How To Become An Electrician in the UK
Do you have what it takes to become an electrician? You can use my ebook guide to discover all the tips and resources you’ll need to kick start your electrical career today!
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Thinking Of Being An Electrician?
There is currently a trade skills shortage in the UK and a career as an electrician can offer a wealth of opportunity for men and women who are looking for a challenging and rewarding job. The most important thing about taking steps to becoming an electrician is that you will need to be very determined to achieve your goals. You must be prepared to put in the time and effort needed to succeed.
With the right training and an electrician’s qualifications you would be able to enter the electrical industry as an employee or even start up your own business.
Most newly qualified electricians begin by thinking they will work for someone else but many soon realize that they have the potential to earn more by being their own boss and becoming self employed. This could involve sub-contracting your labour to other electrical contractors or serving your own clients and customers by running your own business.
Main Requirements To Be An Electrician
The basic requirements to become an electrician are that you are fit and healthy, are not colour blind, are a good communicator and are keen to learn and adapt to new technological developments. If you are considering training to be an electrician it would certainly be an advantage if you have an aptitude for embracing new technologies and solving problems. As you would probably think, Health and Safety forms a large part of an electrician’s course and anyone training to become an electrician will need to learn about electrical safety and good working practices.
Now is a great time to be a fully qualified electrician!
Electricity is such a vital part of our modern world that the demand for skilled electricians is on the rise. The growth of infrastructure and greener energies make today’s electrical industry a very interesting and challenging area to work in. If you’re a practical person with an enthusiasm for solving problems and embracing new technologies then becoming an electrician could be right for you.
The Steps To Your Success
I’ve been an electrician for many years and have employed several apprentices, so I know how confusing and frustrating it can be when you first start trying to find out about the qualifications and developing your knowledge, not to mention selecting a training course and finding a job. You can use my ebook “How To Become An Electrician” in conjunction with the ElectriciansBlog.co.uk website to access the information you’ll need to get started.
The first step to you succeeding in becoming an electrician will be to decide on the type of electrician you want to be, and then to study and develop your skills to become fully qualified. Once you have your basic qualifications you will be in a good position to decide what direction your electrical career with.
Which Talents Or Skills Do I Need To Begin Electrical Training ?
An electrician’s training involves understanding electrical principles and using mathematical formulas as well as studying the wiring regulations and learning practical skills.
Health and Safety forms a large part of an electrician’s course and anyone training to become an electrician will need to learn about electrical safety and good working practices.
If you are considering becoming an electrician it would certainly be an advantage if you have an aptitude for embracing new technologies, solving problems and also be up for a challenge.
A student would need to reach a reasonable standard of education to be able to benefit from a full electricians’ course. Maths and science are key study subjects for potential electricians and basic mathematical skills will be needed for calculations and to be able to understand certain aspects of electrical design.
You’ll need to be able to perform some quite involved electrical calculations for exams and to prove your knowledge, but if maths isn’t one of your strong points I can reassure you that electricians rarely use complicated formulae in their day to day work. This said, Ohm’s Law and simple power calculations are often used by electricians as they form the basis for understanding circuits and electrical loading requirements.
Which Qualifications Do I Need To Begin Training?
When you’re applying for training courses, most colleges will ask you for your previous qualifications and you may also need you to take an assessment exam. As I’ve already mentioned, maths and science are key areas of study. If you’ve already reached a good standard in these subjects at GCSE or A Level you may be able to move on to an NVQ Level 3 (which is the final stage of the electrical qualification) sooner after some basic training. Electrical trainees already holding NVQ 2 electrical qualifications may also be able to apply for EAL or City & Guilds courses at a higher level.
If you haven’t already got qualifications that meet the requirements don’t worry because there are many colleges and home study courses which can provide the training you’ll need to get up to speed.
Selecting The Right Electrical Course
Whether you’re a school leaver, partly qualified or wanting to retrain, it’s essential to find the right sort of electrical training to help achieve your ambitions. The key to your success in becoming an electrician will be to select the best job or training programme to suit your own particular skills, needs or circumstances.
Any training course you choose should depend on the time you have available to study and fit in around any other commitments you may have. You’ll need to put a lot of time and effort into getting qualified so please be sure to check that a course offers the qualifications you need before enrolling.
Please Note- Training to be an electrician is NOT best achieved on a part time basis, especially if you want to qualify in the shortest time possible. That’s why ‘on the job training’ and apprenticeship schemes are so popular.
