Working as an electrician is a career that is both satisfying and rewarding in equal measure, so it is no surprise that plenty of people aspire to entering this profession, and there is also a large amount of demand for experts in this field nationwide.
Of course there are a few obstacles to overcome and requirements to fulfil along the way, so here is a look at the main steps you will need to take to become a fully qualified electrician.
Focus on relevant subjects at school
If you are still in full time education, but you one day hope to become an electrician, then it is worth thinking about which subjects will be most valuable once you embark upon your chosen career path in the future.
Both physics and maths are useful for electricians, as are technical subjects. It is also important to develop good English skills, as while the job may be hands-on in a lot of respects, it still requires plenty of reading of technical documents, and being able to interpret potentially complex instructions successfully is definitely important.
Choose training courses
First and foremost you need to make sure that you have the right education and training under your belt in order to work at the forefront of this industry niche and also command the most competitive salaries.
There are a whole host of electrician training courses available, as well as different routes to take, some of which may suit you more than others depending on your existing experience and your circumstances.
For example, many electricians get their start as part of an apprenticeship scheme, which will see you stewarded through the learning process by an existing specialist. At the same time you may also choose to participate in a Level 3 qualification scheme, at the end of which you will receive an NVQ diploma in a particular area, such as electrical maintenance or installations.
It is this combination of training and on-the-job experience which allows new electricians to accumulate the abilities and knowledge that will ultimately allow them to qualify and seek full time employment.
One thing worth noting is that training courses also differ in terms of the length of time they take to complete. For an NVQ-level qualification you will need to spend between 2 and 4 years completing the course in all, which of course requires that you factor in the combination of studying and practical working.
Shorter courses are available, such as becoming a domestic installer, which can be completed in around a month. However if you want to attain a nationally recognised qualification, then you will need to make a commitment for several years to achieve this.
Find work once you are qualified
While you may be capable of completing the training needed to become an electrician, the next challenge on the road to making this your career is actually getting a job after you are finished with your studies or your apprenticeship.
If you have been part of an apprenticeship scheme, then you may be able to move straight into working within the organisation that you were apprenticed by, and this is usually something that larger operations may be more willing to accommodate, although it is not a given.
If, on the other hand, you have qualified with a study-only Level 3 NVQ diploma, then you will need to look for your first job in the industry. As there are lots of construction and housing projects ongoing nationally at the moment, you may find that being flexible in terms of where you are based could help you a lot, as there may be more demand for electricians in a particular location so long as you are willing to travel or even relocate for the work, if only on a temporary basis.
Another option is to work independently as a domestic electrician, seeing to the needs of customers in a given geographic area and effectively being your own boss. This is potentially appealing because of the level of control it gives you over the trajectory of your career, but also daunting because of the additional admin involved in running your own business, even as a sole trader.
Hopefully you will now have the means to make your way in the world of work as an electrician; just remember that with patience and perseverance, it could be an ideal career for almost anyone, and will remain in-demand for as long as people and businesses need buildings to occupy.