Insights On City and Guilds Electrical Courses
Insights On City and Guilds Electrical Courses
by Jason Kendall
It's notable that a career within the electrical industry, with its attractive options, remains a choice for lots of people. Whilst the original term is 'Electro-Mechanical Engineering' we will simply refer to the subject as the Electrical Industry. Furthermore, we will focus on the UK market and the domestic and commercial elements rather than those from elsewhere around the world. Because of the vast number of options available for a career within the electrical industry, we'll start by concentrating on the main topics, and come back to the 'add-ons' later.
We consider that there are two ways to enter the electrical market. Whilst many candidates opt to join later on in their life, there still exists the more traditional route of the apprenticeship. For the sake of clarity throughout, the first will be known as 'Junior Entrants' and the second simply known as 'Mature Entrants.'
Principally, Mature Entrants join the electrical workplace later on, and focus on becoming self employed. This means working on their own and not having to pay salaries to anyone else. Those who join as Junior Entrants, on the other hand, appear to do so with the aim of joining an established electrical firm - in order to gain further qualifications and experience whilst picking up practical and other work-place skills. During their first years in the working environment, a young apprentice, or junior entrant, will have a host of additional skills to learn.
Clearly these two options have both differing training styles and methods of entry. NVQ's are the key factor for all junior entrants. The core syllabus is similar to non NVQ commercial training, but the certification is compulsory. New employees gain the necessary course work and testing elements through an apprenticeship or some form of suitable work program.
Mature Entrants do not appear to seek the NVQ element but instead they go after the most commercially suitable qualifications. Instead most of them aim for the techniques that will get them up and running as quickly as possible and give them the best return against the cost to train in the first place. This method allows for a quicker route to the market and does meet the necessary trading elements for the areas concerned despite reducing the overall qualification set.
Between self-employment and general employment we have two routes to consider in terms of typical income. The question remains as to how much work per week a self-employed person puts in - for the sake of this review we assume that it is full time. Certainly, whilst salary levels can be affected by knowledge and qualifications, they can also be affected by competence and aptitude.
Wages for 'Junior Entrants' can become as high as 30,000 or more per annum with the right experience, although starting salaries are around 12,000. On the other hand experienced self-employed electricians have been known to earn around 70 thousand or more within the UK. That aside, many added costs need to be remembered by self employed people in order to make their business work. Self employed people also have to allow for added expenses. In the UK there is a lot of work for electrical professions due to a short fall of current skilled people. If a student wanted to work every day of the week this would be possible in some areas. To be fair, high salaries bounded about by the press do require long working hours or help to achieve them.
To be fair, most Junior and Mature electricians experience very different working hours to each other. Monday to Friday 9-5 would be the working week of most 'Junior Entrants'. 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. And yet, a huge number of self-employed electricians operate during the main part of the working week by focusing on office and small business systems.
Once a career in electrical work has been chosen, a Junior Electrician is often at the mercy of their employer when it comes to learning new skills and expertise. Alternatively, the mature entrant can gain other training outside of their chosen field, such as gas and plumbing work. Within the domestic market this allows them to work under a range of headings without having to rely upon sub contract suppliers.
An up to the minute angle - involving a new level of skills - is that of the so called 'Green Engineer'. 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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