Online electrical wholesaler TradeSparky looks at some of the different sources of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) available within the Electrical Industry.
Unlike other professions, such as medical and legal, registration and continuing professional development (CPD) isn’t compulsory within the electrical industry. However, continuing to expand your knowledge and experience beyond your initial training and certification has many benefits.
Not only will CPD keep you up-to-date with updates to industry regulations and the latest innovative products within the industry, but it will also provide you with opportunities to improve efficiency within your business and stay at the cutting edge within the marketplace, both of which will give you an advantage over the competition.
Understandably, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to invest time into studying on top of a full-time job, but even just ring-fencing a couple of hours a month for self-improvement can have a massive impact on the knowledge you accumulate. Also, as there is such a wide range of online and offline CPD activities now available, further education no longer needs to feel like such a chore. To start a continuing professional development plan, TradeSparky has researched some of the most accessible resources available.
Seminars, Conferences and Exhibitions
Although it is time-consuming visiting seminars, conferences and exhibitions, and may require time off work to attend, they can also be extremely rewarding. This is because they give you the opportunity to immerse yourself within the electrical industry and make yourself feel part of something bigger, especially if you usually work on your own on a day to day basis. They also have the added benefit of allowing you to attend seminars, experience the latest innovative products firsthand and network with other industry professionals all in one place.
Some of the best conferences within the electrical industry coming up in the latter half of 2019 include:
- Elex Show (Coventry and Surrey) – the UK’s dedicated tradeshow for electrical contractors
- 2019 Arc Flash Conference (Manchester) – A deep dive into the NEW 2018 Edition of IEEE 1584 with Jim Phillips
- Health and Safety (North and Scotland) – Education, networking and business support designed to help organisations maintain the very highest standards of health & safety.
There are several industry-specific publications which provide the latest news regarding the electrical industry, best practice, product development and regulation updates. Many (like SPARKS!) have free online content. They can also keep you informed with regards to other sources of CPD highlighted within this article, and there are also additional resources available on their websites such as white papers, downloadable pocket guides and case studies.
Most of the industry publications have a regular online blog, but there also blogs available from other UK companies associated with the electrical industries and from individual electricians.
Examples of these include the Electrician’s Blog, the Boyter Electrical Services blog and our very own TradeSparky blog. To ensure that you don’t miss out on any new information it is usually possible to sign up for notifications or be alerted to new blogs through social media channels, such as Twitter and Facebook.
YouTube has exploded in popularity over the last decade or so, and is now the number one place to go to online if you want to teach yourself to do anything from wiring a plug to building a rocket.
There are also plenty of channels on the platform dedicated to electricians too. Channels have been created by organisations and individuals alike, from tool manufacturers to help them demonstrate their products, right through to individual electricians documenting what they get up to on a typical day.
- Thomas Nagy, Electrical Contractor – Tom has been posting videos for two years about his life as a sparky working in London and has amassed more than 64,000 subscribers. His videos are in real-life situations and include topics such as installing a fuse board to dealing with non-payers (may contain swear words!).
- GSH Electrical – This channel aims to help learners training on Level 1, 2 and 3 City and Guilds (C and G) and EAL electrical courses. It has hundreds of videos, and currently has more than 21,000 subscribers.
Webinars are a great way to keep up-to-date because they are extremely flexible, as they can be viewed in your own time at home or on the go via a smartphone or tablet. Also, in a lot of cases they are sponsored and therefore free!
Usually, sign-up involves registering your name and email address and then an email with a link will be sent, to click on when the webinar is scheduled to start. The webinar can be viewed live with the opportunity to ask the presenter questions or a recording can be viewed at a later date. A recent example is a series of free PAT testing webinars from Seaward which can still be viewed here.
TradeSparky is a UK online electrical wholesaler who specialise in providing a comprehensive collection of high quality, branded products from the world’s leading manufacturers to contractors, electricians, tradesmen and DIY consumers.
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