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Case Study - David Murby

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 31st July 2018

Electrician Case Study

Name: David Murby

Company: Prospect Electrics

Course: Bronze Package, C&G 2377, C&G 2391

What did you do before you trained to be an electrician?

I left school and went to university to do a degree in physics. After graduating I started working for the then TSB Group as a programmer. I spent 25 years working with software for various companies in banking, warehousing and then for many years in motor insurance. I progressed up the career ladder from programmer to manager to IT Director, finally ending up as the Managing Director of a division of a FTSE 100 company. As I gained ‘promotions’ I moved further and further away from the activities I enjoyed, so I decided to go self employed as a contractor and interim manager. After completing one long contract, I was trying to figure out what to do next as I was getting a little frustrated working on long term projects that I managed but didn’t produce anything directly myself.

I have a very close friend from school, Norman, who after many years working for a bank became an electrician about 10 years ago, so I was inspired by his change of career. I was fortunate that I had a little money in the bank so was able to take some time to train and then invest in the business to set myself up.  After the initial training with Trade Skills 4U I was able to spend some time with Norman to learn many of the real-world practical skills that it’s almost impossible to learn in a classroom.

Which courses have you taken with Trade Skills 4U and why?

I took the Silver Domestic installer package initially as my aim was, and still is, to focus on the domestic installation business.

After about 6 months I took the 2391-52 Inspection and Testing course as I felt this would greatly improve my testing and inspection knowledge as well as allow me to carry out EICRs, which has been really useful to my business.

What was your training experience like with Trade Skills 4U?

I thought the set-up in Gatwick was excellent. The facilities are very good and very professional. The instructors are really knowledgeable and approachable and the support team that back them up are very helpful. When I was looking to do the 2391-52 I looked briefly at other facilities nearer to me in Reading but very quickly made the decision that it was worth the travelling to go back to Trade Skills 4U.

Tell us about your electrical business and how these course have helped you?

My business is just me and it has built up well over the 18 months since I started. I’m fortunate that I have been able to build up the projects I’ve done over time from simple light fitting changes and socket installations, right through to outdoor garden lighting projects and a three-story extension full wiring first and second fit.

The courses I’ve done have given me all the theoretical knowledge I’ve needed to do all of this, although I do find myself regularly going back to the books of course. Building up the practical knowledge carefully, making sure I don’t take on anything I was unsure about my capability for and having my old school friend Norman around as a sounding board, has enabled me to do the practical stuff that the courses equipped me for.

What are your plans for your business?

I’m happily going to stay on my own, building a solid business with a good reputation. Word of mouth has been very helpful to me already and I think many of the skills I had before I changed career have positioned me well, complementing the electrical knowledge I’ve gained. Skills like organisation, communication and customer focus that are common to any business regardless of industry.

Are you planning on taking any other courses to add to your revenue stream?

I thought about doing the Solar installer course but that not is so much of a job for someone on their own. Also I decided that at 50 I’m a little old to be climbing around on roofs! I may well do the Electric Vehicle Installer Course but at the moment I seem to be busy enough with the core domestic work.  Clearly, I’m going to need to do the 18th Edition updates and future revisions to keep up to date.

What has your experience been like working in the industry?

I get great pleasure from the feeling of completion I get from finishing something every week, and sometimes every day. Coming from software projects that can drag on for months and sometimes years without any obvious major output milestones this is very refreshing. When you get to the end of the day, press the switch and the lights come on and the customer is very happy, it is a great feeling.

I’ve also found it interesting coming from an industry where I could be involved in multi-million-pound projects where there is very individual accountability when things go wrong. In this industry you can go and do a project that could take as little as a day and be of the order of a couple of hundred pounds and, if it is done wrong, there is real danger to the customer and true accountability for the contractor (you can go to prison in the extreme). Part of the job is educating the customer because what seems simple to them can often involve a lot more than they think and I now see why the public often undervalue the skilled trades. This is where being a member of the NICEIC has been useful to me and I see that NAPIT, ELECSA and other trade bodies are trying hard to get the public to understand the needs to have correctly trained people carry out work.

What advice would you give to someone looking to train as an electrician?

Get a good mentor – I could not have done this without my friend Norman who has been an inspiration and sounding block throughout the whole process. You need someone you can discuss things with and learn from. Also, have a good financial plan so you know what you are getting into as the set-up costs are not small if you want to do this properly.

How would you describe the facilities and training at Trade Skills 4U?

Firstly, all the instructors I dealt with were first class. They explained everything clearly and sometimes from two or three different approaches to allow for the different learning styles of different class members. They have great experience (and great patience) to draw upon.

The facilities are very good for learning. There is plenty of practical application and opportunity to get on the tools as well as the theoretical learning. The balance between the two in the Silver course I did was really good.

We would like to thank David for sharing his experiences with us and wish him well for the future.

