Network Cable Installer Apprenticeship Standard

network cable installer apprenticeship standard

Network Cable Installer Apprenticeship Standard

The new network cable installer apprenticeship standard has been released and we thought it might be useful to make structured network companies aware of how it will change apprenticeship delivery in the industry.

Apprenticeship Standards

Standards are the new method of delivery for apprenticeships in England. They are designed by employer groups and set out the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours expected on someone working in the job role that the standard is for. The network cable installer standards are:

K1. Design specifications and documentation including floorplans, patch lists, bills of materials, rack face layout plans etc. Has an appreciation of literacy and numeracy skills required in order to select and quantify tools and equipment required for tasks, calculate timeframes for work activities and plan work schedules

K2. The principles associated with the transmission of digital information over copper cable networks and the impact poor-quality workmanship has on the communication link. Has a fundamental knowledge of Ohms Law and can recognise the changes in the electrical characteristics of copper cable caused through handling and installation irregularities

K3. The principles associated with the transmission of digital information over fibre cable networks and the impact poor-quality workmanship has on the communication link. Understands the principles of light propagation and has a fundamental knowledge of attenuation within the fibre channel. Recognises where losses can occur through poor handling and installation techniques

K4. The key components of a structured cabling infrastructure and the relationship between campus, building and floor distributors, with relevance to the cable installation plan. Understands the basic elements of IT network architecture, including the range of cable types and networking equipment including routers and switches

K5. The test parameters for copper and fibre cable certification in accordance with appropriate industry standards e.g. BSEN 50346 – Information Technology-Testing of Installed Cables, the routine for test equipment service and calibration

K6. Own responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, in particular the need to take care of their own health and safety in the workplace whilst also being responsible for those that might be affected by his/her actions

K7. The types of health and safety risk that could be incurred whilst carrying out cable installation tasks, who might be affected by the risk, and what actions can be taken to mitigate the risk

K8. The requirements to comply with National and International standards e.g. British Standards Institute BSEN 50173-Series, and the importance of following manufacturers’ best-practice guidelines

K9. The criteria against which the network components will be inspected and the consequence of failing to meet the required quality standards as described above

K10. The customer’s organisation, structure and the roles of personnel involved in the project, who they need to communicate with and for what reasons

K11. Asbestos Containing Materials (ACMs) and is conversant with the actions to be taken if ACMs are identified whist installation work is being carried out

K12. The status and scope of the Electricity at Work Act and how work carried out during network cable installation tasks are governed by supporting standards i.e. BS7671

K13. The legislative requirements under the Working at Height regulations, including personal competence and inspection regimes, with particular relevance to the need for PASMA training and certification

K14. The concept of the ‘internet of things’ and the effects of emerging technologies on media selection, installation practices and additional testing requirements

K15. The structural components of equipment racks/cabinets and how to assemble them to meet the requirements on the infrastructure design

K16. The requirement for the segregation of data cables from electrical cables in accordance with BSEN 50174. Can also identify media supporting other data services e.g. telephone, security, alarms and AV systems and the precautions to be taken to prevent interference or damage to the systems

K17. The need to maintain accurate documentation and the depth of information required for successful completion and handover to the customer

K18. The fundamental principles involved in the maintenance of cyber security, in particular workplace processes implemented by the organisation for the protection of data

K19. Workforce management systems and the workflow functionality

K20. The fundamental requirements of the New Roads and Streetworks Act and associated codes of practice.Knows when legislation applies and the levels of authorisation required to perform works

S1. Install copper cabling components for Local Area Networking (LAN). Carry out maintenance tasks on copper cable networks. Can identify, locate and repair common faults

S2. Install fibre optic cabling components for Local Area Networking (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) infrastructure. Can identify, locate and repair common faults

S3. Carry out testing on copper cabling in accordance with equipment manufacturer’s procedures, and compliant to industry standards, interpret results and rectify failures

S4. Carry out testing of fibre optic cabling using an optical loss test set (Tier 1), an optical time domain reflectometer (Tier 2) and fibre inspection tool in accordance with equipment manufacturer’s procedures, and compliant to industry standards

S5. Analyse copper and fibre test results and provides certification to the customer

