well, I have others


I was browsing in Blackwell’s Bookshop in Edinburgh earlier this week, with Keynes’ advice to readers in my head

A bookshop is not like a railway booking-office which one approaches knowing what one wants. One should enter it vaguely, almost in a dream, and allow what is there freely to attract and influence the eye. To walk the rounds of the bookshops, dipping in as curiosity dictates, should be an afternoon’s entertainment. Feel no shyness or compunction in taking it. Bookshops exist to provide it; and booksellers welcome it, knowing how it will end.

The title of ‘What Is This Thing Called Science?’ caught my attention: a timely question.

There is no mandatory science unit in the National Occupational Standards for electricians in Scotland (not sure about rUK). There are nine units in total and they cover the skills and practices needed to effectively design, install, and commission electrical installations to a commercially acceptable standard in line with current health & safety parameters.

Thankfully my employer, who is responsible for producing the vocational component of the SVQ, agrees with me (which is one way of putting it) that a knowledge of electrical science continues to be an essential component of an electrician’s professional identity.

Though the electrical science subject areas in the new SVQ will be much the same as they currently are ( a wee tweak here and there) they will become much more focussed on lab-based, practical activities from which mathematical principles can be derived and then applied in an electrical installation context. At present that isn’t really the case although there are good practices around the country.

So, I’ve got a few years ahead of learning ahead of me. And maybe first of all I need to have an idea of what I mean when I talk about science: and the booksellers know where that will end.



Keynes, J.M. from ‘On Reading Books’ quoted in Dry, S. (2014) The Newton Papers: The Strange & True Odyssey of Isaac Newton’s Manuscripts, Oxford University Press, Oxford, p.148

Electricity, photo taken by Hans Splinter, (14th November 2009), Flickr, https://flic.kr/p/7fPcNv, accessed 5th October 2014, CC-BY-ND 2.0


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vocational pedagogy in the electrical SVQ apprenticeship

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