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Becoming an electrician

Are you interested in becoming an electrician? A career as an Electrician in our eyes is a great move! This industry is perfect for anyone that likes to problem solve, work with their hands and take things apart (Joe used to love dismantling old radios and toys as a kid!).

What does an Electrician do?

There are many types of jobs and services that electricians offer, and there are three main sectors – domestic, commercial and industrial. The work of an electrician includes wiring buildings/ re-wiring buildings, installing/ changing installations, retrofitting or altering wiring, down to service work which includes finding and fixing electrical issues, changing fitments and repairing appliances. Technology is always changing and an electrician is required to fit many of the new products on the market, for example, automation systems.

Before deciding if becoming an electrician is the right pathway for you, there are a few things to consider:

  • Are you good with heights?
  • Do you mind being confined to small spaces?
  • Are you Physically fit – lifting and climbing involved?
  • Do you mind potentially working around spiders and mice?! (Kim would not make a good electrician!)
  • Do you understand basic maths and physics?
  • Are you responsible and well organised?


If so, becoming an electrician is a great opportunity and the first step to become a qualified electrician is to start an apprenticeship.


What is an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship allows you to earn whilst you learn and gain a qualification without getting into debt with a student loan. It usually takes 3-4 years to become qualified. It is basically a mix of on the job training supported by a supervisor, and theory through an education provider.

There are two ways to proceed with an apprenticeship:

  1. Direct employment through an electrical company and theory through an education provider
  2. Through group employment and training scheme providers – ETCO or ATT

Like anything, there are both positive and negatives for each, so you will just need to decide which you think would be the best fit for you.


Direct employment

With direct employment, you will need to find an electrician that is willing to employ you as an electrical apprentice. You will then need to decide on a training provider and get signed up to start your apprenticeship.

One of the positives of direct employment is that you are an employee of the company. You will learn one companies way of working, you will be less likely to be moved around, and will hopefully form a good relationship with that company and stay on as a qualified electrician, once your apprenticeship ends. Direct Employment to an electrical company can also mean better pay too.


Group employment and training schemes

If you decide to take this route, the provider sources your practical placements and provides you with the theory aspect too. The two main players in NZ are ETCO and ATT. To gain an apprenticeship this way you will need to apply directly to the provider.

One of the positives of joining a group employment and training scheme is job security, if the workplace you are assigned to does not have enough work for you an alternative placement will be found, this may also mean you have the opportunity to work with different companies, meaning different job experiences and different ways of working.

Either route you choose will take the same dedication and work commitment to achieve the end goal of being a qualified electrician. An apprenticeship is not easy physically or mentally but the electrical industry is a great one to be in.

We hope this week’s Tool Tip Thursday has been useful to you, helping you to decide if being an electrician is the right career path for you, and the process to follow to get there. If you have any questions at all, feel free to send us a message to [email protected] or down below in the comments section.

"An apprenticeship to become an electrician normally takes around 3 1/2 years. Regularly working through your study and attending the off-job training will help you finish on time (or even earlier!)."

The Skills Organisation Incorporated(2019)
Kimberly Kelly

Author Kimberly Kelly

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