Career as an electronics assembler

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Sam Williams is an electronics assembler at an electronics business in London. The company employs 5,700 disabled people in 83 factories and its managed services division. It produces high-tech assemblies for the motor and electronics industries. Sam has learning difficulties, but is overcoming these with the ongoing assistance of his employers.

What does your job involve as an electronics assembler?

I work in printed circuit board assembly. I prepare, assemble and solder components onto printed circuit boards. These boards are then installed in a wide variety of products used in the motor and electronics industries. They are also installed in equipment such as mobile phones.

Do you have a typical day?

I arrive at the factory and start work at my bench. The circuit boards are delivered to me in boxes and I check the wiring diagram before starting work. Different designs of circuit board are needed for different applications.

I fix the items onto the copper wire circuit on the board in the correct positions. I use instruction diagrams to tell me where to put them. When I have finished I test them using measuring equipment to see if there is a correct output from the board.

What equipment do you use?

I use a selection of hand tools, such as pliers, cutters, soldering pumps and many different screwdrivers.

What was your route to your career as an electronics assembler?

I entered this job via a government training course for people with disabilities. The course itself included woodwork and electronics.

Why did you choose to become an electronics assembler?

I was really looking for a job which I could do and which would also interest me. I think electronics is a fascinating area in which to work and it seems to have many jobs for which I can be considered.

What training have you received?

I received no electronics training prior to starting work. Training is ongoing as part of the company's core values.

What hours do you work?

I work Monday to Thursday from 7.45am to 3.45pm. On Friday we finish at midday.

What do you like best about your career as an electronics assembler?

It gives me the opportunity to get out and meet people. This builds up my confidence so that I feel able to tackle the jobs that I am given. The people who work with me and the community spirit here make it easy. Everyone helps and I enjoy the team spirit and the work.

Are there any disadvantages to your job?

No, there are no disadvantages. Everything is done to help me do my job properly and everyone works very hard to assist.

What skills and qualities do you need to be an electronics assembler?

You must be skilled at working with your hands to be able to do the assembling and soldering. You also have to be a good team player to work happily on a production line.

What are your long-term career goals?

I'd like to get better at what I do and then possibly move on to more complicated work.

Sam's route to a career as an electronics assembler

  • NVQ Level 1 in Electronics.

Sam's electronics assembler tips

  • Maintain the discipline of being tidy in the workplace.
  • Listen carefully to your team leader and follow instructions.
  • Keep learning at every opportunity.

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Salary of an electronics assembler

  • Electronics assemblers may start on around £10,000.
  • With experience they may earn about £15,000.
  • Assemblers with specialist experience may receive as much as £20,000.
  • Overtime and shift work payments can supplement these figures.

Career as an electronics assembler

  • There are no formal entry requirements, although GCSEs/S grades (A-E/1-5) in English, maths and science, in addition to practical subjects like manufacturing and engineering, may be useful.
  • Employers look for candidates who are good at working with their hands, pay attention to detail and are reliable. On-the-job training and the opportunity to study for NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Electronics is normally provided.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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