S6. Prepare, constructs and installs telecommunications equipment cabinets, either pre-built or from flat-pack. Arrange and install fixtures and fittings appropriate for the intended use. Correctly selects network equipment components for installation into cabinets, differentiating between switches and routers

S7. Work at height in a safe manner and is competent in the use of Mobile Equipment Work Platforms (MEWPs) and can assemble, dismantle, use and inspect prefabricated low-level access towers

S8. Reduce the danger of working in confined spaces by implementing appropriate health and safety procedures, using and maintaining personal protective equipment

S9. Carry out network cable installation within the public highway to the standards required by the New Roads and Street Works Act 1991

S10. Analyse plans, make decisions about equipment types and quantity, and accurately predict timeframes

S11. Assess the requirements for cable containment by type and size to build a pathway suitable for routing data cables. Install containment systems in a safe manner, using the correct tools and methods for cutting, shaping and mounting tray, basket trunking and conduit

S12. Install end-point equipment i.e. CCTV camera, Wireless Access Point, Access Control etc using appropriate fixings and media

S13. Interpret the customer statement of requirements to determine the correct quality of components to be used in the cable network

S14. Use literacy and numeracy skills to quantify equipment requirements and timelines for tasks to be carried out

S15. Communicate effectively with key stakeholders in the customer’s organisation including the customer, the Construction Design and Management (CDM) co-ordinator, the project manager and the Information Technology (IT) security officer

S16. Work diligently to maintain cyber security by applying processes and procedures aimed at protecting data confidentiality

B1. Highly self-motivated and driven when carrying out work alone

B2. Assumes responsibility for the accuracy and quality of own work

B3. Team focused and makes an effective contribution

B4. Disciplined, applies effective time management and meets deadlines

B5. Applies initiative to overcome any obstacles encountered in the workplace.

B6. Anticipates security issues and demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding data integrity

B7. Focused and thorough, working to consistently high standards

What is different from the current data and fibre engineer apprenticeship?

The new standards based apprenticeship has some significant changes. There are now additional modules that need to be delivered. Engineers will still complete the City and Guilds Copper and Fibre training as well as PASMA and IPAF but there are new modules such as Street Works and Asbestos Awareness.

We like the new standard as it gives data and fibre engineers a full package of qualifications to do their job.

The other important addition is that engineers will need to complete a one day assessment to complete this apprenticeship. This will be a bit like the electrical AM2 test but for data and fibre installation.

Also, engineers without GCSE IT will no longer need to do the IT functional skill but will still need to complete Maths and English functional skills if they don’t hold GCSE grade C or above in those respective subjects.

How will this affect ECS Cards for Data and Fibre Engineers?

It won’t. In fact we think it will make it better. We are still going to deliver the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals as part of this programme which entitles engineers to apply for and ECS Gold Card.

When will we release this programme?

We are currently writing this new apprenticeship programme. As it is an apprenticeship it is inspected by OfSTED so we need to get it right for engineers and employers.


  • April 2019 – New Network Cable Installer Apprenticeship Standard Released
  • May 2019 – Programme design and curriculum planning
  • June 2019 – Complete new learning material
  • July 2019 – Feedback from employers
  • Sep 2019 – Programme released

If engineers are looking to do start and apprenticeship now then we can still offer the existing framework. Please speak to the team at VQ on 01423 740006

Structured Network Engineer Apprenticeship

There have been significant changes to apprenticeships and funding this year and we thought it would be useful to keep structured network businesses up to date.

Frameworks v Standards

The government has been working with employer groups to develop new apprenticeship standards to replace the apprenticeship frameworks. Apprenticeship standards are being designed to ensure that an employee has the skills, knowledge and behaviours to be successful in their chosen industry. Standards have been designed so that at the end of the programme the apprentice goes through a formal endpoint assessment which is conducted by an independent organisation. Frameworks, which are slowly being replaced by standards still require apprentices to complete formal diploma qualifications.

Funding Changes

From 1st May 2017, there have been two significant changes to funding. Employers who have a wage bill of over £3m now have to pay 0.5% of their wage bill into their Apprenticeship Levy account. This has to be used on apprenticeship programmes within that organisation. It can be used on new or existing members of staff as long as they are on a recognised apprenticeship programme.

