Become an electrician

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Sophie Jones is a qualified electrician. She works for an electrical contractor and is based in northern England. Most of her job involves installing electricity to new houses and building on construction sites.

Why did you choose to become an electrician?

I became interested in electrical work at school and it was a natural move for me. I liked the variety of work that comes with the job and I wanted to obtain a useful qualification. I now have a trade which will give me a good living.

What does the job involve?

Installation electricians are responsible for all the lighting and power points needed in the buildings together with the mains supply and wiring. We also have to fit the wiring for cookers, washing machines and, in some cases, central heating.

When do you start working on the site?

We get involved before the building even starts and just after the foundations have been laid. We have to lay the main electricity wiring, which is housed in protective pipes or conduits, from the main transformers into central areas where the structure is being built.

We then have to come back when the building is almost finished to complete the wiring into the premises and to specific power points. The initial plans for the site and the buildings show where the wiring is to be laid and the position of the electrical points to be installed.

What equipment do you use?

Drills, screwdrivers and portable electric handtools. Sometimes we also use small generators to provide us with mobile power for our drills before the mains are ready for use. We also use electrical installation testers and other electrical test equipment to check that our electrical installations are safe.

What training have you done so far?

I started work as a Modern Apprentice straight from school. During the first year I attended college for 12 weeks in four sessions of three weeks. During the second year I went to college for six weeks and a further two weeks in the third. I spent the remaining time on-the-job training with my employer. After three years I passed the NVQ Level 3 and Achievement Measurement (AM2) in Electrical Installation. This means I am now a fully qualified electrician.

What do you like best about being an electrician?

I like meeting different people and each day produces different problems which have to be solved. No two days are the same.

What skills and qualities are needed for this work?

Being able to work in a team, using your initiative and not being afraid to ask questions. Being good at communication is also vital in this work. You must be able to read drawings and have an eye for detail.

Sophie's electrician tips

  • Contact companies to check on the availability of work experience.
  • Always be willing to learn.

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Average salary of an electrician

  • Basic starting salary for qualified electrician is likely to be between £13,000 - £15,000, rising to more than £20,000 with experience.
  • Earnings are boosted often with overtime and bonus payments.
  • A self employed electrician can earn in excess of 50,000 per year.

How to become an electrician in uk

  • Entry is normally through Modern Apprenticeship (Skillseekers) training.
  • You can also study at college or other training establishments for your City and Guilds 2330 qualifications level 2 and 3. If you're too old for an electricians apprenticeship.
  • You will also require your 17th edition qualification, C&G 2382. This is an open book online exam, you take your IEE wiring regulations 17th edition book with you and are asked multiple choice questions that you then have answer with the aid of book if you don't know it on the PC. You will be pushed for time finding all the answers from the regs book within the time limit allowed.
  • A NVQ3 in installation and commissioning will help you get your installation electrician ECS gold card, affiliated so you can work on JIB sites at set JIB pay rates.
  • Advanced electrical qualifications include the city & guilds 2391 inspection and testing exam. Which is made up of an online exam with multiple choice questions and a practical test where you have to inspect and test various example electrical systems. Fault finding and filling in all the required paperwork.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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