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Often, the difference between a good job and a bad job can
be in a single wire.
So, you're thinking of being an electrician…
With our society's heavy dependence on electricity showing no signs
of abating, there'll always be a market for people who know how to
install, maintain, repair and test electrical equipment. In short,
people need electricians to keep plugged in and switched on.
There are a couple of checkboxes that are helpful to tick from the
outset. You need to be reasonably good at maths, as your work will
require things like trigonometry, transposition of electrical
equations, percentages, and knowledge of vectors. You'll also need
some mechanical and technical aptitude and good attention to detail.
Often, the difference between a good job and a bad job can be in a
Physical requirements include good eyesight, with no colour
blindness, as you'll need to be able to distinguish between different
coloured wires. You'll also need good hand eye coordination, no
dizziness or vertigo and good general physical fitness. The work
involved varies from jobs at domestic homes through to large
It also wouldn't hurt to be familiar with the AS3000 wiring
rules – the Australian standard – which sets out the minimum
installation standards of the industry. As an apprentice, this isn't
an essential requirement, but some basic familiarity would show an
employer that you're serious about pursuing this trade.
To become a licensed electrician you'll need to complete a Certificate
III in Electrotechnology. There is a range of electrician
courses on offer with TAFE NSW, but with no formal entry requirements,
the Cert III is most suitable for someone just starting out. It's a
four-year course, which involves both on-the-job and off-the-job
training. Completing the Cert III allows you to become an electrician
or electrical tradesperson in Australia. It's also a handy pathway to
of Electrical Engineering, which will open up a higher paying
[quote]Did you know you can begin your TAFE studies while you're
still at school?[/quote]
This is through the TVET
program. TVET stands for "TAFE-delivered vocational education and
training", and electrotechnology is among the industry areas that
are eligible. It means you can learn valuable workplace skills and
gain hands-on experience while you're still at school, increasing your
prospects of gaining an apprenticeship. The TVET program has been
developed by the Board of Studies and can count towards your HSC.
Upon completion of the Electrotechnology TVET course you'll be
awarded a Certificate
II in Electrotechnology (Career Start), which is nationally
accredited and recognised. If you're interested in starting your
training while still at school, speak to a career advisor either at
your school or your nearest TAFE NSW college.
If enrolling in a TVET course is unavailable, look at enrolling at a
TAFE NSW college. Some colleges may offer an electrical pre-apprenticeship.
[quote]Studying for your trade at TAFE is a great start, but still
doesn't necessarily guarantee an apprenticeship.[/quote]
There's a lot of competition for electrotechnology apprenticeships,
so you'll need to give your efforts an extra power surge to put you
ahead of everyone else.
A good starting point would be your local energy provider. There are
many energy retailers across NSW offering paid electrician
apprenticeship programs. In most cases, the only prerequisite is that
you're an Australian citizen who has completed high school.
It may also be worth contacting the Australian
Apprenticeships Support Network for help finding an electrical
apprenticeship in NSW.
If you actually know someone who's already a licensed electrician,
ask if you can accompany them for a few hours each week. This will
give you a good idea of what it is they actually do. They may be able
to connect you to colleagues or other people in the industry. Many
people get their first start in a new area through personal contacts.
An electrician's work can also be extremely varied. From replacing an
old fuse box to fitting electrical sockets in a new house or
programming and maintaining automated production lines, the work is
never dull and always involved.