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How to advance your career in the electrical trade

Jordan O'Brien

Jordan O'Brien

Contributing Editor
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Electrical Training

Mick Fitzgerald, director at Options Skills, shares his tips and tricks for driving your electrical career forward.

As an electrician, you have the ability to determine your own earning potential. With so many options for growing your skillset and boosting your earnings, the possibilities are endless.

It’s never too late to learn and advance your career. No matter your age, skillset or current career, advancing your career is about determination and commitment to grow. The best part? You have the option to earn as you learn.

Why learn new skills?

1. Take control of your own earnings

Advancing your skillset and experience can give you the tools you need to become self-employed. When self-employed, you will be able to decide your own working hours and set your own rates, giving you more financial flexibility and control.

2. Build your own career path

Training can give you access to new career possibilities that you may not have thought about before. With a variety of options available, you will be able to choose the type of electrical career that’s right for you and plan your training towards reaching that goal.

3. Greater job stability

The wider your capabilities, the greater the demand for you and your services. This will provide greater job stability and security. In addition, employers are more likely to invest in you if they can see your commitment to investing in yourself. It’s about showing dedication to advancing your potential.

4. Earn as you learn

Electrical qualifications take lots of different forms, with options available to suit everyone. For example, in a traineeship, you will be able to continue to earn an income while you study. This means it isn’t always essential to take a career and earnings break to return to college.

What career paths are available?

Domestic Electrical Installer (DEI)

DEIs are one of the most common types of electrician. They work on domestic properties to undertake single phase, domestic installations and repairs. As a DEI, you may be able to earn up to £40k per annum.

Installation Electrician

Installation Electricians are responsible for installing various electrical systems, such as power or security systems. They may work on a wide range of sites, from construction to commercial. The average salary for an Installation Electrician varies between £35-£50k per annum.

Renewable Energy Technician

Renewable Energy Technicians are responsible for installing and maintaining sustainable and green energy systems. They can earn up to £52.5k per annum.

Electrical Supervisor

As well as carrying out electrical work, Electrical Supervisors are required to manage teams, train employees, assign roles and ensure projects are completed in line with customer expectations. As an Electrical Supervisor, your earning potential can be up to £60k.

Electrical Drafter

Electrical Drafters generate the technical drawings of electrical systems (blueprints) to guide electrical work, including dimensions, arrangements and installation procedures. The salary for an Electrical Drafter can be up to £45k per annum.

Each of the above career paths requires different qualifications, such as the Domestic Electrical Installer Award (limited to domestic, single phase installations and repairs) or an Electrotechnical NVQ Level 3 Qualification that incorporates single phase and three-phase commercial installation.

What are the steps to upskill?

1. Carry out research – take time to understand the career path you want to take and the requirements for getting there. Consider the qualifications you need, the courses you’ll need to take, how long it will take to get those qualifications and the associated costs.

2. Know what you want to achieve – consider where you want to be and what earnings you would like to achieve. You can break this down into short, medium and long-term goals, to act as clear benchmarks to keep you on track to reaching your dream career.

3. Speak to training providers – training providers can help you to see things clearly, and can even provide you with possibilities you may not have considered before. Seeking advice will cost you nothing.

4. Choose the right training provider – be sure to choose the right training provider, one that will guide you towards your career goals and support you as you work towards your full qualification.

5. Take the plunge – when you know your dream career and what you need to do to achieve that goal, you’re ready to begin and put the spark back into your electrical career. 

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