Which way should you go when considering how to become an electrician?
Getting into the elctrical industry can be very confusing.
- What experience do you have?
- Are you looking for a career change?
- Are you looking for an apprenticeship?
- Do you have a family to support?
Everyone has different circumstances and being able to support your family has to take priority.
However you need to be aware that many training providers have manipulated the training sector, claiming they are doing it for your own benefit when in actual fact it's just a money making organisation trying to profit from as large a quantity of customers as they can with as little personal commitment as possible.
This leaves you at the end with a big debt, unable to work but having no 'other' course options that are supposed to develop you further. I've had thousands of people meassage me after their training, unsure of what to do next.
I'm writing this as someone that has spent the best part of the last 15 years trying to raise the standards of training and volunteering to help peoplpe who are not properly trained by their actual training provider.
If you're looking for training with little-to-no previous experience then you need to start at the beginning. But don't think about this being a longer task for you because in actual fact we are always still learning in this industry and there never is a time where we're done. This is why I'm not a fan of the wording 'fully qualified'.
The preferred route into the industry is the apprenticeship. Think you're too old? Employers can access funding for aprentices of all ages.
An apprenticeship is a job with training. It’s an ideal way to start your electrical career and earn while you learn. You’ll be employed and will gain your skills via a combination of on-the-job learning in your workplace and other learning supported by a college or training provider. The apprenticeship programme takes around four years to complete.
A word of warning with this one though - many providers will happily take you on as an apprentice, but you should make sure you have employment as it will affect your ability to complete without it.
If the apprentice route isn't for you, then there is the full time education route. This is 3-4 years of technical training in the college combined with some work experience opportunities. If you get a job whilst on the first part of this (Level 2) you could take an apprenticeship to complete or just resume the technical training through Level 3. - This is the level I teach in F.E.
If you resume the Level 3 technical here, you will then need to complete an NVQ Level 3 which is portfolio based, collecting evidence of your performance in the workplace - so you will need to be working for this.
Self-funded - Caution
For those self-funding, you need to be careful. There are many training providers (and an awarding organisation) that have unrecognised training packages designed as goal setting. These were originally structured over 10 years ago when entry to the industry was a lot less regulated. The Electrotechnical Assessment Specification (EAS) has been forced via third parties to tighten up on these requirements as of late and this has resulted in most of the packages being unsuitable, but the companies haven't stopped misselling them.
Be aware of packages for 'domestic electrician', 'domestic installer', 'steps to gold card' etc. These are companies using an old strategy where pulling people through a pile of qualifications in a number of weeks was considered acceptable (to some).
You can find more information on rogue trainers here: TESP Rogue Trainers Campaign
If you are self funding then you are looking again for something similar to a technical qualification which may take 3-4 years to complete. Some companies choose to deliver these in block release, taking about 6 months or so.
Experienced electrical worker
The more recent route to industry is the experienced worker route. There is one for both commercial (5 years experience) and domestic (2 years experience). This is a portolio structured course where an assessor will run through the outcomes with you and attempt to collect sufficient evidence of competence on all the performance criteria.
Can we help?
SparkyNinja is always happy to help apprentices and career changers with their learning as they enter the industry. But we do not provide paid-for courses as we only offer training for Electrician's continuing development.
Please feel free to message us with any questions youu may have.
We do provide the experienced worker route mentioned above. For this you would need to have at least 5 years experience post any other training in the industry. You can find more details on our EWA course here: https://sparkyninja.com/courses/view/city-and-guilds-2346-03-electrotechnical-experienced-worker