| James Innes

A Career as an Electrician


An Electrician is generally responsible for the installation, inspection and testing of wiring and electrical equipment both in domestic and commercial premises.  There are also a wide range of specialist fields, such as instrumentation, maintenance and panel building, which can be entered into based on relevant training and experience.

Whichever field an Electrician chooses to specialise in, they will be required to demonstrate an excellent understanding of the health and safety regulations appropriate to working with electrical systems and equipment.  Any installations must be fully tested to ensure compliance with statutory regulations and all equipment or systems have to be regularly maintained to ensure safety and functionality.

Electricians can work on new-build construction projects which often involve working to tight deadlines in sometimes difficult conditions.  General installation and maintenance work can be carried out in residential premises, offices and factories.

Electricians use a wide range of tools and equipment and must be able to follow complex drawings and instructions.  Attention to detail is essential as is an understanding of the latest changes in electrical standards and regulations.

Entry requirements

Electricians must complete the Electrotechnical Technology NVQ Level III qualification which requires the completion of practical and theoretical training in electrical installation and maintenance, instrumentation and equipment, and highway electrical systems.  There are also a number of relevant City & Guilds qualifications in this subject.  Apprenticeship programs are common in this industry sector and generally last between three and four years.  Knowledge of the 16th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations is essential and there are City & Guilds courses available to prove competence in this.  Recently introduced regulations require that certain types of household electrical works must comply with Part P of the Building Regulations so, if employed in this line of work, an Electrician must complete a relevant self-certification scheme.

Electricians can be employed in a wide variety of organisations including kitchen and bathroom fitting companies, specialist electrical installation and maintenance firms, and in engineering companies as well as in the power industry.  Many also operate on a self-employed basis travelling from contract to contract according to demand.

Progression opportunities

The salary is relatively good primarily because there is a significant shortage of trained Electricians at the moment.  Electricians working in London tend to receive a better salary than in other areas of the country.  Demonstration of training and experience can result in progression to supervisory or management positions and it is also possible to diversify into contract management or electrical estimating.

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