Categories: qualifications, case study, electrician, trade

Case Study Kenny Whittle

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 24th May 2018

 

Course: 2365 Level 2 & 3

1. What did you do before you started training to be an electrician?

Before training at Trade Skills 4U, I worked in asset management. 

2. What was your reason for training?

I chose to train as an electrician because I had grown tired with working in an office environment and travelling to the same place of work day after day. I wanted abit more variety.

3. Why did you choose the electrical field?

Before becoming an asset manager, I worked in a factory producing vehicle wiring harnesses, thus, electrical work was the obvious choice. Also, working as an electrician would allow me to work in different locations and earn good money at the sme time so it met my needs.

4. Are you working as an electrician whilst studying?

I started working as an electrician 2 months into my level 2 course, for a company that maintains the electrical systems in a newspaper printers whilst also taking on various other contracts.The 2365 course allowed me to come into the industry and prove useful to the team on day one. I also noticed that as I progressed through the course, I could continue to take on more responsibility and tasks.

5. What do you enjoy most about the course? 

As a fan of science, particularly physics, I enjoyed learning about the theory behind electricity and how to carry out cable calculations.

6. Are you struggling with any of the topics?

So far, I haven't struggled with any of the topics or modules.

7. How would you describe the facilities at TS4U?

TS4U facilities are excellent. At no point did the group lose out due to facilities not being adequate.

8. Do you have any plans to gain more electrical qualifications?

I will use TS4U in the near future to get my inspection and testing certificate. Doing the course, and it being so diverse has made me realise how much I enjoy the theoretical and designing side of the industry. So I am contemplating further qualifications in that field.

9. What advice would you give to others thinking of taking the 2365?

Just sign up and change your life for the better. The course is over before you know it and then you are away. I am disappointed with myself I didn't do it sooner.

10. What are your plans for the future?

I will spend a few years on the tools as was my initial reason for starting the course, but eventually I would like to go into designing installations and perhaps teaching later on.

Categories: qualifications, case study, electrician, trade

Case Study - Libby Rush

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 27th March 2018

 

Name: Libby Rush

Course: Bronze + PAT

Libby is studying Engineering at university and decided to come to Trade Skills 4U to gain some more hands on experience. Here, she discusses how she found the course and why more women should enter the trade.

1. What is your reason for training?

I'm training as part of my graduate engineering scheme to improve my practical skills and become more familiar with building and wiring regulations.

2. Tell us why you decided to train as an electrican?

My employer has sent me to this course because at university I had very little hands on experience, since traditional education has a very heavy focus on science and design theory. This scheme puts that theory into the context of the real world and demonstrates the additional considerations needed to successfully design a circuit.

3. How long have you been working in the electrical industry?

I graduated from a 4 year university course in 2017 and have been in my role for 6 months.

4. Tell us about your current job? 

I am a graduate control, electrical and instrumentation engineer so my day to day includes a lot of computer based design. As part of the development programme I will be moving around different departments so I can learn more about how they work.

5. Why did you decide to take the Bronze course?

My employer has sent previous employees to Trade Skills 4U and received really positive feedback about the scheme so they've to incorporated it into the graduate development programme. 

6. Tell us about your experience with TS4U?

My experience at trade skills 4u has been absolutely fantastic, the support available for people like me with little knowledge in the subject was incredible. All the staff I've found to be really approachable as well as professional.

7. What did you enjoy most about the course?

The interactive way the courses were taught which allowed for back and forth of questions was a great way to build a rapport with the instructor and create a more comfortable learning environment. Teaching theory along side the practical elements also really helped me relate what we were doing in the workrooms to something I knew about.

8. What did you find most challenging about the course?

Jumping in day one into a pure practical exercise was challenging for me whilst other students were really in their element. It was the first time I got hand cramp outside of an exam, trying to keep up with everyone else.

9. Do you have any advice for women who are thinking of entering the trade?

I recommend finding a balance between powering through on your own and knowing when to ask for help. Working together and talking through problems is one of the best ways to learn and also break the ice, but don't be afraid to say no and that you want to do it by yourself. Ultimately, if someone else is over your shoulder and offering to tweak your work it won't benefit anyone in the long run.

10. Do you think there’s plenty of opportunities for those working in the electrical industry?

I've found a lot of opportunities within my area when I was looking for training schemes. It's such a vast industry there are so many levels to jump in on.

We wish Libby the best of luck with the rest of her training and new job!

Categories: qualification, case study, electrician, trade

Case Study - Michael Williams

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 20th February 2018

 

Name: 

Michael Williams

Course: 

2365 Level 2 & 3

What was your job before training as an electrician and why did you choose the electrical trade?

Before, I ran my own powder coating company. I had grown tired of having unreliable staff and being forced to work excessive amounts of hours in order to meet unrealistic deadlines for demanding customers. I wanted to find a career where I could work on my own and be able to properly plan my workload.

I already had an interest in electronics from school and I've always been fascinated by cutting edge technologies. Adding all these elements together, training as an electrician seemed like the perfect solution.

Why did you take the 2365 Level 2 & 3?

