A man with a virtual reality headset writing on a board

Enhanced face-to-face electrical accreditation training: customise trainees’ courses according to their needs

Top NewsExpert opinion12/09/2020

Thanks to immersive technologies such as virtual reality, trainees can practice and handle rare or dangerous equipment without taking the slightest risk.  Games, serious games, 360 tours, virtual reality, etc. are the tools integrated into the training programmes to allow them to be truly immersed, in a very realistic way and tailored to their needs.


3 questions for Jean-Marie Delplace, Project Manager in the Pedagogical Engineering and Innovations Department at Apave

Jean-Marie Delplace has been a vocational training specialist since 1991 and himself a trainer of trainers. For more than 12 years, Jean-Marie Delplace has been responsible at Apave for defining and developing training products and integrating digital training tools to enhance “face-to-face” training. 

A review of electrical accreditation

with Jean-Marie Delplace

Electrical accreditation training accounts for nearly one third of Apave's training activity. That is huge. How do you explain such a success?

Yes, of the 350,000 trainees trained each year by Apave, 90,000 people are trained in electrical accreditation.  This puts it in first place in the TOP 10 of our training programmes. Several factors explain this success. First of all, there is a historical dimension: our first training course leading to electrical accreditation is almost 50 years old. We were among the first to provide this training and we have a very strong historical legitimacy on the subject. We have adapted over the years to deliver quality training with Apave trainers who are also practitioners. And word of mouth has done its job. 

Also, electrical accreditation is necessary for any employee, regardless of their job who is required to work on or near electrical installations. Note that although these training courses aim to prevent electrical risks for professional activities where this risk is present, they also comply with the safety requirements of the NF C18-510 standard, recommended by the French Labour Code. All organisations are concerned.

The other important point is our resources in this area. Today, we have 500 dedicated trainers in our 170 centres. This it is absolutely unique and we can train throughout France, covering all accreditation levels. This may range from training for employees of a cleaning company, for example, who are going to work near an electrical installation, to the most complex training courses for high voltage accreditations and accreditations to carry out live work.
Finally, let us recall a demographic point that is significant. The population of France has grown from 52 million people in 1970 to nearly 67 million today. There are naturally more companies, more electrical installations and therefore more professionals concerned. 

Concretely, what is the electrical risk in France today?

Our regulations are solid and they are gradually evolving towards increasingly stringent requirements, in particular to reduce the number of accidents. That is a good thing. Today, there are relatively few accidents in the workplace of electrical origin - 0.1% of all accidents at work.
However, in absolute terms, there were 660 accidents between 2014 and 2018 and overall they were more serious than the average since 0.43% of accidents of electrical origin are fatal, compared to 0.8% for all other accidents at work. The potential hazard is therefore significant and the importance of controlling these risks remains very high.

More generally, for organisations, the electrical risk must be understood in general way. The prevention of electrical risks relies both on making installations and electrical equipment safe and on complying with the safety rules when they are used or when working on or near electrical installations. So, of course, compliance by companies with electrical inspections and the completion of mandatory accreditation training are two fundamental pillars, but it is also important to develop a safety culture among all employees to create a preventive approach. And then pay attention to what may appear to be details. For example, if only one employee receives electrical accreditation training, who in an organisation can carry out a simple repair when they are absent? Did you know, for example, that without accreditation, an employee is not permitted to change a light bulb? There are good reasons for this. This may seem trivial, but it is not and ensuring that two people working on the same site are trained is a positive measure. Fortunately, a safety culture is increasingly strong in companies, especially in the industrial sector where we have many customers.


Do you currently offer enhanced face-to-face electrical accreditation training?

The aim is to use new technologies to enhance the pedagogical objectives, in the interest of our trainees and customer companies. It is an approach that has been given a lot of thought and which has resulted in us reviewing our entire teaching approach, moving away from a logic of simply passing on knowledge to a twofold logic of acquiring knowledge and learning through experience, through doing. “Learning by doing” our English-speaking colleagues say. Recent work in neuroscience shows that people learn much better by doing. We have therefore applied this thinking to the various training activities but also to the diversification of tools to be able to adapt to each type of learner. The training offered to an electrician who is going to work on high voltage and the employee of a cleaning company cannot be the same. The training objectives are not the same and the issues are different. The tools that we have integrated into our training, whether these are games, a 360 tour or virtual reality, allow us to truly customise the trainees’ courses to enhance specific pedagogical objectives.

While the link between the trainer and the learner associated with face-to-face teaching remains essential, immersive technologies such as virtual reality are a valuable asset for certain training courses. With virtual reality, we faithfully reproduce electrical installations that work in a very realistic way. The trainees can handle them, we can control the difficulty of the operations, record each sequence and measure progress in a very detailed way. Immersive technologies also make it possible to train on rare or dangerous equipment without, of course, taking the slightest real risk. Through the interplay of the emotions induced by these simulations and by the repetition of the occupational techniques, learning is anchored much more deeply. Our trainers are present and can focus on the most noble aspects of their jobs by supporting each trainee with their learning. Today, through the positive feedback we receive, I can say that our enhanced face-to-face training is even more effective than previously. It meets the expectations of the trainees as well as human resources departments and companies in general who are looking for efficiency.

Find out more:

+ Discover our digital Electricity offering

+ News:Electric accreditation boosted by virtual reality

+ Training your employees about the electrical risk throughout France: your challenges, your obligations, available training (price, catalogue, etc.)

On the same