How Old Is Too Old To Become An Electrician?

Have you decided that your present career will not deliver your expectations? Are you too old to retrain as an electrician?

In theory, you are never too old to retrain and learn a new skill and retraining to become an electrician is a good choice. However, you will need to assess your current life status and decide if you are willing to undertake years of training before you are qualified and earn a decent salary.


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

First, you must define the word electrician to understand the limitations fully. Most folks retraining become domestic installers, an electrician who is qualified to work in domestic dwellings only.

To retrain later in life, your windows of opportunity for training have diminished significantly, and the only realistic avenue for you to retrain is to use a private training facility.

The good news is due to the shortage of electricians, and there are plenty of grants available that should cover the cost of the course in its entirety, but check because things change fast in government when it comes to stopping grants.

Back to the original question. It takes anywhere between 2 and 4 years to retrain to become a domestic installer, and the 4-year course is the course you should be more inclined to take.

What qualifications will you have after 4 years?

After 4 years of training, you will have achieved an NVQ Level 3 Electrotechnical services (electrical maintenance) for installing electrical systems into domestic dwellings.

The NVQ 3 is the qualification that is most of all recognised by the industry and will allow you to work onsite.

However, I don’t think the course is a breeze because it’s not. The final NVQ 3 has an onerous all-encompassing evidence-based portfolio to be completed before you can attain the qualification.

What hurdles will you face with the NVQ?

You may not face any hurdles if you are fortunate to have some assistance. For most of you, the biggest hurdle you will face during your NVQ training is the evidence-based hands-on part of the NVQ.

To complete your training, you will need onsite experience. Although the training centre course will be excellent and you will undertake the fundamentals, there is no substitute for real-life experience.

How do you get practical training?

  • Be part of a company apprenticeship where you will have practical training with your technical college education.
  • Approach an electrician and offer to work for free at the weekend or whenever you are not at the training centre.

The first option may not be viable for many of you as apprenticeships are ordinarily full of 16 to 25-year-olds.

The second option may seem like you have gone back years and are being taken advantage of, but the hard truth is you need to gain experience.

It may seem like a bitter pill to swallow not being paid and working your tail off, but it ends with a means, and you should view the practical experience as invaluable in your journey to becoming qualified.

When you qualify can you become self-employed?

Yes, you can become self-employed and work as an electrician. However, you will find that being an electrician is about constant development, and you will need to work for a further two years before being considered competent.

Becoming an electrician is a long haul, and not for the faint-hearted. When you consider your total training will be 7 years before you can apply for the licence to sign off work and be considered competent, you will understand why the industry lacks electricians.

To put the length and extent of training in perspective, doctors train for 8 years!

But, once you have qualified, everything changes. You will be in demand, and with persistence, you can build a business or empire if you wish.

Can I become an electrician when I am older?

Yes, in some ways, a more mature outlook on training is preferred in terms of training. At least the instructors know you will turn up after the weekend.

The primary factor that stops older folks from retraining is that they are financially committed, and to take a drop in earnings for such a long time is impossible.

You’ll find plenty of 30-year-olds retaining to become an electrician, and even 40+ learning the trade.

Is it too late to become an electrician in the UK?

Nothing could be further from the truth. Electricians are in demand, and the shortage of electricians is becoming critical. It is reported that over the next 5 years the UK will need a further 5000 electricians.

With the shortage of electricians come higher prices for electrical work and, unfortunately, an opening for cowboy electricians to enter the marketplace.

Can you work as an electrician without qualifications?

No, you will need industry-recognised qualifications. The electrical industry is highly regulated and very strict about who can work competently in the industry.

You may feel as if you can undertake household electrics and do so for years without being found out.

However, when the day comes that something goes wrong like someone is injured or god forbids killed, you will be in a world of criminal proceedings.

It’s one thing to convince a homeowner you are competent but convince a barrister, a judge and a jury!

At what age do most electricians retire?

If you work for a contractor, you will retire when you are 65 or the age the government has said this week.

If you are self-employed and fit and healthy, you may want to extend your retirement period a few years or even cherry-pick your work, leaving the dregs to the other contractors.

Of course, if you are self-employed, you will need to be paying into a pension fund for your retirement income.

How long does the average electrician live after retirement?

According to the pension, industry electricians tend to retire early at 62 and receive pension payments for the next 20 years.

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