For employers who do not come into the Apprenticeship Levy category (anyone with a wage bill of less than £3m), the government has introduced the co-investment system. This new funding system requires an employer to contribute 10% of the apprenticeship programme costs.

However, it’s not all bad news. Any employer taking on an apprentice who is under 19 will get a £1000 incentive from the government. Likewise, if the employer has less than 50 staff and they take on an under 19-year-old they do not have to pay the co-investment value – it is completely free.

How does this affect structured network employers?

There is still no new standard for data cable engineers although one is expected. Companies are still able to access our Advanced Level Structured Engineer programme.

This programme provides engineers with:

  • City & Guilds 3667-02 Fibre & Copper
  • Level 3 Diploma in ICT Professional Competence
  • IPAF
  • ECS Card – Advanced Datacomms Specialist

This is free for employers with less than 50 staff and the engineer is under 19. For all other engineers, it is £75 per month for 12 months.

Please speak to us if you would like more information on this programme.


CRO Cards Withdrawal

Data engineers should be aware that CRO cards are being withdrawn this year and they should make plans to attain the relevant vocational qualification.

CRO Withdrawal Timetable

  • CRO cards will cease to be issued from 31st March 2017
  • CRO cards will not be renewed after 31st March 2017
  • CRO cards issued since 31st March 2015 will expire on 30th September 2017

What do data cable engineers need to do?

The withdrawal of the CRO card will affect over 230,000 CRO card holders. Data cable engineer CRO card holders will be required to register for a vocational qualification and apply for a ECS Datacomms Specialist card.

ECS Advanced Datacomms Specialist

Data Cable Engineers need also to be reminded that CSCS are expected to cease administering cards for the structured network industry from 31 Jan 2017. Cards for data cable engineers will be issued by ECS.

If you would like more information about gaining the necessary vocational qualifications then please call us on 01423 740006

Advertising Data Cable Engineer Vacancies

Following a number of requests from structured network employers and data engineers, we have launched a new data cable jobs board. This is designed to display jobs that are purely for data cable engineers. If you have a job to advertise then please see information on how simple and cost effective this is to do on


Data Cable Jobs Website Launched

One item of feedback we constantly get from data cable employers and engineers is the limited amount of job sites that allow them to either post vacancies or apply for work. It seems that structured network engineering is often an afterthought on job sites.

Data Cable Jobs

To meet the recruitment requirements of data cable engineers we have launched a new website Data Cable Jobs. This is an easy to use, low cost job site dedicated exclusively to data cabling. Employers can post either full-time, part-time or contract jobs for copper, fibre and wireless opportunities. Subcontractors can also complete and store their details and use this to apply for multiple sub-contract opportunities.

Job Posting Costs

We have kept the cost of posting jobs low. Employers can post jobs for as little as £20 per job. This will allow them to post a job which will appear on the site for 30 days.

Benefits of advertising on Data Cable Jobs

Unlike other job sites, Data Cable Jobs is dedicated to the structured network industry. There are no side career options so your jobs posting will be easy to see and will be targeting the right audience. You can post jobs on free sites such as Indeed but these jobs are quickly hidden amongst a list of thousands of others and is quickly hard to find.

More information

If you would like more information about advertising on Data Cable Jobs then please email us on [email protected] or call on 01423 740006


CSCS Gold Card Changes for Data and Fibre Engineers

There has been a significant change for structured network engineers who require a gold card. CSCS have handed over the responsibility of CSCS scheme cards for structured network engineers to ECS. The great news is that ECS recognises the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals for the ECS Advanced Datacoms Specialist Gold Card.

CSCS Communications Installer (Infrastructure)

CSCS will continue to issue the gold card for engineers up to 31st Jan 2017. If you have the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals and have completed the CSCS Health & Safety test then you should apply for your gold card before the cut off date.

ECS Advanced Datacomms Specialist Gold Card

ECS are accepting applications for this card now. In order to be eligible data engineers need to have the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals and also need to complete the ECS Health and Safety Assessment.

Who should apply for the Datacomms Specialist Gold Card?

