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Posted By Topic: Needs to be qualified

Aug 20 2017 19:16

I have noticed the shortage within all trades lately, which I include qualified electricians.
I have come across a person lately who went through his apprenticeship about 20 years ago. However, he failed in the theory and regs at that time, because he didn’t complete the papers within the time allowed. He went through these examine papers prior several times with his employer, and was successful but took longer than required than the official exam.
I have had apprentices who passed the theory and regs with ease but were absolutely an embarrassment with their slow speed when working when with customers.
I do not know which is important or not? Speed when working, but slow when sitting exams, or the opposite. What is important. Qualified people who are very slow workers, or good fast workers who need supervision?
What I am asking does anyone have an idea to possibly help this person become qualified, and rejoin he industry he always want to be a member of but couldn’t because so a learning disability?
I believe the disability is Dyslexia.
Appreciate any suggestion to possibly assist this person.


Aug 20 2017 20:27

I think you will now find the EWRB makes special provisions who can't write it down quickly but are able to say the required answers, by the use of writers, in some cases by interview, to help such persons.

May I suggest that you inquire with the EWRB about these services, it may be of help in the case you describe to formally pass the examinations.

Aug 20 2017 20:40

Im Dyslexic. I will never ever use it as an excuse, However i do think the way you are thought makes a massive difference. Some teachers are capable of telling you an answer and some are capable of explaining how to get to that answer.

Aug 21 2017 01:53

I've never understood the heavy emphasis on speed in any exam. It certainly eliminates many a capable person.


Aug 21 2017 08:29

You are able to either apply for a extra hour or a person to help and they seem pretty generous with it these days

either talk to the ewrb or even someone at skills, they push people to always apply for the extra time, especially if you have failed before

Aug 22 2017 22:26

theres a massive amount of the apprentices who fail exams especially the regs, who when asked why they failed simply Ran out of time.... are the times kept short to proactively increase the fail rate???


Aug 23 2017 07:59

justsuppose Aug 22 2017 22:26

Your comment

theres a massive amount of the apprentices who fail exams especially the regs, who when asked why they failed simply Ran out of time.... are the times kept short to proactively increase the fail rate???

My comment

In an "open book exam" if you don't have a good working knowledge of the Regulations (and can quote the basic facts from memory) or you will use a lot of time looking for the required answers.

Must be able to use the contents page and index quickly to get the required information.

Quoting the key points is all that is required for most exam questions.


Aug 23 2017 08:03

My understanding of the regs exam is that it is intended to be a time based exam. ALl of the answers are there for you within the regs - you just need to find them. So the exam is not testing whether you know the answers or not, it is testing whether you know how (and where) to find them. That by its nature is a time based test.

I also ran out of time when I did my regs exam - but I passed because every answer I put down (almost) I knew was right because I had referenced it.

Re the shortage of tradies. Yes I agree this is a problem. My belief is that teachers in secondary schools who are themselves academically trained do not seem to recommend the trades as a worthy career choice, instead pushing kids into tertiary academia because "that's what they did". Trades need to market themselves as a worthy career option to kids directly. How many apprentices come from trade families? You can spend 3 years racking up a student debt to gain a degree in art history and a job flipping burgers, or spend 4 years earning an income learning a trade and never be unemployed again.

Just my thoughts :)

Aug 23 2017 09:02

Our trade is fundamentally technical. The "rules" are inescapable, so a good working knowledge of them is fundamental to being a tradesperson and holding a PL.
Knowing HOW to do something is only part of the required skillset. Knowing WHAT to do (or not do is far more important. There's a place for those who can't manage that - but it isn't any of the registration classes we currently have.

And since the rules - regulations, Codes of Practice, Standards, etc - are all written generally heavily text-based, and constantly changing; reading and comprehension are essential skills. If you can't find the applicable rule under the time pressure of an exam; chances are you won't be able to find it under the time pressure on the job.

Perhaps EWRB should have a category for "electrical assistant", with no authority to certify; and appropriate supervision guidelines - perhaps less severe than the current "person under supervision" and more like the "trainee" ones.

There's plenty of jobs - eg large sites - where you don't need to work anything out or apply rules, 'cos you just have to follow the plan, and someone else will be signing-off. It isn't mere labouring, specialist practical skills are required.

But "jobbing" work absolutely needs a fully-qualified tradesperson.

Aug 23 2017 10:47

Bullshit! All academic exams have the same time pressure. The open book argument doesn't change a thing.


