What skills are needed to be an electrician, what training is required and what job prospects are there? Read on to find out!A career as an electrician is likely to be interesting, varied and well paid. Once qualified, you will be working with electrical systems of all types, from wiring circuits in homes and businesses to complex control panels for industrial machinery. You may even find yourself working on renewable energy systems such as wind turbines and solar panels!
What skills are needed to be an electrician?
An interest in and aptitude for maths, science and electronics is a must-have for anyone considering a career as an electrician, but aside from the obvious technical skills involved in working in this field, you need to have good interpersonal skills since you will have to deal with customers on a daily basis. It also helps if you have good problem-solving skills, are able to work independently and use a methodical approach.
Electricians must also have normal colour vision to be able to work with different coloured wires in a circuit and a good level of physical fitness is essential due to the physical nature of the job.
What training is required?
Working in the electrotechnical industry is a skilled trade and electricians need to have a minimum level of training. School leavers have the opportunity to train on the job as an apprentice electrician whilst studying for their NVQ Level 3 in Electrotechnical Services.
There are also other courses available that provide the theory without the benefit of a practical placement, but in order to work as an electrician, you will need to demonstrate competence in a working environment and have at least two years’ work experience. Once you have gained an NVQ Level 3 and have two years’ work experience under your belt, you can study for more specific qualifications in specialist areas, which will increase your earnings potential.
Adults wishing to retrain as electricians also need to gain the appropriate qualifications and work experience, but it can be much harder for adults to find employers willing to take them on as trainees. However, if you are committed and have the basic qualifications to begin an NVQ course, there are training opportunities available.
What are the job prospects for electricians?
The job prospects for fully-trained electricians are very good and there is always a strong demand for qualified electricians across industry and the private sector. Some trained electricians choose to work as freelance tradesmen, whereas others prefer to work for large companies, but irrespective of which career path you follow, there is plenty of potential for career progression and professional development for skilled ‘sparkies’!