So you’ve decided you want to become an electrician. You realise that in order to fully qualify you need to be taken on as an apprentice. There are lots of training providers offering the training but the hard part is finding a job so that you can complete the required portfolio of work in the real world.
One issue most people find is that many electricians are self employed meaning they are not really set up to take on an apprentice. As such electrical apprenticeships places can be hard to find and even harder to get due to the competition for each space.
So here are some top tips to getting your foot in the door and on the first rung of the electrical career ladder:
- First things first, be clear on what you want to do, the type of work it involves, the potential earnings, why being an electrician is suited to you and why you feel you will excel in this field. If you are clear on why you will make a good electrician and why the job will make you happy you will find it much easier to sell yourself to potential employers.
- Get some experience or knowledge in the area – You will probably cover some of the basic principles about electricity at school in science or electronics, however you will really be able to stand out if you already have some basic installation experience. If you can’t get hands on experience go to the library and take out all the books you can that teach you have to do even the most basic electrical installation tasks. However electricity can be dangerous so please don’t start practicing at home unsupervised. Some companies such as Trade Skills 4U offer discounted experience weeks or even free experience days to give you some hands on skills.
- Find a training provider – Work out where you want to train. A key factor will be location and how easily you can make to the training centre. Don’t worry too much about the cost of the course as it is likely that it will be fully funded. A top tip is to choose a specialist provider who is likely to give you the best chance of passing your course. Give them a call and ask them to talk you through the qualification. Make sure they have a proven track record of delivering the course that you want to take.
- Register on Apprenticeship Vacancies – Once registered you will need to do three key things:
- Create a profile advertising yourself – Ensure it is well worded, clear and really sells you to potential employers. Have a friend, family member or teacher review your profile for spelling and grammar.
- Search the Apprenticeship Vacancies Website for vacancies in your area. However be warned the vacancies on the website will be in high demand so don’t just give up here if you can’t find a job in your area on there.
- Set up alerts so that you are informed by email when a vacancy that matches your search comes up. When it does make sure you read carefully what the company is looking for and tailor your application to sell your strengths in these areas.
- Create a CV – Make sure you have your CV ready and a template for a covering letter. Print a few copies but be ready to tailor your CV for the specific vacancies that will arise. Your covering letter should be unique, engaging and address specifically why the company should consider you for the role. Make sure you keep your CV brief. It should be no more that 2 pages and should include a clear summary again emphasising your key skills and how they match to the job that you are applying for. Electricians will be looking for people with technical ability and hands on skills. You probably won’t have hands on installation experience but include anything that may be relevant be that building remote control cars to helping decorate your house. Don’t be afraid to add previous jobs in there even if you think they are not relevant. Employers will be keen to see someone who has some work experience all be it not related.
- Search for trainee jobs everywhere – Don’t just limit your searches to companies looking for an apprentice. Search for a job in your area where people are looking for a trainee or junior. And don’t stop there if you are really dedicated start sending your CV to local companies on a speculative basis. They will be impressed with your initiative and you will be surprised at the response. Remember many company’s won’t respond but keep going. You may have make 100 contacts before you get any joy.
- Make employers aware of the benefits of taking on an apprentice – When you write to potential employer make sure they are aware that your training will be fully funded, that they will receive up £1500 for taking you on and that you will be a dedicated, useful extra pair of hands that they can train to work the way they want you too.
- Look for work experience – To get experience it is always worth offering to help out with electricians in your local area. Even if you have only been making tea at least it shows your dedication to your chosen career and best of all you will make some new contacts in the industry. If you were to spend your spare time gaining some hands on work experience this will pay dividends when you end up with a full time job that pays.
- Don’t Give up – Don’t expect your ideal job to simply land in your lap. Chances are you will need to make numerous applications and put in a lot of work before you find something. If you persevere you will find something suitable.
- Speak with JTL – JTL are the UK’s leading provider of apprenticeships in the constructions sector. They can help you with your initial assessments to see if you are suited to a job as an electrician. They can also help match you to various vacancies in the sector.
They key thing to remember is that if you are keen and work hard at it you will be successful in finding the right job and apprenticeship. Focus your time and efforts on always adding to your skills and promoting these and you can’t go wrong. The one thing most employers look for above all is a positive attitude and the ability to learn. If you want to know more about electrical NVQ’s check out the City & Guilds 2357 or 2365 Course which is now the main route to becoming a fully qualified electrician.
One final option is to fund the training privately. This option will arm you with hands on and theoretical experience which can then be applied to the real world. It does mean that you will be funding the course yourself, however this option will make you much more employable and be the ultimate declaration of your commitment to a career in electrics. It is possible to complete the 2365 training units in around 30 weeks meaning that you can still start re-cooping your investment much sooner that going to university. You will also be able to command a higher wage if you do find a job in which to complete your portfolio of work.
- more – Career Changes
Christos Panayiotou is the marketing manager for Trade Skills 4U the UK’s leading electrical training provider. They specialise in electrician courses for all including the very popular 17th Edition courses which every electrician in the UK has to keep up to date with.
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Good luck in your search.