This extensive guide is designed to explain, in detail what you need to do to become an electrician in England and also provides some useful resources that will help you find further information if you need it.
There really isn’t a better time to join the construction industry as an electrician because electricity is such an important part of the world we live in. As our cities and towns grow more and more, and as we focus more on greener energy that means more and more work for electricians.
If you are a hands-on type of person who is good at solving problems who also enjoys learning about new technologies then being an electrician is perfect for you. You can take your kawaii planners and write down main tips that are listed below.
The Key to Being Successful
The way to ensure you are successful as an electrician is to complete a thorough general training and then identify a specialism as soon as you can after that. You should then identify and follow as many training opportunities in that specialism as you can either afford or get your employer to pay for.
What do I Need to Become an Electrician?
Your training will teach you about the fundamental principles of electricity and you will use mathematical formulae as well as the reading of plans and charts. Health and Safety is an important part of an electricians work and you will need to learn about the law and how to work safely. It would also help if you were the sort of person who enjoyed learning about new technologies and how to solve problems. You will need to have reached a reasonable standard of education to be able to make the most of an electrician’s course. Maths and science are very important because they will help you understand how electrical designs and plans work.
When it comes to exams you will need to perform some quite complicated calculations to show that you understand key ideas but you don’t need to worry too much if your maths is a bit weak because you rarely need to use it when you are actually working. You will, however, need to be familiar with Ohms law and how to carry out simple calculations to work out power and current requirements for individual circuits.
What Qualifications Are Needed?
In many cases, a college will ask you to sit an assessment exam before offering you a place. The exam is designed to show if you have the skills needed to read instructions and carry our maths calculations. Maths and science are important areas of study and if you have achieved GCSE or A level in these areas you should pass any assessments easily. You may also be able to qualify for NVQ Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations sooner as well.
If you hold City & Guilds 2356 you will also be offered a credit towards your NVQ 3. If you do not hold any of these qualifications there is no need to worry as many colleges and courses start with the very basics and you can learn from there. There is also government funding available via the apprenticeship scheme which funds 16 – 19-year-olds during their initial apprenticeships.
City & Guilds
NVQ Level 1 is ideal if you are just joining the trade from school, at 16,
NVQ level 2 assumes you have a basic level of knowledge to build on
NVQ level 3 is the level required for recognition as qualified in the industry. An SVQ is the equivalent qualification to an NVQ is Scotland.
You can complete your NVQ or SVQ either full time or on a part-time basis if you are cross-training from another role. There are no age limits or special entry qualifications but you should choose your entry level carefully to ensure you stand the best chance of being successful on your first qualification. You also need to find an opportunity for gaining practical experience, working alongside a qualified electrician so the part-time study is often the best way of gaining the important initial qualifications.
Becoming Fully Qualified Electrician
To demonstrate that you have the requisite basic skills of installation techniques, reading plans and diagrams, fault finding, electrical testing and safety at work you need to achieve certain levels of basic qualification before you decide how you want to specialize. The main qualifications you should be working towards include:
NVQ 3 Diploma 2357 for electrical installation
NVQ 3 Diploma 2357 electrical maintenance
If you want to work in construction and maintenance you can get a further qualification that allows you to independently sign of the quality of your work. Understanding wiring regulations allow you to approve your own work using Part P Building Regulations.
A Certificate in Inspection demonstrates that you have achieved this standard.
ECS ID Cards
Once you have completed your NVQ Level 3 card and you are certified as being a qualified electrician. Because there are so many course providers and so many employers, a system of registration has been developed. The Joint Industry Board (JIB) card will be issued to you and the color of your card shows the level of your qualifications. Each card is a smart card and can be used to store information about your qualifications and training updates that you undergo. This way, any potential employer can be certain of your hard earned qualifications.
Choosing Which Course to Attend
Choosing the best electrical course is important for you whether you are new to the industry, looking to upgrade your skills or looking to cross train from another career.
The key to success will be to select the best training program to suit your needs and to combine that with on the job training to suit your circumstances. Your chosen course needs to fit in with the time you have available for studying. Getting qualified is hard work so you need to be confident that the course is right for you before you start.
Apprenticeships are schemes that allow you to study whilst you are at work, practicing the skills you are studying. They are the traditional way of becoming qualified in a trade and are thought to be the best way of combining good training and on the job experience. You should expect ton to take between three and five years to complete depending on the particular courses you are studying.
They are most often taken by school leavers and the cost of their courses is often met in full or in part by the government. The fee subsidy is usually arranged by the firm employing the apprentice. Some people may actually enroll at a college before they have first found an apprenticeship which is not always the best way of organizing things. Nevertheless, it does show a potential employer that an individual is dedicated and can be relied upon and may, in the end, help secure an apprenticeship. Some colleges even have an outplacement department to help secure employment as an apprentice using their extensive contacts in the industry.