Skilled workers, capable of carrying out, in an autonomous and competent manner:

  • the installation and testing of structured cabling, including all necessary containment as well as any associated connection units; Installation and testing of earthing and bonding cables.

The ECS Datacomms Specialist gold card is for operatives that are qualified to level 3 in a recognised datacomms qualification (BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals) and are installing, commissioning and maintaining structured cabling systems for datacomms systems.

If you would like any further information on this please email [email protected] or call us on 01423 740006

fibre engineer qualifications

Data and Fibre Engineers Qualification Options

We have had a number of calls recently from data and fibre engineers looking for the right qualification to make them eligible for a CSCS card. Our initial response is which CSCS are they after? Blue or Gold? Inevitably the answer is the Gold CSCS card as this allows them on any site, unsupervised and we have also reported that many businesses will now only allow engineers on site only if they hold a CSCS Gold Card. We are then asked about qualifications.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals

There are a number of qualifications available to data and fibre engineers looking to get their CSCS card. We deliver the BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals. We deliver this qualification to data and fibre engineers for a number of reasons. The main reason is that this qualification is a competence based portfolio qualification. This means that engineers do not have to take time out of work to attend a course. The qualification is gained by engineers accessing our online portfolio and submitting evidence that demonstrates their competence and skills. Evidence is collected in the workplace and engineers also have a series of questions that they have to answer online. Another reason why we deliver this qualification is because it makes engineers eligible for the CSCS Gold Card (Communications Installer Infrastructure).

Other Qualifications

There are other qualifications that are offered by other training centres that may suit engineers. We do not offer the following qualifications but do want to make engineers aware of them as they may find that they prefer them.

City and Guilds Level 2 Award in Communications Cabling (3667-02)

This qualification will make engineers eligible for the CSCS Blue Card and requires engineers to attend classroom based sessions.

Course Documentation

There are two pathways that can be chosen; copper pathway and the fibre pathway. 65 hours are recommended for learning and the qualification is assessed through multiple choice questions and assignments that take place in the training centre.

City and Guilds Level 3 Certificate in Designing and Planning Communications Networks (3667-03)

This is a level 3 course that makes data and fibre engineers eligible for the CSCS Gold Card. It is a classroom based qualification.

This course has a recommendation of 285 hours of learning and is assessed through written tests and assignments conducted in a training centre

Course Documentation

Engineers will complete this qualification by completing the following:

  • Unit 301 Concepts of designing and planning a Communications Infrastructure – written test
  • Unit 302 Design and plan for an internal network cabling infrastructure – Assignment (Up to 12 hours allowed)
  • Unit 303 Design and plan for an external overhead network cabling infrastructure (NCI) – Assignment (Up to 12 hours allowed)
  • Unit 304 Design and plan for an external underground Network Cabling Infrastructure – Assignment (Up to 12 hours allowed)


If you would like any further information about qualifications for data and fibre engineers then please contact us.


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data fibre engineer cscs card

250 data and fibre engineers and counting

We are delighted to report that we have just passed a significant milestone….we have delivered level 3 qualifications to over 250 data and fibre engineers across the UK. This means that 250 data and fibre engineers have become eligible for a CSCS Gold Card (communications installer). There has been significant growth in the last 12 months as the changes to CSCS cards are starting to take affect. It is now more important than ever for data and fibre engineers to gain the right qualification in order to get the correct CSCS card.

Data and Fibre Engineer CSCS Card

Many data and fibre engineers have years of experience but do not have the necessary level 3 qualification that makes them eligible for a CSCS Gold Card. Having the right CSCS Card is important as it allows structured network engineers to attend any site unsupervised. It is also helps businesses to have their engineers “fully carded” as it means that they can confidently send engineers to any site. It also helps when bidding for work – who is a construction company more likely to use…the data cable company that has all engineers in possession of a CSCS Gold Card or the one that hasn’t?

What do data and fibre engineers need to do?

Our course is fully online which means engineers do not need to take time out of work. They access an online portal that we have designed specifically for data and fibre engineers. Engineers will access an electronic portfolio. This sets out the evidence that engineers need to collect in the work place, questions that need to be answered and a few short assignments. All of the questions are related to daily activities that engineers carry out. Evidence requirements are a mix of work place products such as method statements and risk assessments, fluke test reports and videos of engineers terminating copper, using a tester (most use Fluke testers) or if the engineer has chose the fibre course option, a video of them splicing fibre.

