A Background In Electrical Training Courses
A Background In Electrical Training Courses
by Jason Kendall
For many people, a career within the electrical industry remains an interesting and varied choice. Often (and more correctly) referred to as 'Electro-Mechanical Engineering', we'll simply refer to it as the Electrical Industry for the sake of simplicity here. In addition, we will stay with the UK market and especially items relating to the domestic and commercial sectors rather than global issues. We will begin by reviewing the main issues first and come back to the 'add-ons' later, because of the huge number of options available as a career within this subject.
The electrical market has in our opinion two methods of entry. The primary route is the apprenticeship which is considered the more traditional and then we have the second phase for those who are joining at a later stage. Throughout this document we will simply refer to two types of people the 'Junior' and the 'Mature' entrants.
Mature Entrants who join the industry later on do so with the aim of working for themselves, usually as a one person business. Alternatively, 'Junior Entrants' will pick up lots of their work place skills by working with an already reputable electrical company. Upon leaving school many apprenticeships provide a fast learning curve for young adults looking to boost their auxiliary skills.
The distinct types of entry have differing styles of training - Junior Entrants are heavily linked with NVQ's (or the Scottish equivalent - SVQ's.) Whilst the core syllabus is relatively similar to non-NVQ commercial training, there is a particular requirement to attain the actual NVQ qualifications as part of the overall training program. This requires being in a directly-related work program or apprenticeship of some type, so as to meet the testing and course-work requirements.
Mature Entrants, with the possible aim of entering the market from a self-employed perspective, seem to focus on attaining the most commercially viable qualifications (without the need for the NVQ element.) i.e. Those certifications that will get them up and running with the best financial return from their training investment. This system does meet the purposes set out and therefore often provides a faster and more direct route into a trading position.
With regard to regular earning potential we have two clear paths - one for employees and the other for the self-employed. Obviously, with self-employment, there is the added issue of whether the Entrant is part-time (working around another job) or full-time; we will concentrate on full-time. Skill and knowledge levels can often determine salary levels, although this is equally via a proven ability or certification scheme.
With the right level of experience, 'Junior Entrants' salaries can rise considerably from twelve to thirty thousand pounds per annum. Conversely, the UK newspapers often report experienced mature electricians can expect an income of anything up to 70.000. Often costs such as tools, clothes and even transport need to be assessed and included in the business mix overall. They will also have to make allocations for personal or professional insurance and accountancy. That aside, whilst the work is open to market-forces to some degree, the current skills shortage in the UK means that there's a high work-load available. If a student wanted to work every day of the week this would be possible in some areas. To achieve the high salaries of 70+ thousand then you will need to put in very long hours and commit yourself fully.
To be fair, most Junior and Mature electricians experience very different working hours to each other. 'Junior Entrants' would normally be required to work Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. That aside the Mature market is equally affected by when their clients are available - this is especially so within the domestic sector, where evening and weekend work predominates. Although by testing and installing various business systems, many self-employed electricians manage to work during a normal working week.
A Junior Entrant that has chosen to adopt a career within the electrical trade is more than likely to gain follow up expertise within the particular field they fall into, often dictated by the main business activities of their employer. Then again, the mature entrant can even go outside of the electrical field to gas work or plumbing work for example. They can take on larger jobs and do all the work themselves then - which is a particularly great benefit to domestic clients.
A new trade example is that of the 'Green Engineer'. This new service to the industry could fit into the overall skill-set of an electrician. The opportunity to provide both employment and potential service contracts, especially in the UK and the EEC sectors, mean that this area is of interest to both Junior and Mature electricians.
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