The Electrical qualification that you take will need to be suited to the type of work you are doing. There are currently 6 options. Be sure to check that the EAL or City and Guilds course is one of these:
1. Electrical Installation Buildings and Structures.
2. Electrical Maintenance.
3. Installing Instrumentation & Associated Equipment.
4. Installing Public Lighting Systems & Associated Equipment.
5. Electrotechnical Panel Building.
6. Electrical Machine Repair and Rewind.
About Electrical Apprenticeships
An Electrical Apprenticeship scheme is a work based training programme where a trainee attends college whilst also working for a company. This traditional way of training is considered to be the best way of learning a trade skill and can take from 3 to 5 years to complete. By working alongside experienced electricians an apprentice gets a real feel for the job and can receive genuine on the job training.
Apprenticeships are generally undertaken by school leavers or young trainees and the cost of their courses can usually be subsidised by a government funded grant. This is normally arranged by their employer, technical college or training provider when a student enrols on an electrical course.
Some students who want to train to become an electrician may find themselves taking a course or at college without having first found a job. This is not an ideal situation, but where jobs are in short supply it’s a good way of showing potential employers your commitment to your electrical career. It can also be a good way of kick starting your training and to get to grips with the health and safety and theory aspects of electrical work.
Colleges can be a good place to start if you’re looking for a work placement or a permanent job with a local electrical company. Many colleges and training centers run their own apprenticeship schemes where in most cases the student becomes an apprentice of the college and will be able to cover the early stages of training and examinations. The college may even be able to secure work based training for students with employers but this of course depends on employment availability.
Many of the larger electrical companies run their own apprenticeship schemes. These are generally fully funded by the employer and considered one of the best options for a trainee electrician. Be sure to check these out when looking for jobs.
NVQ stands for National Vocational Qualification and was set up as a national (England and Wales) qualification to assess a student’s qualifications and abilities in the workplace.
Note- NVQ is not a training course, but an assessment QUALIFICATION.
Both City and Guilds and EAL offer NVQ Electrical qualifications which could take up to four years to complete to NVQ level 3 level.
Although it could be possible to work as an electrician at a lower grade without an NVQ 3 qualification, you’ll need to get fully qualified to be able to give yourself the best chance when applying for jobs, and most importantly, if you want to earn the best money!
The NVQ Level 3 standard is recognized as a benchmark qualification for electricians (and most trades) in the UK. NVQ 3 forms a vital part of the final year of training and includes workplace assessments.
There are no age limits and no special entry requirements to taking electrical NVQ qualifications, however you will need to choose your entry level carefully to give yourself the best chance of passing at each grade before you move on to the next.
Although there’s no time limit, training to become an electrician is best suited to ‘on the job training’. There is no substitute for gaining experience by working alongside and learning from skilled tradespersons.
About City and Guilds & EAL
Both EAL and City & Guilds are well respected within the electrical industry. Their electrical courses generally cover the same content although they may be called a ‘certificate’, ‘diploma’ or ‘qualification’.
The Electrotechnical Certificate program was formerly known as the Electrical Installation course. To complete your electrical training and full NVQ level 3 qualifications you will need to be actively employed in the electrical industry by a company that can fulfill the requirements.
The Electrotechnical Certificate or Diploma which includes NVQ qualifications should be taken only through approved training providers. C & G and EAL both offer NVQ Electrical qualifications in their courses which could take up to four years to complete. The important thing is to be sure that your training provider offers their official approved courses and also that you choose the right one for your requirements before you sign up.
It is hoped that continued government funding is to be made available as an incentive for companies to offer apprenticeships for 16-19 year old students.
Workplace Assessments & Training Modules
The final stages of an electrician’s training or apprenticeship must include work based assessments. These can only be carried out in the workplace and require trainees to be working on site and be able to demonstrate a range of skills and understanding.
Work based assessment can sometimes be arranged by a training provider but as mentioned above, finding an employer to take you on as an apprentice in the first place is the best option. This can make the practical assessment stage of your training much easier.
The NVQ level 3 course requires a student to keep a portfolio (or log) of their achievements and accomplishments as they progress through the modules of their electrical training.
The details of each module of the course are quite in depth and will need to be supported by evidence of work, planning and tasks carried out by the student. This evidence must be in the form of both written and photographic and must also include test sheets, plans and risk assessments. All of this information makes up a student’s portfolio and goes to prove an understanding of all aspects electrical work including documentation and health and safety.
When all of the NVQ modules have been completed the student’s portfolio will be reviewed by an independent assessor from an accrediting organization such as EAL or City & Guilds.