Larger companies run their own apprentice schemes which are fully funded by the employer which means you would have the benefit of a well-known name on your CV as well as having all of your costs me by the firm.
In Work Assessments
During an apprenticeship, you will be examined, in the working environment to see if your work is technically safe and of the right standard. Your training provider will send an assessor into your work to evaluate how your practical skills are developing and this is an integral part of you gaining your final qualification.
Mature Students Looking to Change Careers
If you have decided you want to follow a career change and you are a mature student there are alternatives to the apprenticeship route of getting qualified.
You need to find employment in the industry to help you gain the practical experience you need to pass your assessment. Age will not be seen as a barrier and in many cases, it can be seen as an advantage.
Many employers actively support mature students and are prepared to allow day release to college. The downside is that while training your wages will be low and you will probably have to pay for your own courses. If you study part-time there are courses that give you a good grounding in installation, inspection, regulations, and testing which will start you off on that patch towards your NVQ level 3.
You should consider doing some research into the courses that are on offer locally before you decide which method of study you are going to follow. You can also use forums on the web to find out how other mature students changed their career and pick up useful tips that way.
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When you begin looking at the training options available you quickly find there is a wide variety of ways to study.
Training courses include online and distance learning which is good for gaining basic knowledge and skills or for updating skills which every qualified electrician has to undertake.
Video course can also work well and there are a number of them that are available on the internet.
Some colleges offer a home study and college practical combination which provides students with the opportunity to get the all-important practical experience. This is particularly useful if you are still employed in your old job and wish to carry on whilst training. You should bear in mind that this way of studying will mean it takes you longer to qualify. You can also undertake NVQ level 3 courses in this way and colleges offering this often have personal tuition available for distance learners if they need it.
The best option still remains the classroom-based courses which combine the theoretical part with the practical part in the workshop area. The main reason is that it will always be around your teacher that will advise, supervise and answer to all your questions. In this way the chances to pass each examination increase considerably. Statistics show that the graduation rate is higher for students who attend electrical classroom-based courses.
Thinking About Your Career in the Right Way
If you start out on your career, thinking about it in the right way you will be far more successful. Don’t just think of an electrician’s job as just like any other one. There is far more to it than just learning how to install and troubleshoot wiring circuits. You will also need to understand the legal regulations that control how the wiring is installed and you will need to prove that you can comply with the standards. Whatever work they are undertaking, an electrician should always put safety and concern for others at the front of their mind.
As an apprentice, you will work alongside an experienced electrician and you need to take every opportunity to learn from them. It won’t be long before you realize that there are numerous ways of doing each job and that every individual will have their own favored way. Watch each electrician you work with, understand their methods and work out what is the best method for you. This will help you build up your own knowledge and experience more quickly.
Any employer you work for will want you to be aware of all the latest developments, how to handle the latest equipment and keeping yourself abreast of new developments in the industry is also important. Use the internet to find out as much as you can about all the latest products and ideas that come onto the market place. There are links at the end of this article that will help you with this.
This is a good place to begin researching specialisms in the industry. You can research security systems, power supplies, and lighting circuits. There is also plenty of information on the WWW about central heating control wiring and environmentally friendly green technologies such as low energy lighting. It is also worth researching the various types of materials used by electricians. Find out what is used and what it is used for. The future will see solar electricity and smart systems that are controlled by SmartPhone apps so it is a good idea to start learning about these new developments as soon as possible.
If you are looking to gain as much experience as you can while you are studying you might want to consider offering your services free to a local electrician in return for the opportunity to practice some of the techniques you learn on your course. If you are unemployed you will need to mention this to the Department of Work and Pensions even if you ware working for less than 16 hours and for no pay. You should also be aware that it is illegal to claim benefits while working and both you and the employer could be fined.
What Tools do you Need?
Having your own set of tools is a good sign of your commitment to your new career. You should plan to buy one new tool a week as a way of building up your toolset. You will also need to buy safety footwear to comply with Health and Safety regulations on many building sites.
Extending Your Knowledge
With all the new developments in the industry, there has never been a more exciting tie to be an electrician and there are a large number of areas for you to choose to specialize in. The best way of starting your specialist knowledge is to learn about all of the parts of the industry. You can learn how the skills you have to offer can benefit different types of employers which can determine which direction your career goes in. A good place to start is by joining some of the online forums that are available. Most of them are free and you get the chance to discuss ideas with other like-minded individuals and your comments and questions will always be well received.
Finding Your Job
As your background knowledge begins to grow you can then start thinking about that important first job as a trainee. There are a number of ways you can track down a position and here are some suggestions: