How to Become an Electrician
The UK is currently in the midst of a shortage of skilled electricians. There’s more work available than there are people to do it, which means that there’s a pressing need to get new blood into the industry.
It’s likely that electricians are going to be in demand for decades to come – which means that this is among the best trades to get into.
How can I become an Electrician?
If you’d like to become an electrician, then there are three different routes available. You might go on a course at your local college, you might undergo an apprenticeship, or simply get qualified and apply directly.
An electrical apprenticeship typically lasts for three or four years. You’ll get vital on-the-job experience, as well as learning the technical ins and outs of the trade.
If you’re going to learn at college, then you’ll have several options, including Level 2 and 3 Diplomas in Electrical Installation. To get in, you’ll normally need a few decent grades at GCSE. For a level 2 course, it’s 2 of more GCSEs of grade 2 (or D). For anything more advanced, you’ll probably need five of them at grade 3 (or C).
Bear in mind that these are only guides – it might be that your college lets you in with less than that. So don’t be disheartened!
Going the direct route usually means having experience in a related industry or field. If you’re coming straight out of high school, then it’s probably not the right option for you.
What Skills do I need?
Work as an electrician requires technical know-how, but it also requires plenty of soft skills, too. Among the most important of these is communication. You’ll need to be able to explain yourself, and listen to clients and co-workers. When it comes to electricity, miscommunication can have serious consequences.
You’ll also need to be good at working with your hands and logically troubleshooting problems. You’ll often be expected to work out why something isn’t working properly. The role is also suited to people who are comfortable crawling around on their hands and knees, and working with their hands – often in less than comfortable conditions.
The average day in the life of an electrician can be tremendously varied. No two jobs are quite the same – which is a large part of the appeal of the job. You can expect to be on call for forty hours a week, catering to demand from your customers as it arrives.
You might also be expected to invest in a range of tools that you’ll be using on the job. These might include electricity-specific tools like multi-meters, as well as general-purpose ones like SDS Max drills, for demolition and other tasks.