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2 Key routes explained:

To become an electrician in the UK you will need to combine training, experience and a final assessment. This can typically be completed as:

Both routes combine the same key elements but are structured differently. The apprenticeship spreads the training and experience units over 4 years whereas the Diploma route front loads the training elements and allows the candidate to top up with the NVQ once they are working in industry.


How to train with Diploma, NVQ and AM2?

With Trade Skills 4U this route breaks down as follows:

  1. Step 1 – Domestic Electrical Skills (4 Weeks)
  2. Step 2 – Level 2 2365 Diploma (6 Weeks)
  3. Step 3 – Level 3 2365 Diploma (6.5 Weeks)
  4. Step 4 – Level 2357 NVQ (1-2 years. Completed when working)

Typically, most students complete the first 3 steps in 6-7 months and at this point will be able to work as an electricians mate. Roughly a third of students find work whilst training, with up to 90% of students finding work within 6 months of completing the Diploma.


This route exists because not everyone can find an employer or apprenticeship place in order to get trained. It is particularly popular with adult learners who have the time and the finances to invest in themselves to gain skills and qualifications up front. The 2365 Diploma’s are often seen as the key to unlock the door to the electrical industry and you will hear them referred to by industry as your “Technical Certificates”. You become attractive to employers and can start earning as your progress your career and qualifications. The route is very flexible meaning once you are working you can return to top up your qualifications as and when your circumstances suit. It also means you can make sure you have the right job and situation to complete the NVQ should you choose.


However not everyone has to complete the full route, many people find jobs in related trades or related roles using the skills gained in electrical installation, health and safety, electrical science, inspection and testing and an understanding of the key industry regulations. You can always return to the route should you decide to pursue recognised electrician status later on.


How to train via an apprenticeship?

Most electrical apprenticeships last roughly 4 years and combine all the elements above into 1 qualification. This is most commonly known as the C&G 2357. Apprenticeships require you to be working with an employer so you can attend the training and build a portfolio of evidence over the period of the apprenticeship. The main benefits of an apprenticeship are:

  1. You can earn whilst you learn.
  2. The training is fully funded by the government
  3. Your employer can receive a financial incentive for taking you on
  4. The learning is spread out and interlaced with your job
Apprenticeships have historically been favoured by school leavers and younger career changers but recent changes have made funding available for all age groups and these days employers are actively encouraged to put their employees through apprenticeship schemes.


The biggest barrier to getting an apprenticeship is finding an employer but that’s where we can help. We can register you on our database and often help match you to employers looking to take on an apprenticeship. Find out more here.


Diploma programme or Apprenticeship?

Firstly, let us point out, the skills and knowledge learned in both programs are fundamentally the same, electrics is electrics, both qualification routes contain the same content, they have to in order to comply with the City & Guilds standards to achieve the qualification. The ‘differences’ between the two programs are, how they are delivered, in what time frame, to who they are focused, the big difference is employment. To do an apprenticeship, you need a job, an employer before you can begin. On our 4 Step programs, you don’t. Getting a job comes after your training, or typically for many people, during your training. You can also use the use our 4 steps approach to get an apprenticeship: 



FAQ’s Section


Can I become just a domestic electrician?

A Domestic Installer is someone who can only work on houses, flats, bungalows and domestic properties. Historically the industry has operated schemes for those with more limited skills and training to specialise in this area alone. There are scheme providers such as the NICEIC who operate domestic installer schemes and verify the skills, knowledge and training of domestic installers. However the entry requirements are changing in September 2021 and we would advise anyone entering the industry to expect to complete one of the routes above in order to future proof your career.


Note, you are able to become a Domestic Installer and register with a Competent Persons Scheme by following our 4 Steps program to Step 3 and taking a Domestic Installer NVQ program on Step 4, this will be available from September 2021


What are the C&G qualifications needed to become an electrician?

If you take the apprenticeship route the the C&G 5357 Level 3 Electrotechnical Qualification.

If you choose to go the Diploma & NVQ Route you will need:

  • C&G 2365 Level 2 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures)
  • C&G 2365 Level 3 Diploma in Electrical Installations (Buildings and Structures)
  • C&G 2357 Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Electrotechnical Technology


How long does it take to become and electrician?

Generally speaking an apprenticeship is run over 3-4 years. If you go down the Diploma & NVQ route the timescales can vary but most people complete it in 2-3 years.


How much do electricians earn?

Electricians are the highest earners of all the trades. On average a salaried electrician earns £33,495 per year. However self employed electricians and contractors tend to earn much more. Find out more here.


Why should I become an electrician?

This is hard to answer but with Trade Skills 4U you can attend one of our webinars or taster days to find out if you are suitable to become an electrician.


Can you become an electrician without going to college?

Yes. You can train via a private training providers such as Trade Skills 4U who specialise in training adult learners.



Can I become an electrician at 40?

Yes you can retrain at any age. Remember it is still a physical job but if you feel fit and ready, training as an electrician will get you out and about. It will help maintain your fitness much more than any desk job.


How do I become an electrician without an apprenticeship?

By investing in yourself and taking the Diploma NVQ route. Our 4 step programme is the perfect example of how you can do this.


What age do most electricians retire?

Most electricians will retire from the tools in their late 50s and early 60's. However you can move into less physical roles to continue working and earning a decent wage for many more years.


What industries can electricians work in?

The list is huge and includes construction, renewable energy, industrial, agricultural, fire protection, lighting, security and power networks. One of the main attractions of the electrical industry is how it ties in with renewable energy sources with many electricians working in EV point installation, wind farming, Solar PV, Heat pump installation and many many more.


How much maths do electricians use?

You will use basic maths and learns some simple equations on your training courses, however these days the rise of mobile apps means much of the hard work can be done on your phone. You still need to understand the maths but you wont have to do it all yourself.


How can I gain experience with an electrician?

The best way is to invest in yourself in terms of training and then make sure you reach out to lots of electricians and offer yourself up for work experience. Remember its a numbers game, you will need to send maybe 100 CV's just to get 1 response. When you do get an opportunity as long as you turn up on time and work hard the likely hood is you will be able to get your foot in the door.


How hard is it to become an electrician?

It's harder than many other trades due to the health and safety legislation. This means you will need to ensure you get the right training and experience. This is one of the main reasons electricians are typically the highest paid of all the trades.


What GCSE’s should I take if I want to become an electrician?

If you can achieve your Science (physics) and Maths GCSE's they will be a huge help when studying later on. However the majority of students who train at Trade Skills 4U are mature learners many of whom don't have these GCSE. That's not a problem as we cover the key topics and help you grasp the key concepts on the courses.


Are there a lot of jobs for electricians?

Yes. Electricians are in great demand. There is a very useful tool here:

What is an NVQ?

An NVQ is not a training programme it is an assessment framework that assess your skills in the workplace. When you have completed your portfolio there is one last assessment known as an AM2 assessment which is the final bit to show you really know your stuff. Most people take 1-2 years to complete an NVQ however it can be completed much quicker if you have a lot of variety in your job or if you have been working for some time and already have the supporting evidence required from previous jobs.





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