​On The Job: Electricians In The United Kingdom

Posted by Cory List on 15th Sep 2015

An electrician is the one responsible in installing and maintaining electrical circuits and wirings in residential and commercial buildings. In becoming an electrician, one must be good in practical work and should have developed technical skills and attention to details. Having good math and physics skills should also come in handy.

There are various roles for electrotechnical careers. An individual may opt to be either an installation or a maintenance technician. An installation electrician installs power systems in all types of buildings while a maintenance electrician regularly checks systems for safety. An electrician can also choose to be an electrotechnical panel builder. These are the ones who build and install control panels that operate electrical systems. A machine repair and rewind electrician does the repairing and maintaining of electrical motors and other machineries while a highway systems electrician does the installing and maintaining of street lights and traffic management systems.

The regular working load for an electrician is around 37 hours for five times a week, overtime excluded. A salary of £19,000 to £22,000 a year can be earned by a newly-qualified electrician. This can escalate to around £23,000 to £30,000 with increased work experience.

To be a certified an electrician in the United Kingdom, there are different routes an individual can take. If an aspiring electrician has no previous experience on the job yet, they may first have to undergo the apprenticeship route wherein they will work under the supervision of an experienced electrician while at the same time studying electrical training courses. To become a qualified electrician, apprentices must complete the Apprentice Framework Qualifications and once a certain stage is reached, they will have to take a Practical Performance Assessment. After two to four years of apprenticeship, they will by then be able to get to level three of the Electrotechnical National Vocational Qualification.

If, however, they are already working in the electrical industry but do not have the qualifications needed, then another way is to become an Adult Trainee Electrician. These electricians can qualify as apprentices even past the age 25. Through this route, they should be able to complete the City and Guilds 2357 qualification. Once the C and G 2357 is completed, they can already apply to the Joint Industry Board for an Electrotechnical Certification Scheme Gold Card.

The third route is the retraining route for the adult electricians. This involves studying the City and Guilds 2330 at a college and getting work experience to be able to complete the National Vocation Qualification.

There is also the full time electrical courses route for those who choose to study full time before considering an apprenticeship.

From 2014, those who want to enter the field of electrical industry are also given the opportunity to train as domestic electricians. After completing their training, they are already allowed to earn income by working on people’s homes.

Understanding NVQ

TheNational Vocation Qualification, or NVQ, is based on practical assessment. Completion of technical courses will transfer the trainees in a specific workplace to assess their applied skills. In each evaluation, a portfolio must be built to serve as an evidence of the individual’s ability to do work. After finishing the portfolio, the trainee will move on to the Achievement Measure Number Two, or AM2. This would be the final assessment wherein given tasks must be accomplished. An NVQ diploma will be granted after the completing the AM2 assessment and would mean qualification to be an electrician.

Licensing Requirements

It is always recommended that households hire electricians who are registered with one of the Governing Bodies and Competent Person Scheme providers. Legal requirements for electrical works differ in each country in the UK.

In England and Wales, Registered Competent Person (Electrical) website (www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk) has the list of all registered domestic electricians.National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting(NICEIC), Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA), ECA Certification trading (ELECSA), National Association of Professional Inspectors and Testers (NAPIT) Registration Ltd., and British Standards Institution are the only organizations approved by the Government for the registration of electricians in compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations.

In Scotland, the Scottish Government, whose website is at http://www.certificationregister.co.uk/, and the Registered Competent Person (Electrical) also have a database for all registered electricians. NICEIC and Electrical Contractors’ Association of Scotland (SELECT) are the two organizations approved by the Government for the registration of electricians in compliance with the Building Standards system.

In Northern Ireland, there are no statutory requirements for domestic electricians but NICEIC, ECA, and NAPIT Registration Ltd. have installers that could carry out electrical work for households.