Data and Fibre Course Pathways

We offer two pathways to structured network engineers – the copper only pathway which is for engineers that only work with copper and the fibre pathway which is for engineers that work with both copper and fibre.

Who have we worked with?

Getting to the 250 data and fibre engineer mark has meant that we have worked with some fantastic companies and many self employed engineers. Below are just some of the businesses that have benefitted from having fully qualified engineers:

  • Structured Networks – Manchester
  • TIS Networks – Manchester
  • Integral Networks – Barnsley
  • Splice Group – Leeds
  • Thompson AVC – Wolverhampton
  • Wirral Installations – Birkenhead
  • Webpoint Solutions – Birkenhead
  • Paragon Data Services – Hull
  • DM Data – Stafford
  • DGL Networks – Stafford
  • Elegance Solutions – Halesowen
  • Blue Cable – Stafford
  • ISG Technologies – Manchester
  • ISG Technologies – Birmingham
  • ISG Technologies – Rochester
  • PE Comms – Dudley
  • Route 3 – Southport
  • Capita – Heathrow
  • Capita – Gatwick
  • AD Solutions – Manchester
  • Alexamber Networks – Widnes
  • Trinity Projects – Manchester
  • Nene Data & Electrical – Northampton
  • Fibrenet Office Solutions – York
  • PW Comms – Lymm
  • M A Birch Structured Cabling Ltd – Colchester
  • Pearce Comms – Rochester
  • CDK Global (UK) – Hungerford
  • Worm Purple Ltd – Castle Donnington
  • Stockturn Services Ltd – Sunbury on Thames
  • BAM Construction Ltd – Wellingborough
  • Netogo Ltd – Olney
  • DataSwift Ltd – Isle of Wight
  • DCE Datacoms – Altrincham
  • SDC Installations – Gibraltar
  • Corinthian Communications – Leeds
  • A2B Communications – Ormskirk
  • Belcom247 – London
  • Structured Cabling Services Ltd – Birmingham



fibre engineer cscs card

Fibre and Data Engineer Level 3 Course Portfolio

We have received numerous recent enquiries from data and fibre engineers looking to start a level 3 qualification needed to be eligible for a CSCS Gold Card about the nature of the portfolio that they have to build. We thought it might be useful to explain the portfolio in a bit more detail.

Data and Fibre Engineer Portfolio

The level 3 qualification for data and fibre engineers is an opportunity to demonstrate the competence and knowledge that they have in a formal qualification. The portfolio requires engineers to upload evidence collected in the workplace, complete a series of online questions and 4 short assignments.

Evidence from the workplace can be a mixture of method statements, risk assessments, videos and also previous qualifications. We have been asked if certificates from manufacturer courses count as evidence – they do. This is known as accreditation of prior learning. Method statements are a good way to demonstrate the jobs that data and fibre engineers have undertaken. The only important note is that engineers need to be named on the method statement as part of the project team.

Videos provide a super way to gather evidence. If an engineer is on a job with a colleague they can get them to use a smartphone to video record the job that is being done. Video evidence is particularly useful to demonstrate installation or testing work.

Level 3 NVQ for Data and Fibre Engineers

The course that we offer for engineers is the BTEC Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals. We know that data and fibre engineers look for NVQ qualifications but NVQs have now effectively been phased out and have been replaced by diploma qualifications. Engineers looking for a CSCS Gold Card (Communications Installer Infrastructure) will need to be in possession of a Level 3 Diploma. Some engineers have opted to do a Level 2 qualification but this will only make them eligible for a CSCS Blue Card. The problem with a blue card is that it will not guarantee access to all sites and on many sites the blue card holder will need to be supervised. On the other hand data and fibre engineers holding the CSCS gold card can access all sites and can work unsupervised.

