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Bridging the knowledge gap: new professional training for UK wholesalers

Updated: Dec 14, 2019

Article by EDA


Customer service, expert advice and product support are key value-added services for the wholesalers. But how can businesses keep their customer-facing teams fully trained in such a fast-moving sector? In the UK the Electrical Distributors' Association (EDA) has tackled this dilemma head-on with the development and launch of a major distance-learning training initiative.

The EDA Product Knowledge Programme delivers training in the major product areas traded through the electro-technical supply chain, plus those sector essentials Customer Services and Introduction to the Principles of Electricity. A mix and match model allows business leaders to choose only those titles their team members and businesses need:

  1. Introduction to the Principles of Electricity

  2. Lighting Introduction

  3. Lighting Systems and Controls

  4. Cables and Cable Management

  5. Wiring Devices and Controls

  6. Distribution, Switchgear and Protection

  7. Fire, Safety and Security Systems

  8. Heating & Ventilation

  9. Renewables

  10. IT and Data Infrastructure

  11. Industrial Controls

  12. Customer Services


How it works


Each module is in two parts: a high-quality hard-copy Textbook and an electronically fillable End of Module Assessment. The training is through distance-learning, with 10 weeks to complete each module and the Assessment, which is marked by a panel of assessors.


Successful “students” get a Pass, Credit or Distinction, and a personal certificate showing its City & Guilds Accredited Programme status.


Distilling decades of expertise


Here EDA CEO, Margaret Fitzsimons, explains the thinking behind the initiative:

"EDA Board made a strategic decision in 2016 to invest in the creation of a comprehensive training programme that could be delivered with ease to members. It had to be rigorous, robust and recognised as well as engaging, accessible, affordable and pitched at right level. We harnessed the product knowledge of our manufacturer affiliates, creating Working Groups - one for each product area - whose job it was to lead the development of the training modules. Chaired by a senior wholesaler, these volunteer groups pooled their knowledge for the good of the sector, working with an expert author. We worked out that these training modules represent decades of product expertise distilled into training that’s now readily available. In 2017, work started on the design and creation of the EDA Product Knowledge Programme and 18 months' later, in July 2018, the first modules in this distance-learning programme rolled off the press. By April 2019, all 12 modules were complete and available. To date over 1,300 have been sold to EDA wholesaler members and manufacturer affiliates. The EDA has retained the Intellectual Property for the Programme, but we have been approached by two other trade associations. Impressed by the quality of the training, they have asked for some modules to be re-branded for their use."


For more on this EDA initiative visit www.eda.org.uk/training-apprenticehips.