters etc....If it is it is unfair on them also.

If it is all about safety for the public then explain why I now see so much in the way of what was once specialized equipment sold at Bunnings and Miter10, an RCD socket outlet, recessed light fittings, dimmers, 1.00mm T+E to 10mm T+E cable etc... What public individual is able to use these correctly or needs to prove by a test that they can and aren't they using TPS as PEW?

I really do look forward to reading some intelligent discussion on this but AlecK is not invited and he, but I know he will not be able to stop himself, can keep his opinion to himself as I already know what he believes, and I quote,

" The point is to avoid wasting other attendees' time while tutors deal with questions about the basics. "

Pretty sure that is not the point of it...

I myself believe those that have questions on the basics deserve the help far more than those that think they know it all ... They are the ones that could make the worst mistakes...

Even Ron states, and I quote, " It is, after all, the worker who is responsible to ensure their work is competently and safely carried out."

Jun 14 2017 07:35


It's in all industries and it only just going to increase.

Just wait till the dob in a tradey takes full force.

I've just had a sports injury and ACC put you through a full induction which includes your rights.

I was encouraged to report any medicinal practitioner that I felt had made me feel less important as a person or was culturally insensitive etc etc

I'm not reporting anybody unless my leg falls off but many people will.


Jun 14 2017 08:52

I'm seriously impressed, BubbaB... I thought if there was a prize for using too many words it might come my way; but you've managed a word-count way higher than anyone else ever - and got it all past the dreaded "Forbidden" error in one go as well.

A load of verbal chunder which can be summed up as
- you don't like having to renew your licence;
- you don't like being made to prove your competence on testing; and
- you particularly don't like the latest feature of "competency" refresher training ie having to show understanding of the basic legal framework we operate under before attending the competence / update training;
- but you don't mind being kept up to date with changing rules etc.

To answer your question about whether "doctors, nurses, plumbers, carpenters etc" also have to attend training, the answer is "yes, they do". Many professions / trades involve licencing, and require ongoing training in order to continue to hold a licence; eg medical, teaching, law, civil engineering. Including carpentry / building (for some key aspects) - but only since we had Cave Creek and a rash of leaky buildings.

I'll ignore the personal crack; luckily (for everyone) it isn't you that gets to "invite" people (or not) to participate here - that's Ron's prerogative. You reckon you know my opinion - based on one quote. What you don't know is that that wasn't my opinion - it was what members of EWRB told a number of gatherings of interested sparkies over recent weeks. Perhaps you didn't bother attending when they invited you? So while you're "pretty sure that is not the point of" the pre-course on-line modules; it's certainly the reason EWRB give for introducing them (mandatory from next relicensing round).

If you want my opinion on refresher courses as they have been since 1993, you'll have to look through the many previous threads covering that topic. As yet I haven't formed any firm opinion on the new system (not yet in place) where all presenters will have to sing from EWRB songsheet for content (with maybe a bit of personal twist to the presentation). A lot will depend on what they put in as mandatory content - and especially on how they expect hands-on testing assessment to be done. But I do support the idea of the pre-course modules, because anyone who has ever sat through a "refresher" must have noticed how much time gets wasted on things everyone should already know,, leaving little time for the more interesting bits.

Will be interesting to see other's thoughts; though I suspect what you are really interested in is not "intelligent discussion"; but rather support for your own opinion.


Jun 14 2017 11:03

It has been shown that many sparkies dont get it. So while I appreciate some do keep them selves up to date with regulation changes and alter their work practices accordingly, many do not. This, sorry to say, is particularly more prominent with electrical workers that have held their licence for a long time. They did their training under a different set of rules. It is natural to expect that as time goes on, and new technologies become available, the rules will evolve. It is there fore necessary for the electrical industry to evolve, and for electrical workers to stay current with those changes.

I do agree that there are varying degrees of training providers and thus varying value received from the training. That is part of the driver behind EWRB changing the course structure.

A test. Yes you can fail. IMHO if you fail the test you probably shouldnt hold a licence. The test is easy. Its not made easy though to waste your time, it is made easy to ensure know and understand the basic concepts in the electrical industry. I would suggest it is good for the industry to have competent electrical workers, and to identify those that dont meet that standard and either upskill them or remove their licence.

Paying for your licence - a large portion of that goes to help fund standards NZ so that you get free access to the standards that you need to do your work compliantly. They could I guess reduce the fee and make you pay for the standards, but imagine the outcry then.

