Before you even approach a potential employer concentrate on your grades while you are at school, particularly Maths and English. Physics and ICT are also beneficial. Many employers, certainly some of the larger employers, insist on at least C grades in your GCSE’s and having these grades can help even further when you get to college as we will find out later when we look at the qualifications.
Finding an employer
The hardest part of becoming an apprentice electrician is finding an employer. There is still some reservation on behalf of employers to take young trainees on mainly due to costs and being let down in the past. The current trend is moving to taking on slightly older apprentices at about 17 or 18. Also the employer needs to cover a range of work to enable you to complete your City and Guilds 2357. A good range of work is needed if you are to successfully complete the performance units of the qualification as well as access to different types of installation, such as domestic, industrial and commercial.
When approaching a prospective employer, there are some fundamental points you need to take into account. First thing they will judge is your attitude, not whether or not you had 2 weeks work experience with a one man band 3 months ago. Remember, an employer is looking for reliability, punctuality, initiative and motivation above all other skills:
Source and list the local electrical companies. Local newspapers, Yellow Pages, word of mouth, the internet and your local college should all be good sources of information.
Send a letter. Professionally written in a professional format and get someone to proof read and grammar check it before it gets sent. It is worth getting someone to help you with this , Connexions or often your local college usually provide this service for free. Remember that although textspeak is how you communicate with your friends, an employer is likely to view this as being illiterate and it will not look good on an application.
Include a CV with the letter highlighting your strong points. Have you had a part time job? Can you demonstrate you have been reliable in the past? Keep the CV short and informative. Your local college or careers advisors such as Connexions may again be able to help you produce a professional quality CV.
Follow up the letter after a few days with a phone call. Many employers are busy people constantly looking for that next job, letters sent by you may just be filed and forgotten. Let them know you are interested and enthusisatic and most of all, motivated by contacting them once a week via phone reminding them that you are still interested.
Once you have been successful in finding an employer, immediately contact your local college. Spaces fill quickly so ensure you don’t delay, your employer won’t always be the one to make the contact.
College and what to expect
Colleges and training providers usually use 2 routes, either in house training and assessing or the use of an external managing agent such as the JTL. Both have their advantages and disadvantages and both should be considered. The JTL often sub-contract work to colleges so although you may be on a JTL scheme, your training is most often completed elsewhere. Some trainers provide a day release program and generally cover the technical certificate in 2-3 years, others use a block release program and complete the technical certificate over 2 years. The Electrotechnical Framework is stated to last 3.5 years, going past this date will now jeopardise your funding on the course. Both methods of getting qualified are fine and often depend on your employer and their preferred route according to their business model, for example can they spare you for one day a week or is the block release a better option?
Apprentice Framework Qualifications
To become a fully qualified electrician, you need to complete all of the qualifications within the “framework” as laid out by the Sector Skills Council, the Summit Skills. To claim your framework, you need the following qualifications:
- City and Guilds 2357 (including AM2) note: 5357 will supercede in 2017
- Maths Functional Skills Level 2 (1)
- English Functional Skills Level 2 (1)
- ICT Functional Skills Level 2 (1)
- Employers Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) (2)
- Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) (3)
1. Provided you have a GCSE completed at grade C an A/AS Level at grades D/E you can be exempted from these parts of the framework. Please speak to your training provider for more in depth information.
2. Although not formally studied, evidence that you have met the criteria is needed to claim your apprenticeship.
3. Although not formally studied, evidence that you have met the criteria is needed to claim your apprenticeship.
**Functional Skills can be exempted providing you have satisfactory grades in English, Maths and a comparable ICT qualification.