Advancing in a Tech-Driven World
While advances in technology and robotics may make it seem like manual labor jobs are becoming obsolete, there is still one career path that is thriving.
Electricians: The Winning Pathway
According to Ricky Sharma, director of Engineering Real Results, electricians can earn tens of thousands of pounds a year without a higher education degree.
On average, electricians earn £33,636, but depending on location and demand, this can rise to a lucrative £45k to £50k salary.
Moreover, the average salary for electricians increased by 3.4% from 2021 to 2022, as per the Office for National Statistics. It is also the highest-paying trade compared to plumbing, carpentry, and painting.
Sharma stated, "There's no doubt in my mind that if I was changing careers right now, I would be looking at the electrical industry. As the UK continues its drive towards carbon reduction and as technological advances such as robotics and AI become more influential, it's a great career in terms of developing future-proof skills and experience. Meanwhile, every existing home in the country is still dependent on electricians for installations and repairs, as well as up to 300,000 new builds that also need work done. It's winning in all directions."
How to Become an Electrician
Becoming an electrician can take anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on the desired level of expertise.
The two main routes to becoming an electrician are apprenticeships or college courses.
There are two types of apprenticeships available, depending on one's desired specialization:
1. Level 3 Domestic Electrician: Involves installing systems and fixing faults in people's homes.
2. Level 3 Installation and Maintenance Electrician: Involves installing systems and fixing faults in homes, businesses, and construction sites.
Apprenticeships can last up to four years, with starting salaries around £20,000 per year. As an apprentice, one typically studies one day a week.
An apprenticeship offers the advantage of being paid to learn on the job before potentially setting up one's own business. There are no age limits to enter an apprenticeship, allowing individuals to pursue this career path later in life.
To find and apply for apprenticeships, visit the Government's website.
Alternatively, one can choose the college course route, which allows for a quicker qualification. However, the costs must be covered, unless the individual is 16-18 and considered a full-time learner.
The National Career Service's website offers a variety of courses, ranging from a few months to a year in duration, with prices ranging from a few hundred pounds to thousands of pounds. These courses are mostly classroom-based, with some offering flexibility for full-time workers with daytime or evening options.
Sharma recommends both the apprenticeship and course options as viable paths to become an electrician. He emphasized, "You'll study the technical knowledge and develop the practical skills needed to pass the NVQ to be a qualified electrician."
There is also a third route available to become a qualified domestic electrical installer, which enables individuals to carry out residential jobs such as installing light features or rewiring houses. Online courses are available for this qualification, typically lasting less than a month and costing a few hundred to thousands of pounds. However, this type of qualification may leave individuals under-qualified to perform more complex electrical tasks due to the lack of compulsory on-the-job training.
What the Job Entails and Future Progress
A typical day as an electrician can vary depending on the specific role, whether it be in the domestic or industrial sector.
However, there are a few core responsibilities that often come up. Ricky Sharma mentioned, "These include checking electrical systems to make sure they're safe, repairing components, and fitting wires, sockets, and switches. You could also find yourself installing solar panels, electric vehicle chargers, or even street lights and traffic lights."
When it comes to earning potential, starting salaries differ based on location and hours worked. According to Sharma, "A trainee can earn anything from £18,000 upwards when starting out, but this can be as much as £30,000 in London, for example. After two or three years, you would expect to be earning more as you become more experienced, and that's when you could start to find yourself at around £45,000 or £50,000."
In the future, the role of electricians will diversify, with a greater emphasis on renewable energy, including installing and repairing electric car charging units and connecting smart homes.
Sharma concluded, "There are so many elements to this career, and it will only continue to grow in demand. It's basically a trade for life, so you don't have to live in fear of technology or robotics making you redundant. The shortage of qualified tradespeople guarantees work, so if you're a self-employed business, you can earn as much as you want."
Did you miss our previous article…