How To Become An Electrician Without An Apprenticeship?

Are you finding it hard to get an apprenticeship to become an electrician? Is it possible to qualify as an electrician without a formal apprenticeship?

Yes, you can train through a trade centre to become a qualified electrician without an apprenticeship. That will give you the same qualifications as an apprentice electrician upon completing the training.

How do I become a fully qualified electrician in the UK?

You will need to have the right attitude to work and the aptitude to work through a structured course and understand the concepts of the electrician’s job.

You will need to be at least 18 years old before you can take a course, and you will need to consider the following points:

  • You will need to have a General Certificate of Education GCSE in maths, English, and preferably physics to be accepted to a training course
  • The course at the training centre will lead to a national vocational qualification NVQ Level 3 Diploma. You will need a good attitude to work and study
  • Training centre courses predominantly lean towards the domestic installer, which is the electrician who works in residential settings
  • You will need to be prepared for the long haul. There are no shortcuts to becoming an electrician, and to be fully qualified can take 4 to 5 years, depending on your ability
  • The course includes practical experience, which will be your responsibility to gain 
  • When the course is complete and you have satisfied the requirements to gain your NVQ Level 3 Diploma, you will need to accept that the life of an electrician is one of continual self-development and training.

How long does it take to become an electrician in the UK?

4 to 5 years to complete an NVQ level 3 Diploma that qualifies you to be a domestic installer, which is an electrician that works in residential homes.

Why does it take so long to become an electrician? Because being an electrician is a complex job and very skilled, Most of your training will be working on-site alongside a qualified electrician to learn the trade first-hand in a real setting.

The training centre will give you the theoretical knowledge to pass the NVQ stages and some limited practical experience on how to wire different applications when in the field.

How do you gain practical skills?

This is where the training centre route becomes complex and demanding on the student. You will be responsible for organising your practical training!

The training centre will point you in the right direction and possibly help with trade contacts. But, ultimately, it’s your problem, and without the practical training, you can’t pass the course as much of the NVQ3 is an evidence-based portfolio of jobs you have completed that have been inspected and signed off.

Initially, you will not be paid cash to work alongside a qualified electrician unless you are lucky and work your tail off to prove you are worthy of your training.

However, even if you are working and not being paid, you are being paid in kind for the amount of training and hands-on experience you are receiving from a qualified electrician.

The value of this training is priceless and is the difference between passing and failing the course.

What will I learn from stage 1 of a training centre course?

You will learn the fundamentals of being an electrician that may be more attractive to a potential employer considering taking on an apprentice.

The fundamental of the stage 1 training course will include:

  • The use of basic industry tools that are essential for an electrician’s work
  • Gaining the knowledge of standard circuits and installing lighting, power, and cooker circuits in a domestic setting
  • Installing and terminating twin and earth cables and understanding the different cables used
  • You will learn how consumer units work and how to connect a consumer unit
  • Correct selection of cables and sizes for different circuits
  • Correct selection of equipment and specialist tools required
  • Safe isolation of single-phase domestic power
  • Understanding basic SI units, Ohm’s law and relevant calculations in the domestic setting
  • Learn how to calculate maximum demand and apply diversity for the domestic application
  • Earthing systems used as a domestic installer
  • How circuit protection works and why it’s used
  • Building regulations compliance
  • How to use and apply 18th edition wiring
  • The basics of inspecting and testing a domestic installation.

Where can I study to become an electrician?

Training centres across the country offer training for electricians and other trades.

If you can choose via recommendation, this is the best way to go, but visit the facilities and speak to the instructors to make a personal assessment.

You want a training centre with a good reputation in the industry. This will help you when it comes to finding paid work while training.

Is becoming an electrician hard?

It depends on your definition of complex, an academic may fly through the theory and struggle with the practical side of the job, and vice versa is true.

To train to become an electrician is a long haul. The training takes a long time because it’s a profession that can be complicated, and you need to be able to stand on your own two feet to solve problems.

Once you are qualified, the life of an electrician is self-development, meaning it’s up to you to stay current with industry laws and accreditations that you will need throughout your career.

Do electricians make good money?

Yes, electricians can make excellent money depending on the effort and expertise they have gained over years of continual development.

A fully qualified electrician’s salary can be equal to and exceed that of someone who has a university degree working in a similar field.

However, if money is your primary motivation, the training period may put you off selecting this career. It can be as long as 7 years before you can maximise your earning potential as an electrician.

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