An electrical apprenticeship is designed to help you master the fascinating and varied world of the electrical industry.
If the technology behind the latest gadgets and gizmos is what makes you tick, if you love taking things apart and understanding how they work – and if you love a challenge – then an electrical apprenticeship could be a great way to turn your passion into a career.
Electrical apprenticeships come in all shapes and sizes these days – meaning you can train at different levels depending on your qualifications.
'Like to understand what's going on inside? An electrical apprenticeship could be for you'
What does an electrician do?
An electrical apprenticeship will be the first step in your career as an electrician, working in the electrical industry.
Electricians are responsible for installing, looking after and fixing “electrical services”. To you and me, that means things that are powered by electricity, such as lights, plug sockets, fire alarms. As well as carrying out work on these services, you’ll work with electronic appliances, devices and machines.
You might do all of this or just some of it – either way, your job will be both challenging and varied.
What is an electrical apprenticeship?
An electrical apprenticeship will teach you the tricks of the trade. The great thing about an apprenticeship is that you learn by doing, working alongside experts and gaining professional qualifications. You also get paid a wage.
You’ll also nurture the skills you need to become a good electrician, which is a pretty long list:
- Customer service
The ability to drive would be a useful qualification as electricians often have to travel, but don’t worry about that for the time being (especially if you’re not old enough).
You’ll need to show that you have the potential to develop these skills to get onto your programme in the first place, and we’ll discuss this in a minute.
What qualifications do I need?
The good news about electrical apprenticeships is that they’re available at all levels, meaning you can choose to train at a skills-level which is appropriate to you and the qualifications you have.
Here’s a guide to the typical qualifications you’ll need the different levels of apprenticeships. You might find that the actual entry requirements are higher or lower in reality:
- Intermediate: Functional skills, which means English and maths GCSE at C+ - if you don’t have these, don’t worry, you may be able to get them on your apprenticeship.
- Advanced: Five or more GCSEs at grade C+.
- Higher: Two or more A-levels.
There are electrical apprenticeships at all these levels, particularly at the advanced level. This means you could begin an electrical apprenticeship when you’ve finished your GCSEs or A-levels.
Generally, you don't need any particular subjects, although some employers might require them. However, because of the skills involved in electrical work, certain subjects will help:
What skills do I need?
It’s not all about academic qualifications.
As we’ve discussed, your electrical apprenticeship will teach you the skills you need to do the job. However, if you show potential employers that you have the potential to develop these skills, you’ll be much more likely to get a place on a programme:
- An interest in understanding how electrical services work.
- The ability to solve problems, think on your feet
- A polite and professional manner as you’ll be dealing with the public.
- Good communication skills as you’ll need to explain technical matters to laypeople (imagine trying to explain it to your granny).
Is it for me?
Electricians can work long hours – up to 40 per week, in fact. They may also work unsociable hours and often have to travel (whatever the weather!)
However, they tend to be fairly well paid. According to the National Careers Service, a trained electrician can expect to start on £18,000, earning all the way up to £42,000 with experience.
Some tips for applying
- When you search on Find An Apprenticeship, search under “electrical” and “electrician” as they bring up separate results.
- Start broad – but to narrow down your search to more relevant results, try searching the job title for “electrical” and “electrician”.
If you like what you see, check out our guide to finding an apprenticeship and get started on your application.