Apprentice electrician

An electrical apprenticeship is kind of like a cross between a university course and a full-time job. Apprentices carry out real-life electrical work (under the supervision of an experienced electrician, of course) and get paid for it; but they also spend part of their time in the classroom, studying their new trade and the theory that underpins it. Apprentice electricians typically spend at least 20% of their working hours studying.

Some see the time-honoured apprenticeship route as a rite of passage for budding tradespeople. But an electrical apprenticeship is rarely the most efficient way to get qualified and start your career.

 

The drawbacks of an electrical apprenticeship

An apprenticeship might sound like the best of both worlds, combining the perks of being a student (i.e. self-betterment and opportunities to make new friends) with the benefits of working (i.e. getting paid).

However, apprenticeships have two major downsides:

  • They take years to complete. According to apprenticeships.gov.uk, an apprenticeship can take anywhere from 1 to 6 years. On average, electrical apprenticeships tend to take 3 or 4 years - so if you become an apprentice at the age of 18, there's a good chance you'll turn 21 before you turn professional!

  • Apprentice electricians don't make much money. As an apprentice, you won't be paid anywhere near as much as a fully-fledged pro. According to Indeed, the average salary for an electrician in the UK is £32,415 per year - but an apprentice electrician in the UK makes just £17,467 per year. And as mentioned above, you'll have to wait a few years before you can strike out on your own and start making big money.

 

Why wait years to become a professional electrician?

If you're eager to get qualified and start your electrical career ASAP, there is a speedy alternative to the traditional apprenticeship route.

Here at Access Training Academies, we offer a selection of fast-track electrical courses that are specifically designed to turn novices into fully-qualified electricians as quickly as possible. If you're not thrilled by the prospect of spending the next few years as an apprentice - not making all that much money and working with someone else looking over your shoulder - then our training courses are the perfect alternative.

With our help, you can earn industry-recognised qualifications and achieve 'professional electrician' status in a matter of months. Contact us now to check upcoming course dates, or click the button below to explore your options.

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An Electrician

Are you thinking about becoming an electrician and wondering what a typical working day would look like? In this blog post, we look at the day-to-day life of an electrician and what jobs they tend to do!

 

But first: what exactly is an electrician? 

An electrician is a qualified professional who specialises in a variety of electrical work, such as planning and installing wiring systems, testing and maintaining electrical equipment, and running power supplies to public events.

If you decide to become an electrician, you will have to choose between entering the field as a generalised electrician or working in a specialist niche. This choice will determine what the day-to-day functions of the job are; not all electricians tackle exactly the same tasks.

However, in most areas of this field, the general daily tasks remain the same. 

 

What jobs do electricians do?

Throughout the majority of the working week, general electricians will have to conduct a set of common tasks required by businesses and homeowners. These often involve...

  • Planning, writing and understanding diagrams and floor plans

  • Repairing damaged wiring and equipment using a range of power and hand tools

  • Diagnosing wiring issues, failing components, poor connections and overloaded circuits using specialised tools such as thermal imaging

  • Testing electrical systems and circuits using devices such as oscilloscopes and voltmeters

  • Assessing electrical systems, components and equipment to spot any potential hazards and defects

  • Planning and installing electrical wiring and fixtures based on job specs and local codes

 

Working hours of an electrician 

The majority of electricians work a standard eight-hour shift, five days a week and sometimes even on weekends. However, as an electrician, you should be prepared to work during off-hours too, dealing with the wiring and voltage issues that can occur at any hour of the day. This is common throughout the electrical industry, with many general electricians available for on-call emergency service. 

The work you are assigned will very much depend on the terms of your employment. Whether you're an independent contractor or working for an established company, you will either set your own schedule of work or be assigned jobs to complete across a variety of different sites. 

One thing's for sure, though: all electricians should be prepared to work for longer than planned. Once you begin working, you can quickly discover that the one job you were assigned to do is just a small part of a much bigger problem that will take more time to fix.

 

More on the jobs electricians do

As you can see from the information above, working as a successful electrician requires a wide range of specialised skills, as well as good reading comprehension and analysing in order to determine the best route to success for each individual job.

Because of the danger and complexity of electrical work, it is essential that you study and learn from qualified and experienced professionals. 

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Additional Resources:

 

Man training for a career in electrical engineering

An electrical engineer is someone who designs electrical systems. This can mean anything from assisting with the construction of new homes to planning nationwide energy networks.

As you can probably imagine, this line of work demands a lot of expertise, but if you've got the right qualifications, a career in electrical engineering can be very lucrative indeed. According to payscale.com, the average salary for an electrical engineer in the UK is just over £32,000 per year - and some earn significantly more than that.