Aug 23 2017 12:00

Yes all exams have time pressure, but open book exams can more clearly justify the reason for it since the information is all there and they are essentially testing your ability to find it in a timely manner.
Things like Air Traffic Controller testing are also easy to justify because they are interested in your intuitive decision-making under pressure.
For more general exams, time limits are used as a proxy for measuring depth of understanding (if you're familiar with the subject matter you should be able to answer faster), but they struggle to accurately distinguish whether you are slow due to lack of understanding vs slow due to having a slow handwriting speed.

Aug 23 2017 15:37

I believe the plan is to remove most of the workload of ATCs due to the demands for speed and the number of resulting mistakes.

A lot of money is being spent on automating the aircraft landing process.

As for the trades, I know the trend is to deliberately slow the job down to increase safety. I suspect compliance costs are more than 50% of the price tag already.


Aug 23 2017 17:32

That will depend on how "compliance cost" is defined. Clearly filling in a CoC is a compliance cost. but is having work inspected a compliance cost or just something that should be done anyway? Is using the appropriate size of standards-compliant cable instead of and undersized non-compliant cable a compliance cost? Or just doing the job right? Is testing a compliance cost or just a natural part of the job? health & safety requirements?
Depending on viewpoint, just about anything can be seen as a "compliance cost". Including holding a PL.

Aug 23 2017 17:46

Everything "should be done", in hindsight.

I'm not making any argument against H&S. Just pointing out how, in reality, speed takes second fiddle to doing the job right. Andrew seemed to be implying, using Air Traffic Controllers as the example, that speed is important to test for.


Aug 24 2017 11:17

Sorry I didn't mean to suggest that fast is more important than safe, but there are times when you need to make the right decision quickly. I agree that as a rule a slow right decision beats a fast wrong decision, but there are cases when a slow decision automatically becomes wrong because events have moved on.

Having said that, in the electrical industry it seems unlikely that a split-second decision about the regs will ever need to be made for safety reasons, so it's only commercial pressure that demands you're quick to come to an answer. This means the regs exam doesn't need as much time pressure as ATC testing, but the board is justified in applying some pressure so that when you're out in the workforce the commercial pressure doesn't cause you to ignore the regs or not bother looking up what you don't know because it will take too long.

Aug 24 2017 16:02

My opinion is all exams have far too much time pressure, right across the board.


Aug 25 2017 12:43

I agree with Pluto's comments.

With regard to the regs exam it is open book. Some people at my work have sit it countless times and have failed it. Why? Because they haven't read or studied the parts of the standards, regs etc. You don't need to memorise facts like in a normal exam; rather where the facts are in the books.

The theory exam, however, is different and requires more study, practice on formulas, memory and time.

Aug 25 2017 13:46

Giving them more time won't make them magically pass, those ones will still fail even with all day.


Aug 25 2017 21:27

I'm not sure where you are coming from Evanh.
Should we just make the exams so easy anyone can pass.
If they can't pass a electrical theory or regs exam given all day I'm not sure they should be working with electricity.

Aug 25 2017 23:33

Sarmajor... I'm not sure where you are coming from Evanh.
Should we just make the exams so easy anyone can pass.
If they can't pass a electrical theory or regs exam given all day I'm not sure they should be working with electricity."

I believe that is exactly the point Evanh is making..... ... ... "

Aug 26 2017 01:14

Just my 2c worth but I believe they put too much emphasis on writing in the regs exam.
I did my exams back in 2014. I studied my butt off & did plenty of practice exams but always struggled to finish regs. Not because I couldn’t find the answer but because I print and wasn’t able to write fast enough. I passed and was reasonable happy but thought my result was more a reflection of my writing speed as opposed to my knowledge and ability to navigate the regs, act & wiring rules.
Conversely theory was a walk in the park timewise & I was one of the last to leave in my room at just over 2 hours in.


Aug 26 2017 09:40

The Chief Examiners report on EWRB exams has shown for many years that the degree of completion of the Regulations exam has consistently reported a high % have been able to complete all questions in the time available.

As to the pass rate of the regulations exam, it varies widely for no apparent reasons, the questions asked have shown a high degree of the same style of questions over an extended period, so what candidates need to know by rote is a limited subset of all the legislation used; Regs, Standards, and Codes of Practice.

Aug 26 2017 16:45

I guess I am in the small percentage that cannot finish in time. I always knew I was special :)

Aug 26 2017 23:09

My experience with exams is very few leave early. I'd put that down to a high percentage running out of time.