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How to Become an Electrician at 30

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There are many reasons why pursuing a career as an electrician will benefit you and bring you joy. Do not be discouraged that you are 10-plus years into your adult career. If you are motivated enough, you can change your life at 30 and attain your ideal job.

Changing career paths can prove to be an intimidating task. You may find yourself in a job that does not suit you or lose the drive for something you were once passionate about. You may ask yourself- is it too late to redirect my trajectory? By following these steps, you can begin your journey down the electric pathway to success.

Figuring out your route

You are reaching a stage in your life where it may seem difficult to retrain, but if your heart is in it and you follow the procedures, you can attain your dream of becoming an electrician. As long as you’re physically able to do the handiwork and use your head it should not be a problem. You also need to ascertain which route would suit you best:

  • self-employed, finding your own work and dealing with clients and jobs yourself
  • for an employer, working on contract jobs or with a full contract under a boss

Domestic Installer or Fully Qualified?

Domestic Installer

As a domestic installer, you can solely work on domestic projects i.e. houses. To pursue this route you simply need to take a course (there are plenty to choose from, differing in price and length, so figure out your budget!). Courses range in length but can be as short as 4 weeks! Many courses can be taken around your current job, for example one day a week, or they can be done in big chunks, allowing you to make progress quicker and putting you closer to your dream in mere weeks.

 These courses will be led by industry professionals who will guide you through the basics- no previous knowledge is required! These courses come in the form of NVQs and will be assessed by NVQ assessors and will be followed by tests. Once these tests are passed you can then apply for a certification of your skill through an industry employment welfare specialist, known as JIB. They will then issue with an ECS card, legitimising you as a health and safety regulated technician.

Fully Qualified

As you are re-evaluating your vocation at 30, you are probably confident in your choice of redirecting your profession. As this is the case, you may want to open up your options and start a journey down the route to become fully-qualified, allowing you to work on other projects that are not domestic and permitting you the freedom to specialise in a field of your choice. This could be anything from installation and machine repair, to highway electrical systems!

Becoming Fully Qualified

The increasingly popular way to attain a full qualification as an electrician is to carry out an apprenticeship. This will offer you a trade credited level 3 qualification as well as real life on-the-job experience. You will be paid as you learn in a combination of practical application through training as well as more structured mentoring approaches and educational modes of learning. These apprenticeships can be applied for directly on job posting sites (easier if you have already followed the previous step of attaining an NVQ), as well as through the government website (at https://www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship). To do this you will most likely need education to the level of the following:

  • 5 GCSE’s (at grades A* to C) including Maths and English

Whilst traditionally apprenticeships are geared towards those just out of school, there is no limitations on age when it comes to applying to them, so do not be discouraged!

The apprenticeship route is undoubtedly a bigger commitment, in terms of time and often minimum wage or low pay. However, once you come out the other end, often employers will keep you on directly off the back of your training. Also, if your employer has to pull out for some reason, you can reasonably easily transfer over your apprenticeship to another firm.

In the UK it is much easier and securer to follow this route and become fully qualified as it leads to longer jobs and more permanent roles. It will also permit you to work outside of England and Wales, as a Domestic Installer qualification will limit you to these regions.

Why learning a trade is a good idea

A good reason to retrain into the trade field is that it can be done alongside other responsibilities. Whether you are a working person or you have familial duties (or both!), courses and qualifications can be realised around your schedule, with many programs offering flexible training schedules.

The job and the initial training will also highlight the most enjoyable aspects of the job. If you are someone who likes to be on the move, not stuck behind a desk all day, being a tradesman is a great path to follow. No two days are the same, as you will constantly be visiting new clients and coming up against a multitude of new obstacles and learning opportunities.

Retraining does not necessarily mean starting from scratch either. You will undoubtedly learn things you will not have known before, but there is a lot more transferrable skills than you might expect. From organisational skills to time management, many skills you will have picked up in your other jobs (and in life itself), will benefit you greatly and make the transition into a new career path far less daunting than it may initially seem. 

A good tradesman is a sought-after commodity, whether you’re a kid straight out of an apprenticeship or middle-aged and new to the industry, your newfound expertise will be welcomed.

Are you in the right place?