Structured Cable Engineering Tenders

We have also spoken to a number of structured network cabling companies about the benefit of having all engineers in possession of a CSCS Gold Card. There are two major benefits. It affords companies to send any engineer to any site and work unsupervised. Additionally, having a fully carded workforce adds weight to any tender being submitted as it demonstrates the knowledge and skill level of the structured cabling companies engineers.

If you would like any further information about the Level 3 course for data and fibre engineers then please contact us and we will endeavour to answer your questions.


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Cable Engineer Jobs Search CSCS Gold Card Matters

The benefits of CSCS gold cards are clear……data and fibre engineers can access all sites unsupervised, companies have more success in tenders and engineers gain new qualifications to that demonstrate their skills and knowledge to their customers. There is another key benefit which helps data and fibre engineers when they searching for cable engineer jobs.

Cable Engineer Jobs

Anyone doing a search for data and fibre jobs will now see more and more companies expecting engineers to be in possession of a CSCS card. This is because construction sites and also businesses now expect any workers to have the right CSCS card. We deliver the Level 3 qualification because having the CSCS gold card has more benefits than a blue card. Not all sites will allow blue card holders to work unsupervised and some sites do not give access to anyone without a gold card so it is imperative that engineers work to the right level of qualification.

From a CV perspective will an employer be more likely to employ a fibre or data engineer with a level 3 qualification and a CSCS gold card over an engineer with just a blue card – we would argue that they would.

When searching for cable engineer jobs the positions that advertise the need for the CSCS gold card are also more likely to pay more. They clearly take the need for engineers to be correctly carded cable engineer jobsseriously and are more likely to offer greater opportunities to data and fibre engineers.

Take a look and some cable engineer jobs on sites such as Indeed, Monster or Engineer Board and engineers will see the need to hold a CSCS card.

Level 3 Data and Fibre Engineer Qualification

Engineers who hold a level 3 qualification are also more likely to be successful when they are job searching. An employer will always look at applicant qualifications and not just their experience. Our level 3 course has been designed so that experienced engineers can gain a qualification that demonstrates their skills and knowledge, can be done without taking time off work and most importantly is affordable.

For more information about the level 3 course for fibre and data engineers please visit our IT & Telecoms Professional Competence page.



fibre engineer cscs card

Data Cable Engineer CSCS Card – Which is the right card

We have had a lot of enquiries recently from fibre and data engineers about CSCS cards and which card is the right one for them. There have been a lot of changes to CSCS cards and also to the need to show them to get onto sites. Feedback from fibre and data engineers is that they are being asked more and more to show the right cards. Feedback from employers is that to win work they have to show that their engineers hold the appropriate card.

CSCS card changes for fibre and data engineers

CSCS are determined that all construction operatives hold a recognised qualification in their particular field of expertise. Engineers may have previously held a CRO (construction related occupation) card but these are being phased out by CSCS and will only be valid until 30th Sep 2017. The aim is that all construction operatives will instead have a CSCS card based on a qualification.

CSCS Gold Card

With a national recognised Level 3 qualification fibre and data engineers are able to apply for a CSCS Gold Card Communications Installer (Infrastructure). The benefit of the Gold Card is that it allows structured network engineers to attend any site – unsupervised. From a business perspective it is also really important. If a business is tendering for work, having all engineers in possession of CSCS Gold cards adds to your credibility and makes your business more attractive.

We offer the BTEC Diploma in Professional Competence for IT and Telecoms Professionals. This is the Level 3 qualification that engineers need to be eligible for the CSCS Gold Card Communications Installer. This is the perfect qualification for structured network engineers as it allows them to build a portfolio of evidence which demonstrates their skills and knowledge. Engineers do not need to take time out work. It is online and just required engineers to upload evidence of work collected in their day to day projects, i.e method statements, risk assessments and documented evidence. There are a series of questions that engineers will also have to answer.

We offer two pathways:

Fibre and Copper Pathway – this is for engineers who can collect evidence of using fibre and copper.

Copper Only Pathway – this is for engineers who only work with copper and cannot gather fibre evidence.

CSCS Card Finder

The CSCS website has a useful card finder tool that allows engineers to check for the card that they need. Engineers should search by occupation and then enter “communications”. This will bring up the Communications Installer (Infrastructure)

If you are interested in signing up to the course then please visit our sign up page


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