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Thursday, 11 September 2014

Who to hire? Certificate III Instrumentation graduate OR Certificate IV Electrical – Instrumentation graduate

As the lead institute in Electrical and Process Control and Instrumentation TAFE Queensland SkillsTech often fields industry calls seeking clarity around the confusion surrounding Instrumentation Qualifications.  Training managers and HR enquiries are probing if candidates who hold a Certificate IV in Electrical Instrumentation should be employed before a candidate holding a Certificate III Instrumentation and Control – well no.

To fully understand this difference between these two qualifications one should realise that the UEE31211 Certificate III is the full tradesperson qualification including associated licensed outcomes while UEE40411 is a post trade certificate IV qualification in electrical.

In Australia there are two training packages that have been used for Instrumentation and Control and Electrotechnology.  The first is the Engineering training package or MEM40105 (Certificate IV), and the other is the Electrotechnology training package or UEE31211 (Certificate III).  Both are trade qualifications and are 5 year apprenticeships (for UEE31211 TP00423 in SA it is a 48 month apprenticeship also gives a restricted electrical licence outcome).  On completion a full electrical license is issued. The reason for the mixture of Certificate III and Certificate IV is purely historical.  This approach was something that occurred back in the late 90's, and then one training package aligned itself with the UEE Certificate III and the other continued with the MEM Certificate IV – presenting confusion in the employment and recruitment ranks.

Geographically, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and New South Wales are using the Electrotechnology training package Certificate III UEE31211.  While Western Australia retained the Engineering training package (MEM40105). I should stress that this can be purely an employee’s choice as to which one they use – however from 2015 the MEM approach will not result in the electrical license outcome.

The end-result is there are the two qualifications that allow a person to be recognised as an Instrumentation and Control tradesperson, UEE31211 and MEM40105. For a person who holds the MEM40105 wishing to attain the UEE31211 this transfer can only been achieved via a RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) process by an accredited Register Training Organisation (RTO). The reason for this is because MEM40105 may not cover all instrument units due the variations across the states.

To add more confusion

This had led to industry confusion with employers who wish to maintain a national footprint.  A new qualification called Certificate IV in Electrical - Instrumentation UEE40411 from the UEE training package has been in use since 2009. The Certificate IV Electrical - Instrumentation UEE40411 is a post trade qualification and was designed to give electrical people a ‘base’ knowledge in Instrumentation.  To enrol in the course you must already hold an electrical mechanics Licence.  Although popular UEE40411 does not fully satisfy the second stage of the instrumentation apprenticeship as there are three subjects missing which make up the stage 2 of UEE31211.  Athough UEE 40411 is often considered a higher qualification it is not an instrumentation TRADE Qualification it is a post trade electrical qualification.  Only seven competencies from the UEE31211 qualification (and when mapped to MEM40105) are offered in the UEE40411 post trade course.  The seven subjects offered in UEE40411 by most RTO’s are

•UEENEEI101A Use instrumentation drawings, specification, standards and equipment manuals
•UEENEEI102A Solve problems in pressure measurement components and systems
•UEENEEI103A Solve problems in density/level measurement components and systems
•UEENEEI104A Solve problems in flow measurement components and systems
•UEENEEI105A Solve problems in temperature measurement components and systems
•UEENEEI150A Develop, enter and verify discrete control programs for programmable controllers
•UEENEEI151A Develop, enter and verify word and analogue control programs for programmable logic controllers (not in trade).

Of course there are other requirements but these are the instrumentation competencies that align to the trade qualifications certificate III UEE31211 and mapped to the certificate IV MEM40105.

Unfortunately these subjects do not satisfy the actual stage 2 of the trade qualification.  Missing from the UEE40411 are

•UEENEEI111A Find and rectify faults in process final control elements
•UEENEEI107A Install instrumentation and control cabling and tubing,
•UEENEEI108A Install instrumentation and control apparatus and associated equipment

Although they can be found in the electives, when the rules of the package are followed a problem arises with the points required to obtain the qualification.

The Solution
SkillsTech Australia offers these subjects in the stage 2 Block to overcome this issue.  To be recognised as an Instrumentation and Control Tradesperson a person needs to complete 920 core points and 140 elective points. The lead institute in Instrumentation and Control in Queensland offers the following program.

Stage 1 of the instrumentation and control apprenticeship are electrical/ohs and environmental subjects
Stage 2 involves all of the subjects listed above.
Stage 3 involves

•UEENEEI106A  Set up and adjust PID control loops
•UEENEEI110A  Set up and adjust advanced PID process control loops
•UEENEEI112A  Verify compliance and functionality of instrumentation and control installations
•UEENEEI113A Setup and configure human-machine interface (HMI) and industrial networks
•UEENEEC024B  Participate in instrumentation and control work and competency development activities

Plus four electives
•UEENEEI118A  Set up weighting measuring and control instruments
•UEENEEI131A  Set up gas analysis measuring and control instruments
•UEENEEI132A Set up water analysis measuring and control instruments
•UEENEEI133A  Set up scientific analysis measuring and control instruments

Ok, so to put it simply
UEE31211 and MEM40105 are trade qualifications for instrumentation and control
UEE40411 is a post trade electrical qualification and does not satisfy a trade outcome nor the stage 2 of the trade competencies found in the core.

Mal Garrick has been involved with instrumentation since 1979. We have attached a link to you tube which highlights instrumentation.  I ask that you look at the equipment used to ensure that people do know how to work in the instrumentation field.


RTO No. 0275 | CRICOS No. 03020E