How on earth did we survive before electricity? It’s hugely important to modern day life – phones, TVs, medical equipment, radios, computers, ovens, kettles – you name it, it runs on it. But without electricians to maintain it all, we’d be back in the dark ages. Electricians play a hugely important role in society fitting out buildings, maintaining systems and equipment, creating complex circuitry and repairing faults. And they’re in demand too, so training to become a sparky could be a savvy career move.
What experience is needed?
The good news is there is no minimum requirements or experience needed to train as an electrician and considering there is a growing shortage in the UK it’s a great time to enter the profession. Having decent GCSEs in English, Maths, Physics and ICT is a distinct advantage and if you don’t you’ll have to take an aptitude test.You’ll also have to take a vision and colour assessment which is not as odd as it first sounds – no one wants you mistaking the red live wire for the blue neutral one!
The most common way to become an electrician is as an apprentice which is a great option for a school leaver or a student. You get paid to study and work at the same time, learning on the job. The catch? You have to be under 25 to apply. If you’re over 25, then studying for an NVQ or City & Guilds in Electrotechnology is the way forward.
What are the day-to-day roles of an electrician?
- Your work will depend on the kind of electrician you are. You could work in a factory, school, commercial building or find yourself travelling to lots of different properties on a daily basis.
- Your work can involve repairing or replacing wiring, writing reports and maintaining records, testing equipment, dealing with emergency power outages and following detailed technical plans.
- You’ll work around 40 hours a week but if a job needs finishing it needs finishing, so expect some overtime too.
The pros: The work can be very varied, you’ll get to meet lots of different people and if you’re self-employed you’ll be in control of your own rates and hours.
The cons: Jobs can get interrupted because of bad weather and you can often find yourself working in cramped spaces and cold conditions.
Career progression and salaries.
FACT: A trainee electrician earns on average £21,000 a year whilst a qualified electrician can command £30,000 to £40,000.
Once you’re qualified you can work either for an electrical or construction company or you can set up your own business. You can also move into other areas such as training, consultancy work or engineering. It takes a lot of hard work to be an electrician but with a healthy dose of dedication and enthusiasm you can look forward to a challenging and varied career.