After conducting a short survey, I had a chat with one of our students Tony Middleton. He was telling me what he has been up to and what he plans to do in the future now he has some qualifications under his belt.
Name: Tony Middleton
Course: Level 2 & 3 2365 January - August 2015
Q. What type of work did you do before becoming an electrician?
I served in the military.
Q. Why did you decide to become an electrician?
I decided to become an electrician because the money is well-paid and there will always be a demand for an electrician. It’s a diverse field and a worldwide profession.
Q. What difference has the course made to your career?
The course completely made a difference. I had worked briefly as an electricians mate on the docks helping re-wire Oil Rigs. I was mostly pulling SWA and clearing up with not a great understanding on why you use this size/type and not a smaller or larger cable. I also didn’t know the difference between RCBO’s and RCD’s.
Q. How long is it since you last studied?
Yesterday! I haven’t been in the profession very long so I regularly study to keep everything fresh. I am also starting my NVQ Level 3 and AM2 in the New Year.
Q. What type of work are you doing now?
I am currently working on a commercial project in my local area.
Q. How long did it take you to find employment once you finished studying?
I found employment the Monday after I finished my course at Trade Skills 4U working on domestic new builds.
Q. What advice would you give to someone who is looking at entering the trade?
I would advise them to try and find employment with a qualified electrician whilst you are studying. This will benefit you massively in the workshop and help you get a better idea of how to apply what you’ve learnt on site.
Q. What are your future plans?
My future plans are to complete my NVQ Level 3 and AM2. Once I am qualified I plan to emmigrate to another country as having a trade skill backing you, such as an electrician will really help my application.
Q. What did you think of Trade Skills 4U?
I found the training centre very helpful. The tutors understand that each student has come from different jobs and backgrounds and adapt their teaching so everyone understands. I would definitely recommend them as a training provider.
We wish Tony the very best of luck with his NVQ and AM2 and his plans to emmigrate.
If you’re newly qualified and decide to go it alone, then pricing up your first few jobs can be tricky if you don’t plan properly.
We’ve collated some processes to consider before dealing with customer requests. This will help you with your pricing structure and make sure you as the electrician are not left out of pocket.
Consumer Unit Change Over
When asked by the customer for the consumer unit to be changed’ it is always a good idea to carry out a Periodic Inspection or at least the ‘dead’ tests on the existing wiring.
It could actually end up costing you money if you fail to carry out the correct tests. If you have already agreed the change of a unit price and haven’t allowed for any unforeseen problems that need to be rectified post board change, you could be out of pocket, as adding on additional costs once you’ve agreed a price with a customer never goes down well. On top of this, you’ll most likely end up running over on your own allocated job time- and you know what they say?! Time is money!
Pre-board Change Over
Ze and Insulation resistance readings are always a good start with domestic properties. If the Ze is too high then this will need to be brought to the attention of the energy provider before you carry out the work. It would then be up to the energy provider to rectify any problems with the existing earthing to the building, this will need to be explained to the customer.
Remember always work safely and use the safe isolation procedure.
Hidden Problems With Electrical Wiring
As mentioned before, insulation readings are important, but even more so when changing a re-wireable BS3036 consumer unit to the modern split load RCD consumer units.
A fault to earth could have been there for a long time on the old fuse board, but with sensitive RCD’s being installed in the new consumer unit these existing faults could cause nuisance tripping. The saying ‘well it worked before’ could be the next thing you hear from the customer. In this instance, always ensure any repairs to the existing wiring are dealt with before the consumer unit change goes ahead. Remember you are the qualified electrician certificating the installation, the customer needs to take advice from you.
When pricing up a job, try and get as much information as possible from the customer when you carry out the initial visit. This information will help to ensure you adequately price the job and that you can allocate the right amount of time per job whilst ordering the correct materials and equipment. Another handy tip is, if you don’t know how long a job is going to take i.e. when fault finding, it might be beneficial to charge per hour rather than price for the complete job, this will provide you and the customer with an indication of a price.
So remember, planning, preparing and ensuring the correct electrical tests are completed before you get into the job will enable you to set a price that will in the long run save you time and money.