Qualifications to be Fully Qualified Electrician?
Basic skills such as understanding electrical diagrams & plans, a knowledge of installation techniques, fault finding and being aware of the requirements of electrical testing and safety are all skills needed for electrical work. Holding an NVQ Level 3 qualification allows an electrician to undertake further training and move forward in his or her career to becoming fully qualified in various aspects of electrical work. Some jobs such as installing renewable energy systems will require specialized qualifications and training.
The following qualifications are commonly considered essential for electricians in the UK:
AM2 Assessment & ECS ID Card– At the end of your NVQ Level 3 training it would be an advantage to pass an AM2 assessment exam to prove that your knowledge and practical skills meet industry standards.
The AM2 (Achievement Measurement no. 2) is a practical assessment taken under exam conditions with an assessor watching as you carry out specific tasks. It’s normally taken at an independent training centre, somewhere other than where you did your original training. More about the AM2 Exam.
It would also be beneficial for a qualified electrician to possess a JIB ECS Gold ID Card which displays a record of their grading and Health and Safety awareness.
Holding these forms of certification may prove useful when looking for electrician jobs, and especially for being able to work under the stricter Health & Safety conditions required at commercial locations and on construction sites.
Latest Edition of the Wiring Regulations- BS 7671– ‘The Regs’ (BS7671) are regularly updated to keep up with new technology, so it’s important for electricians to know about them and be working to the current regulations.
An up to date regulations qualification is a must for any electrician working in the UK building industry, domestic, industrial or commercial. Be aware that many electrical courses including NVQ3 will cover the requirements of the wiring regs but may not go into depth and may not give a Latest Edition qualification. Updates to the regs are usually taken as additional courses.
Certificate in Inspection, Testing and Certification of Electrical Installations– This proves that an electrician is qualified and competent in certifying new and existing work. Many employers will ask if you hold this and will pay higher rates if you are qualified to ‘test and inspect’.
In order to be able to work in some construction, commercial & maintenance sectors and sign off your own work as a ‘Domestic Installer’ under Part P of the Building Regulations (England & Wales) it would be well worth considering obtaining this testing and inspection qualification.
Hazardous Areas Training– Compex and Atex hazardous are training would be essential for electricians working in certain industrial locations such as chemical plants, storage facilities and oil rigs.
JIB Assessment For Unqualified Electricians
From Aug 2014 an assessment route that enables experienced electricians to qualify to Level 3 NVQ standard is being introduced by the JIB.
Designed for mature candidates who have been working in the electrotechnical industry for a number of years, the new programme means that those who successfully complete the assessment will be eligible to apply to the JIB for an Installation Electrician ‘gold’ card under the Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS).
Electricians who apply will go through a professional interview with a specialist assessor, where their industry experience and existing qualifications will be taken into account. If they have suitable experience, they will then have an assessment programme developed for them that allows them to demonstrate their knowledge.
Changing Career- Re-Training To Become An Electrician
If you’re a mature student wanting to re-train or change your career to become an electrician there are alternatives to the apprenticeship route. Ideally you’ll need to find employment within the electrical industry to help gain practical experience alongside your studies. Age shouldn’t be seen as a barrier to electrical training and it can even be an advantage. Some employers are keen to support mature students in their electrical training and are often willing to allow day release for college attendance. This all sounds great but you’ll most likely be earning low money and will need to finance your own courses.
If you decide to study part-time whilst working then you can find courses that will give you a knowledge of basic electrical installation, inspection and testing and electrical regulations. These would good to start you off, but you’ll still be required to pass further exams and attain the level of NVQ 3 on the path become a fully qualified electrician.
In my guide you’ll find lots more essential info about How To Become An Electrician.
Free Ebook Guide- Useful Resources
You’ll find lots more information to help you get started on your path to becoming an electrician in my ebook guide- ‘How To Become An Electrician’. You will discover all about electrical qualifications and many suggestions on how you can prepare yourself for training and employment by carrying out your own research and learning as much as you can about the electrical industry before you begin. This useful careers advice will help you to make decisions about choosing your own path to achieving your full potential as an electrician much quicker.
Be sure to check out the section giving advice on developing your electrical knowledge including links to some useful training videos which deal with electrical theory, installation and principles. These will give you an idea of what’s involved in electrical training, the practical skills that are needed and will also help you get off to a head start to becoming an electrician.
You’ll find it all in my guide and it’s free for you to download now!
To view or download my free guide just left click the link below- Save Link/Target: