Starting a career as an electrician

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by james_15, Sep 14, 2018.

  1. james_15

    james_15 New Member

    I've decided it's time for a career change. One option I'm seriously considering is a self-employed domestic electrician. I have a genuine interest in electrics and like the idea of being able to work for myself, and it's something I think I can see myself doing.

    So my question is, what advice do you have for someone considering this career path? What qualifications and experience do I need, and how can I get them? And is there anything else I should be aware of?
  2. DIY womble

    DIY womble Well-Known Member

    The only thing you need to know is to trim your cables , coil them in the back box and cover with cardboard , cheers in advance
    Squashrobinson likes this.
  3. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    You will face a wave of negativity from the so-called time served sparks who will resent you for doing it. That's what I faced when I changed 15 years ago. The time served bunch think they are the only ones who have a right to be an electrician. The correct path to doing what you have in mind will be to embark on a C&G electricians course, whatever the latest is, and start there. if you are young enough to be able to get an apprenticeship that would also help. Going it alone without any experience at all is a hard slog, the hardest is facing the chip-on-their-shoulder brigade but if you are hard skinned then you will be okay. You will quickly spot them they sound just like the trade union members and mumble stuff about five-day wonders and things like that.
    Coloumb likes this.
  4. MGW

    MGW Well-Known Member

    Big question is how are you going to live while you train? The standard route takes about two years, but is block release, if you can't live with block release the big question is there any one near you doing day release courses?

    My dad trained with night classes, when it came to my turn there were no night classes, so had to use day release, when my son came to do it, no day release in this area, so instead of a recognised course, he did the add on courses C&G2382, 2391 etc. Then he used open university to get I think a HND.

    The big problem is the exams no longer exist like they did, you have qualifications which take into account course work, and even if you could sit the exams the maths is rather complex, best is likely once you have the bits of paper you will never use the maths, can't think of a single job where I needed to use imaginary numbers, but they are required to work out power factor, not that I have ever worked it out after leaving education.

    The problem is courts are not very forgiving, you could likely work as an electrician with very little in the way of paper qualifications, until some thing goes wrong. Then you need to prove you knew what you were doing, and clearly if some thing has gone wrong, saying I have done the job for 6 months is not going to show you know the dangers.

    So for domestic you will need to be a scheme member, so even blaging it, you need what the scheme provider asks for, I have a list of paper qualifications including a degree, I have worked as an electrician since around 1972, before that I worked as a motor vehicle and bridge builder, started with auto electrics, then traffic lights, then water pumps, each time taking more courses and exams, worked in Algeria, Falklands, and Hong Kong, I have designed and built complex PLC controlled production lines, worked for many of the big firms Laing, GEC etc. Yet when I wanted to move to domestic, the major scheme providers said no. So what chance do you think you have?

    Oh and yes before 2004 I did a lot of domestic work, and I have got 2391 etc. And yes was a member of the IET until I retired.
  5. Coloumb

    Coloumb Well-Known Member

    I've never worked in the trade yet could EASILY give up my day job and start sparking if I wanted to.

    Don't listen the hators, domestic sparking is not rocket science.
    longboat likes this.
  6. Bazza-spark

    Bazza-spark Well-Known Member

    You will need to get the 18th Edition course and the test and inspect. The Part P scheme providers will require them.

    You can start with small jobs while you are training, modifications to circuits etc, but don't take anything notifiable as you can't provide the paperwork.

    For me, I did a fully indentured apprenticeship so am time served, but as unphased and coloumb have said, (both very knowledgable), you may find some treat you as an underdog. Get some experience so you build up your confidence and don't rush. That is when mistakes are made.

    Kind regards
    unphased and Coloumb like this.
  7. Comlec

    Comlec Well-Known Member

    Go for it. I am a scheme member and not through a tradition route - mainly self study. But I did come form an engineering background. As other have said it is the experience that is hard to acquire.
  8. james_15

    james_15 New Member

    Thanks for the advice. At the moment it's just one option I'm considering, but you've given me something to think about, which will help me to make an informed decision.
  9. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    ...then there are customers. OMG, good luck with those!
    DIY womble likes this.
  10. Risteard

    Risteard Well-Known Member

    No you couldn't.
  11. Coloumb

    Coloumb Well-Known Member

    Yes I could.

    AND I would do it better than you.

    The main difference being I understand BS7671 and you do not.
  12. Risteard

    Risteard Well-Known Member

    I most certainly do understand it. That's why I have a Design & Verification qualification in addition to all the other ones including Inspection & Testing.
  13. Coloumb

    Coloumb Well-Known Member

    Any muppet can pass the Design & Verification qualification. If I wanted to I could pass it.

    With ease.

    AND with a higher score than you. I expect I would get 100/100.

    I'm also much cleverer than you as well.
  14. Risteard

    Risteard Well-Known Member

    Really? I have four A-levels.

    You're a very abrasive fellow.
  15. Comlec

    Comlec Well-Known Member

  16. Risteard

    Risteard Well-Known Member

    Indeed @Coloumb is a bore, and frankly he's not a very nice person either.
  17. Coloumb

    Coloumb Well-Known Member

    It is.

    Tedious and unnecessary.
  18. spinlondon

    spinlondon Well-Known Member

    I understand BS7671 better than both of you, so ner.
  19. Risteard

    Risteard Well-Known Member

    LOL, well you obviously believe that you do anyhow.
  20. DIY womble

    DIY womble Well-Known Member

    I don't need to understand be whatever , I just need a decent pair of snips to trim those cables , today I have a room full of down lights hanging down, I think you spark's call it progress and as anyone can plaster its easy peasy to just go around them all, I will probably service my van and write a novel at the same time
    Jord86 likes this.

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