Starting this journey at 30 may seem daunting but you can just as easily discover the electrical trade now just as easily as 10 years ago, and maybe in some respects even better than you would have 10 years ago with that extra wisdom! This however is all dependent on if you have the time and chance to fully partake in your chosen method of training. Whilst people of can have debilitating factors that disturb with their education and career paths at any age, the older you get the higher chance there is that you will have extra responsibilities or duties of care that you have to work around.

Not like a kid straight out of secondary school who still has the luxury of living with their parents rent free with minimal expenses, as a revisiting pupil, you may even have your own school children to fend for. The obligations intrinsic to family life and your current employment can eat into your study time, especially if you need to work another job while you train. So before making any bold decisions, assess your finances and schedule to see which route works best for you.

How much money can I make?

Part of the reason to change career path is to find something that will be more rewarding both emotionally and financially. Oftentimes people get to 30 and realise they are in a job that is not giving them the financial base they need but do not know where to turn, fearing it is too late to find work in a job that is actively profitable to them.

Do not give up hope! If you follow this path to becoming an electrician, monetary benefits will be reaped. The initial costs involved in attaining qualifications may be an initial setback, but once you start earning you will notice a difference.

Of all the trades, electricians are the highest paid, often attaining an increase of 1-3% or more yearly. As of 2020, electricians on average earn £33,500 per annum, placing them £2000 a year more than a plumber and a whole £8000 more than a painter.

Of course this is, as stated, an average salary. An established self employed electrician can likely make £35,000-£40,000 per year, with the figure higher in London and the South East of England.

However, starting hourly wages (post-training), are estimated between £15-£18 p/hr.

How to earn more

Earning more is tied to experience. I.e., the more experience you get, the more money you will be paid. The best ways to do this are as follows:

  • Perform to the highest standard– good work does not go unnoticed and shoddy work is very quickly recognised and will lose you trust with clients            
  • Work hard– be prepared to put in the hours and show dedication
  • Be punctual– nothing is more pleasing to a client than efficiency and time-keeping, another key to building trust
  • Invest your time– constantly seek to increase your knowledge and diversify your abilities by reading up on techniques of the trade and enrolling in extra courses if possible

If you adhere to these simple steps, your reputation will grow alongside your income.

Tips and Tricks

To get ahead of the curve, and fully immerse yourself in the world of electrics, it may be an idea to invest in some literature on being an electrician. Going into a course, or apprenticeship, with even a little bit of knowledge will pay dividends in helping with the comprehension part of the tests. Not only will it help in the academic side of things, but it will also show your enthusiasm and willingness to learn.

Things to consider – FAQ

Is it lucrative and easy to get into?

 In short, yes! Electricians are always needed and are in high demand. It is a reasonably low risk career change, as even as a domestic installer you will always be a necessary cog in the function of society. Though it is competitive for self-employed traders, there is the option of joining a company to secure yourself with contract work.

Wellbeing and Physical Mobility

Reaching 30 is when we start to realise we are not quite as flexible as we once were. Being an electrician can be a physically demanding job at times. Electricals are often hidden from sight, which means reaching high places and plunging into tight spaces. Fear not, however, as long as you are able to bend your knees, use your hands and occasionally find yourself in awkward body positions you will do just fine.

Many seasoned electricians advise the use of knee pads for extra support, as well as earplugs for unexpected potentially damaging loud noises.

Top reasons to become an electrician

  • Attaining skills you will have for life– learning a trade means you will have the opportunity to use this trade and set yourself on a path to success for the rest of your working life
  • Security in having a specific trade– having a specific trade allows you to specialise in your field and become an expert
  • Potential to be your own boss– learning to be an electrician allows you the option of working under secure contracts or pursuing your own ventures, allowing you to work the hours that suit you
  • Constantly changing environments– being stuck in an office can drive anyone nuts. The variety in the job of an electrician allows you to constantly meet new people and come up against new challenges in ever changing surroundings
  • Potential side projects– as much as you can put out ads for yourself, who you know can also help you get work. Starting with friends and family, a trusted electrician is a gem, and people will consistently return to an electrician they trust overtrying someone new. Recommendations from friends and family is where it starts, and from there the ball keeps rolling
  • Consistent demand– we will always need electricians in this society, and skilled jobs are harder to fill, and there is an ever increasing demand for specialists of trade-work
  • The money– as being an electrician demands knowledge and experience, it is the highest paid of the trade jobs
  • It’s never too late!-do not let age be a barrier- an electrician can start at any age

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