Lots of people choose a career within the electrical industry because it both appeals and motivates them. From here on we will use the phrase of Electrical Industry to explain the more accurate term of "Electro-Mechanical Engineering". As there are a wide variety of global standards, we will focus on those from the UK and in particular those relating to the domestic and commercial markets. 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.
On consideration, we observe two forms of access into the electrical market. Along with apprenticeships for school leavers, students entering the field at a later phase in their life now have an alternative to more traditional amateur routes. For the sake of clarity throughout, the first will be known as 'Junior Entrants' and the second simply known as 'Mature Entrants.'
Many Mature Entrants enter the market so they don't have to rely on others, especially when they can work on their own building ideas and not have to pay for anyone else to help them. By contrast, Junior entrants would seek to work with an established electrical firm and build their skill-sets as they train. During their first years in the working environment, a young apprentice, or junior entrant, will have a host of additional skills to learn.
These two distinct types of entry have two separate modes of training: NVQ's are the key factor for all junior entrants. The core syllabus is similar to non NVQ commercial training, but the certification is compulsory. As a result students often have to find their own work programmes to give them the relevant testing and course work covered by most apprenticeships.
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. In the main the person will aim to gain the best from their investment costs against the return for that training. This method may appear to reduce the levels of knowledge overall, but it does allow for an increase in the speed by which people enter and become more prevalent within the market.
We should differentiate the prospective earnings into the two categories of employed and self-employed. 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. The aptitude and talent for getting things done can affect the levels of salary as well as any experience or knowledge gained.
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. Mature Entrants are more difficult to assess, and incomes up to and above 70k are regularly reported within the UK Press. Irrespective of this salary level many self-employed people also need to manage extra business costs such as tools, clothes and vans. In addition to this they will also have to allow for items such as accountancy and personal/professional insurance. Whilst there is lots of available work, a severe skills shortage means electricians are very much in demand. Working 7 days a week is totally achievable for most people if they want it. 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.
There is often a considerable differential between the working expectations of Mature or Junior Entrants. For a 'Junior Entrant', most work is on a simple working week basis. Whereas the Mature market can be more dependent on the domestic market for some - i.e. weekend and evening work, when their clients are available and back from work. This alters quite a bit, with lots of self employed electricians gaining much of their income from small office work, which is predominantly Monday to Friday 9am-5pm.
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. The mature entrant, on the other hand, may seek training outside of their core electrical field, possibly including plumbing and gas work. This gives them the chance to complete work for domestic clients without having to sub contract jobs out every time.
'Green Engineering' is another area to consider. This requires new skills and working knowledge and is one of the fastest growing areas today. With expected growth through new employment contracts and business options, this new entity is extremely attractive to many Junior and Mature Electricians, especially when considering the UK and EEC support overall.