It is necessary to make time for your own continued professional development. As Alex has stated, other trades must also do this. As an employer you factor this in to your charge out rate. As an employee you are probably (depending on your employment agreement) paid to do this. So no real drama.

Full disclosure - I am a training provider.

Jun 14 2017 11:31

AlecK...True to form, ignore everything, assume you know what others are thinking and fill your own post with party line seeing only trees and forgetting there is a forest there to look at. To much for you maybe? Then you feel entitled to carry on with your own blah, blah blah. I will leave it to others to look at the big picture with a hope of slowing big brother and keeping us all as free people. What a joke even thinking we are free.

Why tell me that if I want your opinion I am to look for it through all the previous posts and then you say you haven't formed one yet? Do you actually read what you write? And you have the cheek to accuse me of writing chunder.

No, I do not think that testing people EVER 'proves' their knowledge. I know, I know we have schools that do it all the time and look at the dummies leaving them by the droves but still let me put this as simple as possible.

After a years of study covering at the very least, thousands of words or theory, listening to many more words from superiors and then in an exam being expected to answer correctly whatever question is posed on your trade that some governing body deems appropriate at that time. I am aware our test is not that involved, nor should it be but my premise remains.

Have you ever installed a heat pump? So you would be happy to do a test on the four parts combining a 208 page compilation of ASNZS5149 part 1 to 4 and agree that if you do not pass you can no longer work as an electrician? At the same time you are not told what you will be tested on before you start the test...

This is where we have almost come to. Over examination, regulation and feudalistic measures all under the guise of public safety. You never mentioned public safety, hmm.

My prize is in the hope that even if no one says anything they are reading and maybe for a very long time, thinking about the bigger picture.

Dearest AlecK as you have stated you are also an expert on the internal exams and testing of "doctors, nurses, plumbers, carpenters etc" maybe you could site the reference where they get struck off if they do not pass a test after they have completed their training?

Jun 14 2017 12:11

Nurses - Required to do 60 hours of CPD (continued professional development) every 3 years to maintain their licence to "nurse". Ref nurses council website.

Jun 14 2017 12:11


Jun 14 2017 14:24

"Why tell me that if I want your opinion I am to look for it through all the previous posts and then you say you haven't formed one yet?"

My opinion on current regime of "competency" training is in previous posts - seems little point repeating it just for you.
The bit I haven't yet formed an opinion on is the coming regime with all content set by EWRB; and the pre-course on-line modules (being trialled by some providers this time, mandatory for next round).

Being a refrigeration Standard, AS/NZS 5149 simply has no relevance to electrical licencing.

"Dearest AlecK as you have stated you are also an expert on the internal exams and testing of "doctors, nurses, plumbers, carpenters etc".

I haven't stated any such thing. Just stated a fact; which is easy enough for anyone to find out for themselves.

You said you wanted intelligent discussion ( which has to be based on facts, not prejudices). I took the trouble to try to identify from your long rant just what it is that you don't like, in order to make such discussion easier(maybe I got that a bit wrong, but there was so much waffle it was difficult to find anything to actually discuss). And I provided a relevant fact; ie that we're far from alone in having licencing dependent on regular training - one aspect since confirmed by "zl2aj". To which your response appears to be another round of personal attack.

Someone recently suggested that a big part of competence in any field is knowing what you don't know. Apparently studies have found (paraphrasing) that the terminally thick don't recognise their own ignorance, but instead believe themselves to be fully competent - and are not capable of recognising that someone else may know more about / be better at something.

I'd suggest that IF most sparkies carried out the testing required by Section 8, many would find that they are not as good at doing the job as they think they are. Sadly evidence indicates strongly that testing is often neglected, and so most errors don't get found.

So I have no issue in principle with including an assessment of competence at testing into the "refresher" syllabus. If some fail, and so lose their licence, so much the better for the rest of us.


Jun 14 2017 18:11

Surely rather than failing some sparkles for failing a part of the testing course and loosing there license and job a better plan would be to promote testing courses where the testing could be re taught

Jun 14 2017 19:17

Wow, some novel-length comments on here.

- You can't teach old dogs new tricks.
- My way or the highway.
- Apprentices should be seen and not heard.

Jun 14 2017 21:17

Architects and Licensed Building Practitioners have to do continuing professional development. They get points for each training they attend.
Depending on the level they work at LBP have to accumulate between 12 & 18 points. This typically amounts to 1 hour per point.
The electrical trade gets off pretty lightly so far.

Jun 14 2017 21:49

daniel2 you missed one... something about soap boxes...