Here in Western Australia the majority of electrical work (unless exempted by regulations) must be performed by a licensed electrician. They will have performed an apprenticeship, studied and worked on the job for four years. To gain the license they must then meet competency standards ,which are laid down by the Electrical Licensing Board. In addition EnergySafety and the Electrical Licensing Board have developed 66 Essential Performance Capabilities.
Typically licensed electricians cannot perform work for the general public (either paid or unpaid) unless they are employed by an electrical contractor. Just because a person holds an electrician’s license does not mean they can come and do your electrical work. There are severe penalties in place for electricians that do this.
An electrical contractor is also a licensed electrician, however, this person undergoes additional training to gain a contractors license (also known as an Electrical Contractors or EC license). They must hold the correct insurances and these insurances protect the employees and home owners/business owners from insurance liabilities.
All Electrical Contractors are required to display their EC number (their license number) on all forms of their advertising, eg on business cards, websites and vehicles.
For your safety and the safety of others, always ensure that an electrical contractor either performs your work or that the licensed electrician is employed by a licensed Electrical Contractor.
Find out if the electrical contractor you are using has the necessary qualifications by visiting the EnergySafety website at http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/energySafety and follow the link to the Licensing Information System.