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Steps to kick-start your career as an electrician

Electricians are few and far between in the construction world, making now the right time to certify and help ease demand.

Home » Tradesman Insights » Steps to kick-start your career as an electrician

This isn’t the first time we’ve mentioned electricians this year. Back in January, Tradesman Saver reported how electricians will be earning an average of £32,540 in 2022. And in April, Buildworld ranked electricians the most trusted trade in the UK.

Fact is, there’s a lack of qualified talent in the industry making the demand for electricians higher than ever.

And that demand is set to continue. With new homes being built every year, and the market moving towards smart technologies, there has never been a better time to jump on board.

Here are two routes to entry for those considering a career as an electrician.

Become an apprentice

College and university aren’t for everyone. Getting a degree comes with huge debts and in the current climate tradespeople are earning more than graduates.

Doing an apprenticeship is an excellent way to get your foot in the door, train on the job, and make some cash while you’re at it. And with demand for tradespeople so high at the moment, firms are desperate for an extra pair of hands on site.

Finding an apprenticeship can be a challenge, especially if you live in parts of the country that are less built up. Cities (as they often do) offer more choice, but there is competition. Persistence is a must and if you consider all your options strategically your search will pay off.

Once accepted as an apprentice you’ll gain experience that could establish your work ethic for the rest of your career. Discipline is key to success, and you’ll be expected to show up and demonstrate a willingness to learn. Part of your training will also be classroom based in a college or technical learning centre, so be prepared to put in some study time outside of work hours.

An apprenticeship typically takes 3 to 4 years to complete and will earn you a Level 3 certificate and an NVQ or a Level 3 Diploma. You’ll also have some cash in your pocket and little to no debts.

Apprenticeships are offered to those under 25 years of age, and funding is available for those who need it. If you’re looking to change careers later in life, you’ll need to find a different route into the industry.

Domestic Installer

A Domestic Installer is not a fully qualified electrician; however, they are permitted to do electrical work under certain conditions. Essentially, this means you can register as a sole trader and carry out specific services. But these services are limited.

To qualify as a Domestic Installer, you must become a member of the Competent Person Scheme and you can only work on domestic properties.

In order to register with The Competent Person Scheme, you will need to demonstrate that you have the skills and experience to carry out electrical work to a required standard. You will also have to pass an assessment and submit your insurance policy for review. The cost to join the scheme is £450 a year.

It’s not a requirement, but it’s highly recommended that you take some formal training. If you decide to register as a sole trader your customers will expect a certain standard and qualifications will offer that reassurance. You’ll also be more competitive, and as a result, offered more opportunities to earn.

Qualification you should consider include:

  • Part P Course City & Guilds 2393
  • 18th Edition Wiring Regulations 2018 City & Guilds 2382
  • Inspection and testing City & Guilds 2392

Costs for these courses vary, however your earning potential will increase and your insurance will be cheaper.

And if you’ve been a Domestic Installer for more than 5 years, your experience may help you qualify as a full electrician.

What work can a fully qualified electrician do?

Once you have completed all of your training, you will be certified as an electrician. This means you will have the expertise to carry out the following type of work:

  • Surveying sites where electrical systems are installed
  • Drafting electrical installation plans and technical diagrams
  • Installing, maintaining, modifying and repairing all electrical systems in public spaces and buildings
  • Ensuring that electrical systems adhere to the national electrical safety standards and regulations
  • Supervising ongoing electrical system installations and providing technical expertise to installation teams where needed
  • Using blueprints, wiring diagrams and manufacturer’s installation manuals to complete projects
  • Completing work orders and recording materials that are used on the job
  • Identifying electrical problems and repairing them
  • Advising the company’s management when to replace aged electrical equipment to prevent hazards
  • Conducting general electrical systems maintenance and troubleshooting electrical issues with testing equipment

You will also have the opportunity to continue your training and specialise in different areas of the sector.

Green energy and net zero targets are set to transform the energy sector in the coming years. This means new heating systems and more efficient lighting and electrical networks. Safety and building regulations may also change and certifying circuits may require additional skills and training.

Keeping up to date with the latest requirements is key to a successful career as an electrician.

Responsibility comes with risks

Whether you’re a new graduate, or a veteran electrician with decades of experience, the risks in the trade are the same. Electricity and mistakes don’t mix well together, and failing to have safety procedures in place can be costly, and even result in death.

So, when you give advice that causes your customer to lose out financially, or sign-off work that causes a power cut to every building in the street, you’ll want to be protected.

To make sure your business and the people you work with are taken care of, Tradesman Saver has increased the maximum Professional Indemnity limit from £50,000 to £1 million.

To take advantage of this increase, add professional indemnity to your public liability insurance policy today.

Tradesman Talk

Do you think there is still a demand for apprenticeships, or are school leavers avoiding the world of work at college and university?

Can you offer any advice to someone wanting to train to be an electrician?

As always, leave your thoughts and advice in the comments below. And if you want to share this article, click the social links.

Until next time, make sure it’s Tradesman Saver.

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