Electrical engineers are employed by all sorts of different industries, including:

  • Construction
  • Energy
  • Transport
  • Manufacturing
  • Defence

 

What's the Difference Between an Electrician and an Electrical Engineer?

While 'electrician' and 'electrical engineer' are often used interchangeably, they are - strictly speaking - two different professions. You wouldn't hire an electrical engineer to come and fix your oven, and most jobbing electricians aren't qualified to design large-scale electrical systems.

So what exactly is the difference? Well, this is something of an oversimplification (and there is a certain amount of overlap between the two roles) but broadly speaking, electrical engineers DESIGN the jobs that electricians then CARRY OUT. Think of the electrical engineer as a composer, and the electrician as a concert pianist; one writes the music, the other performs it.

 

How to Become an Electrical Engineer

If you simply want to work as a domestic electrician, you will need the following qualifications (which make up our Essential Electrical Course):

  • Part P Domestic Installer
  • 18th Edition Wiring Regulations
  • Building Regulations for Electrical Installations in Dwellings

If you want to pursue a career in electrical engineering, you will need to know how to design electrical systems. Our Electrical Design Course (which includes a Level 4 design and verification qualification) is recommended for candidates who already have some professional electrical experience under their belts.

Beginners who wish to forge a career in electrical engineering may be interested in our Premier Electrical Course - this comprehensive training package consists of eight different qualifications, covering everything from basic electrical theory all the way through to the design and verification of new installations. No prior knowledge or experience is required to enrol on this course.

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If you want to become an electrical engineer but you're not sure where to start, please contact Access Training Academies today - our course advisors will start you down the path to your new career.

Can an Electrician Install a Vehicle Charger?

 

With more and more people shifting towards a sustainable-focused lifestyle, there is no surprise that the demand and popularity in environmentally-friendly living solutions have increased. More people are buying into and investing in green alternatives in their day-to-day lives, particularly the vehicles that they drive and ride.

Despite both pure electric and hybrid electric vehicles, commonly referred to as EV’s, only accounting for a small share of the new car market in the UK, figures have steadily grown in the past few years. However, one of the primary concerns amongst the public is the lack of charging infrastructure available. This presents an opportunity for individuals who are skilled and qualified in installing electric charging points to accommodate homes and businesses that may require the needed infrastructure. But who can install a vehicle charger? Any qualified, experienced electrician can. Having this skill within your arsenal can be a lucrative opportunity for experienced electricians. As more people turn to electric vehicles, more people will need charging points installed, thus creating increased work!

Here at Access Training Academies, we now offer a fantastic 2-day electrical vehicle charging point installation course, designed for experienced electrical installers who are looking to add this niche skill to their range of electrical abilities. Completion of this course will allow electricians to achieve the Level 3 Award in the Requirements for the Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Points and enable them to register on the Rolec approved installer scheme, which can lead to a number of rob referrals and grants of up to £500 per installation through the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

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Course Requirements

Before applying for our electrical vehicle charging point installation course, electricians are required to meet the following criteria:

  • Aged 18+
  • Experience of installing PVC/PVC cable and SWA cable
  • Ability to provide initial verification on electrical installations (including paperwork)
  • Up-to-date knowledge of 18th Edition Wiring Regulations

As well as possessing the above, the main thing that is required from electricians looking to become qualified in installing vehicle charges is competence. EV charging point installations can be very dangerous as there can be very high charging currents and the risk of exporting the PME earth if not installed correctly. Electricians need to understand earthing and bonding relating to EV charge points and the general requirements of the installation such as selecting the correct RCD’s, having the dedicated circuits and isolation. Installing an electric vehicle charger isn’t the same as installing a standard 13A socket. There are specific regulations, such as BS7671:2018 Section 722 and the Code of Practice for Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment Installation – 3rd Edition, that outline all of the necessary information associated with EV charger installation.

Benefits

If you feel that you have the required level of competence, then completing our course can be a very attractive option for any experienced electrician. Once approved by OLEV, you will need to provide monthly reports to the scheme. After every install, you will need to provide specific documentation in order to claim back the government grant. If you work in an efficient manner and manage overheads properly, the returns on installing EV chargers can be huge.

If you’re getting an EV charge point installed at your home or business, then you will need to ensure that your installer has sat a necessary course and has achieved the required qualifications. If they haven’t, then these electricians are at risk of breaching the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR 1989) which is a statutory requirement. They could potentially be installed charge points that do not meet BS7671 or EAWR 1989, which puts you at risk.

