An electrician may go by many names – electrical fitter, installation electrician, electrical technician, electrical engineer, or even the more colloquial “sparky” – but the job will always involve some form of fitting, servicing, or fixing of electrical equipment, wiring, circuits, or even machinery.
Similar to other construction apprenticeships such as plumbing, the benefit of learning the trade through an electrician apprenticeship is that you earn while you learn. An electrician’s average starting salary is £18,000 with experienced electricians earning as much as £40,000 on average.
Many electricians start their careers through an apprenticeship. If you enjoy problem solving and working with your hands, then read on to find out what electrician apprenticeships entail and what you need to do to take your first steps into this in-demand trade.
Interested? Here’s how to get started
You can apply for an electrical apprenticeship even if you are still in education, but you will need to find an employer before starting the apprenticeship.
In addition to a regular apprenticeship, there are also installation electrician advanced apprenticeships which you can apply for. These normally require you to have 5 GCSEs at grades grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including Maths and English.
It is worth using a variety of search terms when looking for an electrician apprenticeship. As mentioned before, a sparky can go by many names, so keep an eye out for various jobs roles including: electrician, electrical engineer, electrical technician, electrical fitter, and installation technician.
Do you have what it takes?
There are some key skills and attributes that an employer looks out for when taking on an electrician apprentice. The most common are:
- Problem solving skills
- Ability to work with your hands and use equipment/tools safely
- Able to use your initiative
- Maths knowledge to understand technical plans
- Customer service skills
- Ability to work with others
- Attention to detail
Unfortunately, if you are colour blind then you will be unable to apply for electrical apprenticeships due to health and safety reasons.
So what does an electrician do exactly?
As an electrician, every day can be different. You could find yourself working either indoors or outdoors for a client at their home or on a construction site with other trades. Essentially, you will be bringing power and electricity to where it is needed.
This means an electrician will be called in to install a power system, lighting, fire alarm systems, or even security systems. You may also be called to maintenance jobs where electrical systems need to be made safe or checked over if they are not operating properly.
Another key role an electrician can play is as a panel builder, sometimes called an electrotechnical panel builder. This role involves the installation and maintenance of electrical power or control cabinets that are used to operate a building’s heating or lighting systems or machines. Similarly, an electrician could also find themselves repairing electrical machines, motors, or transformers that are more commonly found in industrial factories.
An electrician will know the ins and outs of equipment and systems including switchboards, cables, wires, relays, fault current protection, motors, fuses. Meters, and much more.
Think it sounds confusing or too technical? An apprenticeship could be the way to go so that you learn from an experienced mentor who can supervise and teach you the basics and allow you to develop into a knowledgeable and proficient electrician.
Where will an electrician apprenticeship take me?
Ultimately, an apprenticeship will help you learn the trade and allow you to take on more responsibilities as part of your progression to becoming a qualified and certified electrician.
Once you have gained experience, you could set up your own company and become a self-employed sparky. Alternatively, you may become interested in becoming an electrical design engineer, site manager, or even move into consultancy and training roles.
If this sounds like a career path worth taking, then the power is in your hands. Search for an electrician apprenticeship now.