Moving Vital Work Assessments Online During COVID-19.

After COVID-19 forced employer relations organisation JIB to move their assessments online, they needed a solution that would allow the UK’s electricians to take vital accreditation exams during the pandemic. Here’s how JIB digitised their assessments with Comprobo – which in turn allowed electricians to keep Britain’s lights on during the pandemic.

Joint Industry Board Logo

Who are JIB?

The Joint Industry Board (JIB) is a joint alliance between employers and employees. It exists to protect, promote and support good industrial relations. It acts as a mediator between the employers and the employees to prevent industrial disputes from happening. One of the schemes that JIB runs is called the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS). It’s a way of accrediting electricians skills and knowledge across the UK. Around 50% of registered electricians in the UK are ECS cardholders – which equates to 175,000 workers. The ECS card is vital for electricians, because they often require it to enter work sites and help them promote their skills and knowledge. But in order to obtain the card, electricians must first pass an assessment administered by JIB.

What solution were JIB looking for?

Previously, JIB’s worker assessments took place at their head office in Kent and other nominated sites across the UK. However, after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, JIB were one of many businesses across the country that suddenly had to adapt to the new normal.

We found ourselves – like many other businesses – worrying how we’re going to sustain and support our customer, who during lockdown were unable to travel to sites across the UK,” says Jay Parmar, who is the Chief Executive of JIB. “And so we needed to act swiftly by looking at alternative practical solutions. What can we do rather than physical face-to-face assessments?”

Jay and his team soon decided that, like many other businesses, the circumstances dictated a switch to online assessments. And that was a worry for them – both because of some hesitancy towards new technology, and also because of fears of abuse and potentially fraudulent activity.

There is a fraud in the industry,” he explains. “There is also a criminal fraternity out there that will happily look for exploit opportunities to carry out fraudulent activity. So we were very mindful about our brand. We needed a high level of assurance that the technology we brought in was foolproof – because there would’ve been reputational damage for us if we got this wrong.”

But the importance of a working solution went beyond reputational damage for JIB. It was also vital for the entire country that electricians were able to keep working during the pandemic and easy to use.

We all needed to keep our lights on. Construction still had to continue. People had to get to work. And so this is how we realised we’ve got to find a solution that helps deliver that.”

How Comprobo helped keep Britain’s lights on during COVID-19.

So what were JIB looking for from their online assessment software? Well, above all they were looking for a safe, secure and reliable solution that could be easily integrated within their existing infrastructure. Their search would lead them to Comprobo’s (virtual) door. And the first step of the partnership was the implementation process. Comprobo’s tech team worked closely with JIB to make sure it went as smoothly as possible.

We needed to find the right partner, but also the right solution that can help us implement it, develop it and collaborate with us to get us up and running,” Jay says. “And I thought Comprobo were extremely accommodating, flexible, and actually went beyond the call of duty on some fronts. They really did give us a push to get us up and running.”

Once it was up and running, Jay was impressed by Comprobo’s AI-powered online exam invigilation.

If you’re looking down in one particular part of the corner of the room, if you’ve got notes, it’ll pick that up. I think people have learned that you can’t try to cheat Comprobo. Sadly some people have tried it on and it’s so obvious that they’re trying to cheat. When they fail, we show them the screenshots of them looking down. It’s mind-blowing.”

Any pain points for JIB’s members rapidly disappeared after the introduction of Comprobo. It made online assessments easier and quicker for both JIB and their members.

It’s saving people time, money and resources. Those three things are a valuable commodity to any employer out there,” Jay adds.

The results: 50% uptake among JIB members and a brighter future.

JIB initially had some misgivings about using a new piece of technology. Their members rely on these assessments to be able to go to work, and any technical failings wouldn’t only reflect badly on JIB – it would affect their members’ ability to make a living. But Comprobo proved to be an instant success among JIB members.

It now covers over 50% of all the assessments we undertake, and that’s within 12 months,” Jay says. “So for me, that shows that it’s been very well received in the marketplace. It is safe, secure, convenient and easy to use.”

And that’s not all. JIB are also seeing an upturn in ECS card renewals, which Jay puts down to Comprobo. It’s now much easier for electricians to take their accreditation exam, and they get instant results. Looking back, Jay couldn’t be happier with Comprobo’s impact. It has helped to accelerate the organisation’s move into the digital age – and kept his board members happy in the process.

I remember introducing this proposal,” Jay recalls. “And there were a lot of doomsters out there saying: ‘This will never work.’ But actually, the technology has helped propel some of their concerns, which is fantastic.” “Now there are such high levels of assurance that people are instinctively not even asking any questions about it.”