If you are thinking about adding EV charge point installation to your skillset and would like to learn more about how Access Training can help, then click below to learn more about our course.

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To learn more about our course, the requirements and what happens on completion, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our team today.

 

Essential Tools for Electricians

No matter what trade you happen to work in, you’ll most definitely have a preferred set of tools that you use to get a job done. For electricians, there will be some tools that you will swear by, whilst others may believe they’re not that important. However, there are a number of tools that are absolutely essential for all electricians not only to get a job done safely but effectively and to an excellent standard.

Here we provide a list of some of the essential tools for electricians and what they are used for:

  1. Multimeter

A multimeter measures a number of electrical properties such as voltage, current and resistance. They are available as analogue or digital devices with newer models featuring a host of sophisticated bells and whistles such as thermal imaging cameras and Bluetooth.

 

  1. Voltage Tester

Working as an electrician, it’s crucial to know whether a wire or device is ‘live’ because if you do find yourself working on something that is live, there could well be some dangerous consequences. Used for a fast safety check to ensure there is no voltage in an electrical wire or device, voltage testers absolutely vital. If available, it’s recommended to use a non-contact voltage tester as these can detect electricity without ever touching the wire or outlet.

 

  1. Wire Strippers

With a variety of holes to enable you to work with different size wires, strippers are used to cut and strip insulation from the wire. The handle of the strippers should always be comfortable to hold and easy to grip. Some wire stripper will even be made with cutting teeth so you can trim the wire ends at the same time.

 

  1. Circuit Finder

Circuit directories are not always easy to find in some homes and at times, the service panel is very rarely matched with the complementary breaker. This is where a circuit finder comes in! Simply plug the transmitter into the outlet and detector will figure out where the matching directory is. Circuit finders are also a very handy piece of equipment to trace a circuit.

 

  1. Specialised Screwdrivers and Nut Drivers

Even though they may not seem like trade-specific pieces of equipment and indeed, they’re not, as most people around the world are sure to have some form of screw or nut driver in their personal toolbox. However, there are some screw and nut drivers that have been manufactured specifically for electrical work.

 

Aside from specialised drivers, it’s important to make sure you always have Philips head and flathead screwdrivers with you at all times. Whether it’s removing and installing switches, outlets, cover plates or other devices, these tools will always come in handy. Be sure to have a variety of size options also, as this will keep you well-equipped for any task.

 

  1. Pliers

A good, solid pair of pliers is a must-have for any and every electrician. Handles need to be comfortable and easy to grip, that open and close is a nice, smooth manner. Having several size options again would be ideal to suit a range of tasks. Besides the traditional pair of pliers, there are others that will most definitely come in handy for any sparky. These include:

  • Side-cutting and diagonal-cutting – Used to cut wires to specific lengths
  • Tongue and groove – Used to remove knockouts from metal electrical boxes and tighten clamps.
  • Needle-nose or long nose – Made with thin, grasping ends, these pliers make it easier to reach small spaces.

 

  1. Fish Tape

Also known as ‘draw wire’ or ‘electricians snake’, this handy tool is used to pull and push stranded or sold wire through a conduit or fishing cables across ceilings or down walls. It can be retracted and deployed when needed as it comes on a reel which always means it’s easy to grip.

 

  1. Multi-Functional Tester

Without a doubt, one of the most essential tools for an electrician, the multi-functional tester or MFT is a requirement for any electrician to ensure that any installation is correctly installed and that all test readings meet the requirements as laid out in the IET regulations.

 

  1. Battery Drill

Battery drills are used by electricians to drill holes in wood, walls or other tough surfaces and fixing screws and fasteners onto surfaces. The type of drill used will vary depending on the task-at-hand, for example, a lower-voltage cordless drill might be used when fastening work is required. Whereas for drilling into concrete, a hammer drill would be used as this provides increased impact and will drill holes at a faster rate.

 

  1. Electrical Wall Chaser

A fantastic time-saving tool, electric wall chasers are used to cut narrow grooves and channels into walls in order to install cables or a conduit. The electric motor powers electric discs similar to those found in angle grinders and some even come with a vacuum cleaner connection, allowing for great dust-free working environments.

 

And there you have it, the best and most essential tools for electricians! For those of you just starting out your career in the electrical industry, we hope our list of top tools can help provide you with some quality additions to your toolbox to help make your electrical work safer and much more efficient. To those of you who are considering entering the electrical industry, we can also help with our range of electrician courses! All of which guarantee the skills, knowledge and qualifications needed to embark on a successful career as an electrician.

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