Due to the exciting choices available, the electrical industry offers jobs that many people choose. From here on we will use the phrase of Electrical Industry to explain the more accurate term of "Electro-Mechanical Engineering". Also, for ease we will concentrate on those principles that sit within the domestic and commercial markets for the UK. Since there is such a wide list of choices in the electrical industry, we'll start by looking at the main themes first and then come back to any 'add-ons' later.
The electrical market has in our opinion two methods of entry. To being with we have the older apprentice course and then secondly we have the option for those who wish to make a career change to join the industry. To begin with we have the 'Junior Entrants' and then we have the 'Mature Entrants'.
Principally, Mature Entrants join the electrical workplace later on, and focus on becoming self employed. This means working on their own and not having to pay salaries to anyone else. However, people who join as junior entrants like the fact that they can join a recognised firm to pick up the bulk of their practical and work based skills. After they leave school a young apprentice will have many skills to learn during their first few years of working life.
Entry has two separate approaches to teaching. In essence, the Junior Entrants follow an NVQ syllabus, or SVQ syllabus in Scotland. The core syllabus is similar to non NVQ commercial training, but the certification is compulsory. New employees gain the necessary course work and testing elements through an apprenticeship or some form of suitable work program.
Instead of seeking a work-based training environment, the Mature Entrant often seems to focus on working as a self employed person where different qualifications to NVQ's are preferred. Having said that, the mature student does aim to gain the necessary skills to do the job, whilst at the same time reducing their training costs at all times. This method allows for a quicker route to the market and does meet the necessary trading elements for the areas concerned despite reducing the overall qualification set.
So we have two defined routes laid out - one being for general employment and the other centred on self-employment. With self-employment a person may be working on a part-time or full time basis -to that end we will assume they are working full time. Salary options are often affected both by the know- how and the knack for doing things as well as any perceived formal levels of understanding.
Wages for 'Junior Entrants' can become as high as 30,000 or more per annum with the right experience, although starting salaries are around 12,000. That said, due to the UK press telling people that electricians can get salaries in excess of 70k p.a., it is more difficult to gauge incomes for 'Mature Entrants'. That aside, many added costs need to be remembered by self employed people in order to make their business work. Self employed people also have to allow for added expenses. In the UK there is a lot of work for electrical professions due to a short fall of current skilled people. Without a doubt, the market would allow for some people to work a full seven days a week. Although by working very long hours and having assistants to help, the figures of 70-100 thousand advertised in newspapers might be achieved, it wouldn't be easy.
To be fair, most Junior and Mature electricians experience very different working hours to each other. Most 'Junior Entrants' do not work at the weekends. While on the other hand, the opportunities in the domestic market (where mature entrants often work) can be heavily dependent upon when the clients get home. Although by testing and installing various business systems, many self-employed electricians manage to work during a normal working week.
Once a career in electrical work has been chosen, a Junior Electrician is often at the mercy of their employer when it comes to learning new skills and expertise. Alternatively, the mature entrant can gain other training outside of their chosen field, such as gas and plumbing work. If they are working mostly in the domestic market, this makes it easier for them to take on larger jobs across a range of disciplines (without having to sub-contract.)
One fresh approach is that of the 'Green Engineer'. Looking together to the UK and the EEC this activity could be of benefit to both Junior and Mature Entrants, providing new growth and opportunities to both disciplines.