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Thinking of training as an electrician? Ask yourself these 5 questions

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 12th February 2016

So you have decided to retrain as an electrician. Some initial research will reveal that before you embark on a change of career there are some decisions you will have to make that may affect the rest of your working life or at least the next few years. Here at Trade Skills 4U we are experts not only in teaching electrical subjects but also in ensuring you choose the right course for you. We are Matrix accredited due to the excellent information advice and guidance that we can provide. So if you do call to speak with a course advisor we may ask you to answer some of the following questions. This will help us identify which course is right for you:

1. Why do you want to work as an electrician? What is your goal? 

This sounds obvious but really this is the first question you must ask yourself. As a career, being an electrician means that you will work with your hands and your head which is one reason many people looking at the trade are drawn to it. However how you perceive your future career is key. Do you want to work for yourself on a range of smaller jobs or would you prefer to be employed on long term contracts or on a permanent basis. These will all have a bearing on the choice you make and the reason is below in question 2.

2. Do you know the difference between “domestic installer” and “fully qualified” routes? 

At present the industry is set up in such a way that new entrants have to choose between becoming a “Fully Qualified Electrician” (who can undertake all types of work domestic, commercial, industrial etc) or a “Domestic Installer” who can only work on residential properties. The key thing is that if you train as a domestic installer and then choose to go fully qualified you will find you may have to repeat some aspects of your training. As a very basic guide Domestic Installers tend to work on a wider variety of smaller jobs and tend to work on a self-employed basis or in very small teams. The commercial (fully qualified) route keeps all of your options open, however this means that you are more likely to find work with a larger contracting company and work on longer contracts or on a permanent basis. Check out our earlier blog post here.

3. How much time and money can you afford to spend getting qualified? 

The difference between going Fully Qualified or Domestic only is significant in terms of time and money. For the initial training with Trade Skills 4U the domestic route costs £2495 and lasts roughly 4 weeks, whereas the fully qualified route you are looking at 16 weeks (over a 30 week period) and a cost of £7490. If you simply can’t afford the time or money to go fully qualified then training as a domestic installer now is a great option to get you out there earning as soon as possible. If if at a later stage you do choose togo fully qualified then you can do this when you are in a better position financially. It does also mean you get your foot in the door and can build up a network of contacts so that when you do train you are in a much better position to complete an NVQ.

4. Do you want to be self-employed? Do you prefer working for someone else? 

Although covered above this really is a crucial question. The thing is both routes can lead to employment and self-employment, however due to the nature of the market in the UK you will find it easier to find longer jobs and permanent roles if you train on the fully qualified route. That is because the domestic installer market is made up of micro businesses who are generally sole traders or have just a few staff.

5. Do you intend to work abroad or in Scotland?

Just as a final spanner in the works it is important to note that the domestic installer scheme covers England and Wales (And even then there may be some variations). If you want to work abroad or in Scotland then you will really want to look at going down the “Fully Qualified” route or you could be wasting your time. Likewise if you are planning on moving to slightly sunnier climes then you will probably want to check with that country which qualifications they accept. It is most likely that you will need to have completed your electrical diplomas and possibly even your NVQ too. However you may want to talk to UK NARIC who can assist in mapping the different international requirements.

As always we would recommend if you are unsure which way to go or the difference between the routes available, simply pick up a phone and speak to one of our course advisors on 01293 52977. They are very knowledgeable and provide simple, clear, honest advice.