How to Become an Electrician in the UK

Electricians test, fit and repair wiring and circuits, and install new electrical infrastructures. Often working in residential homes, offices or public buildings, electricians ensure and any wires and circuits are safe, repair any faults that may have cropped up or could crop up within the electrics, and help to install new circuits once any building work has come to an end.

Electricians have the potential for progression. Through training, experience and hard work, one can be promoted to the position of supervisor or manager. Failing that, electricians could go on to support themselves financially and become self-employed.

In addition, electricians with a wealth of experience could progress to being an engineering technician; this means an electrician who specialises in helping with any technical faults within engineering or construction businesses.

NVQ Training
If you want to become a fully qualified electrician, you will require a level 3 NVQ in Electrotechnical Services. This can be awarded by either the City & Guilds, or EMTA Awards Limited. School leavers aged up to 19 are advised to start off training as an apprentice, and incorporate their NVQ studies into their training.

To become an apprentice, trainees usually need a GCSE (grade A-C) in Mathematics, English Literature and Science. If they don’t have the necessary academic qualifications, but they can pass the initial aptitude test, they should still be allowed to train. The apprenticeship provides them with relevant work experience, and allows them to earn a small wage at the same time.

The second part of the NVQ involves practical training. This allows students to gain hands-on experience in dealing with more important projects, and take more responsibility, in the same manner that the average electrician would on a daily basis.

For those who are over 19, rather than an apprenticeship, trainees on an NVQ course are advised to secure relevant work experience, usually over a long period of time. This is particularly important for the practical aspect of the NVQ, as without prior experience they are likely to struggle.

Other Qualifications
There are alternative qualifications to the NVQ in Electrotechnical Services. One example of this is the City & Guilds Technical Certificate in Electrotechnical Technology. This qualification will provide relevant training in electrical theory, and involves the development of the necessary practical skills. However, without completing a work placement or an apprenticeship, this certificate will not give trainees a full electrician qualification.

Even after completing an NVQ, electricians can go on to earn more qualification, specific to the position they have, and hope to have in the future. They include City & Guilds certificates ΗΛΕΚΤΡΟΛΟΓΟΙ ΧΟΛΑΡΓΟΣ in Inspection, Testing and Certification of Installations; Wiring Regulations and In-Service Inspection; and Testing of Electrical Equipment.

In addition, there are training programmes that will help to improve one’s skills. One such scheme is called ‘Part P’, and allows electricians to certify all their own electrical work, as opposed to requiring a contractor or a building inspector for approval of their work.

Becoming (PAT) Portable Appliance Testing is another great way to generate income if you are looking to make the move into becoming an electrician. (PAT) is an important part of health & safety of goods generally 3 years old, however this can be sooner for certain products. An example of where the testing would be carried out is in the work place, schools, hospitals on appliances such as kettles, fridges and computers etc. A device used to measure the electrical circuits to ensure safety. Generally courses can be completed for in the region of £50 for a training DVD for £150 for attending a 1- day training event.

What Employers Are Looking For?
There are a number of key skills that an employer will expect a well-trained and highly qualified electrician to possess. As well as good practical skills, electricians must be confident when using power tools, and pay close attention to minor construction details. They should take a methodical approach to their work, and be able to solve any problems that may occur. Being able to predict potential problems, or being prepared for potential problems, are further signs of a good electrician.

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