Due to the exciting choices available, the electrical industry offers jobs that many people choose. Often (and more correctly) referred to as ‘Electro-Mechanical Engineering’, we’ll simply refer to it as the Electrical Industry for the sake of simplicity here. Furthermore, we will focus on the UK market and the domestic and commercial elements rather than those from elsewhere around the world. As this is such a wide ranging subject matter we’ll begin by sticking to the main area first and come back to the ‘add-ons’ later.
On consideration, we observe two forms of access into the electrical market. Initially there’s the more traditional apprenticeship approach, but equally there is now an alternative, suited to those who are keen to enter later in their life. Throughout this document we will simply refer to two types of people the ‘Junior’ and the ‘Mature’ entrants.
Many Mature Entrants enter the market so they don’t have to rely on others, especially when they can work on their own building ideas and not have to pay for anyone else to help them. On the other hand, to gain further credentials and experience ‘Junior Entrants’ tend to work for a recognised electrical firm. Often a young apprentice will be in their first job since leaving school, and will therefore have a host of ancillary skills to learn during their first few years as a working adult.
The different ways into electrical work have two distinct types of training: NVQ’s are the key factor for all junior entrants. As part of the training program an NVQ would be a requirement to attain. As a result students often have to find their own work programmes to give them the relevant testing and course work covered by most apprenticeships.
Mature Entrants do not appear to seek the NVQ element but instead they go after the most commercially suitable qualifications. i.e. Those certifications that will get them up and running with the best financial return from their training investment. This system does meet the purposes set out and therefore often provides a faster and more direct route into a trading position.
Salaries are often simply broken down to those that relate to self -employed people and those in general employment. The question remains as to how much work per week a self-employed person puts in – for the sake of this review we assume that it is full time. It is recognised that competence and qualifications add to income levels as well as experience and information gained.
Basic salary for Junior Entrants can start at around 12 thousand per annum, often going above 35 thousand after several years in industry. Mature Entrants are more difficult to assess, and incomes up to and above 70k are regularly reported within the UK Press. Regardless of all that is the need to cover off additional costs such as tools, clothes and even a vehicle and all that goes along with that. Earmarked within this is the need to cover additional expenses such as accountancy or insurance. In the UK there is a lot of work for electrical professions due to a short fall of current skilled people. Working 7 days a week is totally achievable for most people if they want it. It should be noted that figures of 70-100k p.a. advertised are not necessarily easy to come by and would require some long working hours to obtain them.
Firstly, it is worth pointing out that the working week between the Junior and Mature electricians can vary enormously. Most of the work for Junior Entrant electricians will be on a simple 9-5, Monday to Friday basis. But due to the needs of the domestic market the Mature Entrant is often more reliant upon when their client base gets back from work. Although by testing and installing various business systems, many self-employed electricians manage to work during a normal working week.
Any specialist knowledge the Junior Entrant gains whilst in someone’s employ is usually down to the sectors of industry that company works in. Then again, the mature entrant can even go outside of the electrical field to gas work or plumbing work for example. Certainly if they are employed within the domestic sector this makes it easier to take on work without having to rely upon other people.
One new, fast growing area – one that invokes a wide array of skills sets and is new to the industry overall – is that of the ‘Green Engineer’. The opportunity to provide both employment and potential service contracts, especially in the UK and the EEC sectors, mean that this area is of interest to both Junior and Mature electricians.