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Electricians install, inspect and test electrical equipment, making sure everything in a building works properly and – above all – safely.


Average salaries are in the region of £8,000.00 to £30,000.00. Salaries will vary depending on location / employer

Career Profile

What they do

Electricians install, inspect and test electrical equipment, making sure everything in a building works properly and – above all – safely. It's one of the most in-demand construction jobs around because everyone needs an electrician at some time or other.

This is one of the most in-demand construction jobs around because everyone needs an electrician at some time or other.

Working in construction as an electrician involves a high level of responsibility, because very strict safety regulations must be met. He or she must keep up to date with the different types of legislation covering electrical equipment.

As with many other construction careers, this role gives you the chance to get involved with all kinds of work on all kinds of projects. Electricians could be needed to bring power safely into people’s homes or be on the team of a major construction engineering project.

They are highly skilled in inspecting electrical systems, equipment and components so they can identify and repair anything that doesn’t work properly. They test every kind of electrical equipment and repair or replace wiring, equipment and fixtures, using hand tools and power tools.

Hi-tech tasks include transporting data along fibre-optic cables and programming computer-controlled "intelligent" buildings and factories. There are plenty of opportunities for working on projects that help the environment. They can work in renewable technology, such as wind turbines or photovoltaic systems that turn the sun’s energy into electricity.

Some electricians specialise:

  • Installation electrician - puts power, lighting, fire protection, security and data-netwrok systems into buidlings
  • Maintenance electrician - checks systems to ensure they keep working efficiently and safely

Electricians are called in on machine repair and highway systems to install and maintain streetlights and traffic systems.

Hours & Salary:                   

  • An apprentice electrician starts on around £8,000 a year, depending on age and where they live.
  • Newly trained electricians can earn in the region of £14,500 - £19,000
  • Trained with experience electricians can earn in the region of £19,000 - £30,000
  • Senior or master electricians can earn in the region of £30,000 - £36,000

Salaries depend on location, employer, level of responsibility, and any overtime you may do. Self-employed electricians set their own pay rates.


 

Get more information about the whole range of construction roles available with our Careers Explorer A-Z

Take our Personality Quiz to find out which construction career is right for you.

Case Study

My working day is spent on a variety of sites in and around London, and involves testing and inspecting electrical equipment and installations, trying to find and resolve faults if there is a problem, and doing any necessary remedial work. It tends to change from day to day, which keeps the job varied and interesting.

How did you get started?

In 2008 I was made redundant from my job as an archaeologist. My mum suggested I retrain as an electrician because I’d be good at it. Jobcentre Plus found funding for me to take my City and Guilds Level 2 qualification and my parents and partner supported me through my Level 3, and testing and inspection qualifications. I also did a range of training with Women into Construction, including Construction Skills Certification Scheme, CV writing and International Powered Access Federation (IPAF) (mobile lifting platforms). I kept in contact with them and in December 2011 they asked if I’d be interested in a job with Lovell. I was interviewed in January 2012 and got the job.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I get a lot of excitement from fault-finding and working things out. There’s no better feeling than knowing that something that didn’t work now does because I’ve sat down, worked out what’s wrong and put the problem right.

What skills do you need?

I suppose the most useful skill I’ve developed is something personal to me. When I first started training as an electrician, I’d sometimes start to panic if things didn’t go the way I wanted them to or was doing a job I didn’t fully understand. With experience I’ve become more self-disciplined and it’s helped me a great deal.

Proudest career moment? 

I’m proud that I took my mother’s advice. When you’re in the position of having to find a new job after being made redundant, you tend to think a lot about what you’re going to do. I’ve got myself a lot of training and a new trade in something I didn’t have the first clue about five years ago.

I’m also proud of the certificate of congratulations from the Women into Construction Project I received at a ceremony in June 2013. It was exciting to see women involved in so many other jobs in the construction industry. We enjoyed a sumptuous platter with wine, and each of us received a goody bag to take home with our certificate! 


Where next for your career?

I’m doing some additional training so I can get involved in electrical installations, as well as testing and inspection. In the long term I’d like to get involved in designing industrial installations.

Any advice on how to get into construction?

I’ve got a lot personally out of changing careers and retraining as an electrician. It’s taken a lot of determination and soul searching too. There are a lot of construction careers on offer, so spend some time looking into the various trades and professions before making your decision. You’ll be glad you did.

Take our Personality Quiz to find out which of the many construction jobs on offer is right for you

Qualifications & Training

To work as a qualified electrician, you need an NVQ Diploma or Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) at Level 3 in Electrical Installation. You need additional training to do specialist work such as installing environmental technology systems.

Construction apprenticeships are a good way into a career as an electrician. You usually need at least four GCSEs grade A*-C or equivalent such as the Welsh Baccalaureate, including English or Welsh, maths and science.

As an apprentice, you study towards NVQ Level 3, which includes preparation and installation of electrical wiring systems. Also inspecting, testing and commissioning an electrical installation, and health and safety at work. Apprentices work towards Functional Skills Level 2 (English, mathematics & ICT) - or Essential Skills in Wales.

Some apprenticeship schemes are open to people over 25, though if you are employed you could work towards the NVQ Diploma without doing an apprenticeship.

You need specific training in certain jobs, such as fire alarms or emergency lighting.

In Scotland most entrants start through a Modern Apprenticeship. The Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) also offers an adult training scheme.

There are no set entry requirements but it is helpful to have some subjects at Standard grade or National 4 or 5, including English, Maths and a science or technological subject.

Some companies may expect you to have at least 3 subjects at Standard Grade credit level or National 5.

You will have to pass an entrance test approved by the electrical industry.

You should have good general health and fitness.

You must have normal colour vision to work with electrical wiring. You must pass a colour vision assessment.

Contact the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) for information on how to apply for an apprenticeship or the adult training scheme.

Want to find out more?

Try our Matching Service for work experience opportunities in your local area, with new opportunities being added on a regular basis. 

Looking for a vacancy?

Here are some construction vacancy websites you may find useful: 

Indeed

Total Jobs

The number of jobs vacancies related to your preferred job role may vary daily, as these are external websites. Check regularly to see new opportunities as they are posted.

Career trends and forecasts

175,440 total people needed

According to the latest Construction Skills Network research, an additional 175,440 construction vacancies in Electrical Trades and Installation will be created between 2017 - 2021. The highest demand for these construction jobs will be in the East of England followed by the North West, West Midlands, Wales, South West and Yorkshire & Humber.

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