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7 Skills Every Electrician Needs
If you’re in search of a career path, becoming an electrician is one of the more enticing options available from an employability point of view. The UK has a significant shortage of skilled tradesmen, which means electricians are in high demand across the land.
Along with there being plenty of work available, the financial incentive is also an appealing prospect. Based on government statistics, newly qualified electricians can expect to earn at least £18,000 a year. Experienced workers are in line to earn more than £40,000 annually.
Yet before you can start enjoying the benefits, it’s essential to understand that it takes a lot of work to become an electrician. Skills Training Group lists all the steps you need to take to earn the right to be a fully qualified electrician – something you absolutely want to do if you’re serious about working in the industry.
Education is only one part of the process. If you want to be a successful electrician, one that is happy in their job, you also need to possess a specific collection of personal and professional skills.
So with that said, below are seven skills every electrician needs:
1. Standard technical electrician skills (and safety knowledge)
It goes without saying, but you need to have the right technical skills to complete your work to the proper standard. These skills will be taught to you during electrician training, as well as safety knowledge that will keep you and everyone else protected. Electricity is highly dangerous, so it must be treated with respect.
If you’re training to be an electrician, here are some of the standard skills you need:
- The ability to install cables, conduits, tubing, and switching devices.
- How to use appropriate power tools.
- The knowledge to read and understand blueprints.
- Understand all procedures and electrical safety rules.
- How to repair or replace equipment, fixtures, and wiring.
Do these tasks sound appealing to you? If so, read on. If they don’t tickle your fancy, it’s perhaps best to abandon the electrician plan now before you delve too deep.
Now you might see electrician work as being a solo role, but this is actually rarely the case. For a start, if you work for an employer, you’ll have to report to a project manager or supervisor. Plus, if you gain a senior rank, you may even be tasked with training apprentices.
Moreover, to complete full projects – such as a house build – you will have to collaborate with plumbers, carpenters, and other tradespeople. As a result, teamwork and the ability to get along with people are vital components for an electrician. You need to have patience, communication skills, and a friendly demeanour.
3. Problem-solving skills
Electricians are, in essence, problem solvers. Each and every day, you’ll be faced with various different challenges that need to be resolved. These challenges can range from figuring out why an outlet is sparking, to working out the most cost-effective method for wiring a building.
Finding the best solution for a problem is the bread and butter of electrician work.
4. Physical skills
It can be easy to underestimate, but you have to factor in the physical nature of electrician work. No, you’re not required to do strenuous activities for hours on end. You also don’t need to be in peak physical fitness to work as an electrician.
What you do have to consider, however, are aspects such as:
- Lifting heavy weights.
- Going up and down, ladders, scaffolding, and stairs.
- Standing around for extended periods.
- Squeezing into tight corners and spaces.
- Bending over and crouching.
The electrician lifestyle is an active one. While none of the above tasks sound arduous, they can build up when done day in, day out.
Alongside the fitness side of things, you also need to display excellent motor skills. Dexterity, such as having a steady hand and boasting excellent hand-eye coordination, is required when working with small objects and tools. Good vision is also essential. You cannot be colour-blind, for example, due to the colour-coded nature of electrical wiring.
A flexible work schedule is something you have to accept when becoming an electrician. A traditional nine-to-five schedule isn’t always on the table, and you may have to complete emergency runs when required. Plus, as you usually work on-call, you could end up having a full work schedule one day, then a quieter one the next day.
6. Basic maths skills
It’s true: you do have to possess maths skills to be a successful electrician. That sentence likely strikes fear into any aspiring electrician who struggles with arithmetic. However, there’s no need to worry.
This is because only simple maths is mandatory. To perform any routine calculations and measurements, you’ll need to perform addition, subtraction, division, and multiplication. In some cases, percentages, fractions, and decimals may be thrown into the equation. Yet these are all basic maths skills you learned at primary and secondary school.
7. Customer service skills
As an electrician, customer service is an essential skill. It doesn’t matter if you’re working for an employer, or running your own electrician business, being able to positively interact with customers is vital.
Why? Well, simply put, if a customer doesn’t trust or like you, that’s the end of any possibility of repeat business. While you might survive if the odd household ends their working relationship with you, it’s a different story if a business takes a dislike to your customer service approach. Not to mention that negative reviews may flood in online, and this could cause people to choose other electricians in the area.
Thankfully, it doesn’t take too much effort to deliver high-quality customer service. A friendly, professional, and patient attitude should serve as the foundation. Then it’s a case of displaying honesty when it comes to telling customers about the work involved and how much it will cost. Above all else, it’s imperative you never cut corners when doing any jobs. A friendly and professional manner is one thing, but customers are paying you to complete the work to the best of your ability.
About the Author
Alec Neufeld's extensive background in the construction trade fuels his passion for alternative energy and green building methods. A retired builder, he now enjoys a freelance writing career, alongside helping people as a general contractor.