It offered the most comprehensive training for someone wanting to enter into the electrical industry without going through the apprenticeship route.

What did you enjoy most about the course?

I really enjoyed learning all the theory and reasoning behind electrical installations. Knowing why things are done a certain way meant that I started to see the everyday world in a different light. We had a great tutor in Adam Ormesher, who really engaged with the whole class and kept the content interesting throughout.

What did you find most challenging?

Definitely the lighting circuits in the practical! There are so many different ways to wire them up that I often got a bit lost.

Can you tell us what you’re doing now?

I have started up on my own as an electrician. I am mostly sub-contracting to other, well established firms in order to build up my practical experience, but I do get the odd offer of my own work through friends and family.

What are your future plans to grow your business?

I have already returned to Trade Skills 4U and taken the PAT testing qualification. I will be back again for the inspection and testing course, the electric car charging point and the 18th edition course (when it is released). I want to arm myself with as much knowledge as possible so I am able to take on whatever work is offered to me.

What advice would you give to someone looking at training to become an electrician?

Work hard. Sometimes you may not grasp part of it straight away, but if you ask for help and stick with it, it will all make sense eventually. It is a really satisfying career choice, seeing a project through from beginning to end (no matter what it is) and having a pleased and grateful customer at the end of the day is a brilliant feeling.

Why did you choose TS4U?

Their training structure of 2 weeks on the course then the following 2 weeks back at home suited me perfectly. It allowed me to continue running my company as I trained ultimately leading to me selling it to move in to the electrical industry full time.

 

Thank you Michael for taking the time to tell us about your experience, we wish you luck in building your career as an electrician. 

Categories: qualification, employment, case study, electrician, trade

Are Electricians Jobs Safe from Robots?

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 5th January 2018

As technology constantly evolves, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) becomes more advanced, there’s the risk of robots potentially taking human jobs.

Discussions have been taking place to establish whether people will lose their jobs in the future and which professions are most likely to be affected. It was reported from a study undertaken by McKinsey & Company that about 30% of tasks in 60% of occupations could be carried out by robots and labour jobs could be most affected. There’s a possibility that routine-physical jobs will initially take the hardest hit including; cleaning, automotive, waitressing, manufacturing and warehouse jobs. Places such as Mac Donald’s have already adopted an automated kiosk approach that takes customers’ orders, cutting out all human contact.  There’s divided opinion on whether AI will eventually takeover more intellectual jobs such as administration or financial roles and how quick this will happen.

Bricklaying Robots are here already

New York based company, Construction Robotics, has already created a bricklaying robot called SAM (Semi-Automated Mason) who can lay 3000 bricks a day, in comparison to builder who can lay an average of 500 bricks a day. Similarly, Australia has introduced a largescale bricklaying robot which can lay 1000 bricks an hour and could build approximately 150 homes a year. At this moment in time, there are set-backs for using these machines, SAM cannot deal with corners and the machine setup is timely which can delay the onsite process, SAM also needs human assistance to fully complete its bricklaying task.

Introducing new machinery like SAM poses a serious threat to builders working onsite, even though they require some human assistance thousands could lose their jobs once these machines are used onsite.

Modular Homes

Another potential threat to tradesmen is the increase of prefabricated homes. The UK has seen a steady growth in people opting for a prefab home as it gives them the opportunity to create and design their own home without the lengthy and complex building process they can also save a lot of money in comparison to buying a home. The latest prefab homes are hard-wearing with the exterior being built in three to four days. This means electricians will have to adapt their job role slightly. Instead of conducting a full installation, an electrician will have to test, certify and connect the main points of the electrics within the home to the land. They may also be required to work within the factory making sure the electrics are all installed correctly. Currently, when purchasing a prefab home, the company specify the customer will have to use their employees to fully set-up home, if the popularity of these homes increases this may change in the future.

Supporters of prefab homes partially blame the shortage of skilled labour for the increase of modular houses. The rapid retirement rate of UK construction workers, has meant housebuilding companies have had to embrace new building techniques. Along with the introduction of virtual construction software being integrated into the production line process means the construction industry is ready for a big change.

What jobs are safe from AI?

There are jobs which will remain safe from the evolution of AI, jobs that requires a lot of dexterity, hand-eye coordination and flexibility. Skilled trade jobs such as electricians will remain safe due to the varying challenges in different environments, which will prove difficult for machines. Jobs that require empathy and creativity will also remain safe, these include; nurses, teachers, designers.

Optimists also believe that although AI may initially create employment loss, in the long run it will create higher employment rates. What a machine takes away will also give back with new industries and entirely new job roles, these fields include; computing, data science and engineering. They also believe robots will eventually enhance the productivity of job roles as they will work alongside electricians and teachers helping with more tasks including checking homework or assisting onsite.

The speed in which the changes will happen differ when considering the high financial cost of inventing and introducing new technology as well as the public adopting to a life with less human interaction.

 

Categories: electrician, artificial intelligence, robots, trade