The A2 works towards an NVQ level 2, the A1 towards a level 3 NVQ, there lies the rub because NVQs are work based training, anything you do on the course cannot count towards the experience you need.
Not bad considering we piloted NVQs to get them running and as soon as they took off the feckers moved the goalposts....
But have to agree with you on whats useful in civvy strasse .... sparks & plumbers have licences to print money! Like you say, people don't mind sawing timber and laying bricks ... but anything services related (water, gas & sparks) you don't fcuk around with!
They are not trades but qualifications. I would say get a trade and then get quals ... you could be out on your ear anytime for a number of reasons (medical, discipline). Going to an employer and saying 'I'm commando/para trained' doesn't usually get much response. Diver and EOD are good quals to have in civvy street but only [usually] if you have managed to get to a senior level. Always have a trade to fall back on and if you can, and yes I know it's mind numbingly boring, get H&S construction quals ... another money printing scheme in civvy street!
I was originally trained as a welder (I think I still hold the title of worst welder in the Corps ... ever), concentrated on Combat Engineering and then EOD. The latter has provided me with a reasonable income since getting out in 2000 ... and a considerable amount of time in hospital!!!
Okay, there are lots of electricians signing off and there are spaces to fill but surely we also need to fill the other trades as well, plumber, brickie, etc. Otherwise we'll end up with loads of lights and cables but no building to put them in. And there is no way all school leavers are clever enough to pass the maths side of things. Maybe in a few years time there will be loads of failed electricians ending up as POMs or welders.