National Electrotechnical Training (NET) has introduced an innovative solution to an ongoing industry issue of electrical apprentices having to wait up to a year to take their AM2 test. NET has worked with GTEC Training to develop a mobile test centre, which can travel to the ‘hotspot’ areas in England and Wales where AM2 centres are struggling to meet high demand for the test and reduce backlogged waiting lists.

Based at Connaught Academy in Caerphilly since February 2009, the mobile test centre has tested just over 100 candidates, reducing waiting times for South Wales from 10-12 months to 2-3 weeks.

Stephen Plant, Business Development Manager for NET said:“Due to issues with funding and resources, candidates can become backlogged, and have to endure long waiting times, during which time they are stuck in limbo because despite having the knowledge and skills to qualify, they cannot complete their apprenticeships without having passed the AM2 test.”

Owned and operated by GTEC Training, the test centre is kitted out to strict industry standards, including installation and fault-finding cubicles, materials and tools, and even its own power generator, toilet and kitchen so if necessary it can be operated in isolated areas. Hi-tech equipment and design means that the test centre measures just 2.3metres wide whilst travelling the country, but once in situ uses powerful hydraulics to expand to a width of 4.6metres to replicate a college classroom. With pass rates above national average, the mobile unit has proved itself be as effective as permanent centres at processing candidates, but without the need for costly long-term investment.

Stephen Plant continues: “Whilst long waiting times are hugely frustrating for all involved, training providers need to be sure of consistent long-term demand before investing in permanent centres. By working closely with existing AM2 centres, we’ve been able to develop a flexible solution which provides candidates and training providers alike with the best of both worlds.”

With waiting times for the South Wales area successfully reduced, the mobile test centre will soon be travelling to another hotspot with long waiting times. The mobile AM2 centre can be booked by colleges, training providers or employers through GTEC Training, where it will work in consultation with local AM2 centres. For more details see www.gtectraining.co.uk, or call 01969 666 111.