Completing your electrical apprenticeship opens up an array of options and opportunities within the electrical industry; some of which you may not have even realised!
Do you want to be your own boss? Then an exciting opportunity could be to start your own electrical business and help train your own apprentices. By starting a sole trader or partnering up with other electricians, you have the opportunity to develop a client base and grow your company on your terms using the skills you have developed over your apprenticeship. Whilst this can turn into a potentially lucrative option, starting your own business does present many challenges. Until you build your own client base, and word-of-mouth referrals start to spread, it can be difficult to secure consistent work at first. Plus don’t forget various administrative tasks like paperwork, recruitment and chasing payment that also comes as part of the package of being a business owner. Success rarely comes overnight, but if you are willing to put the work in, starting your own company could be a rewarding path to success.
Home technology is constantly evolving, and the need for professional experts to integrate and install future-proofed, reliable systems is growing with it. A smart home installer provides high-end intelligent homes with the latest technology; providing wired and wireless infrastructures, multi-room audio and visual systems as well as smart heating and lighting solutions, an exciting prospect for any young electrician. The smart home market is forecasted to be worth £120 billion by the year 2020. Your electrical apprenticeship has provided you with the fundamental skills needed to install and integrate these systems. By completing a bit of extra training with someone like CEDIA or KNX, you can equip yourself with the expertise needed to take advantage of this growing market.
If smart homes don’t appeal to you then there are plenty of other exciting specialisations you could consider- all offering unique career experiences! Most will specialise as industrial and maintenance electricians, looking after factories and warehouses, but you could also focus on outdoor events and find yourself wiring up the lighting and sound for a music festival, or in the middle of the North Sea on an oil rig. You might specialise in renewables, fitting Solar PV panels or testing your head-for-heights maintaining a wind turbine. The skills you are learning now provide a foundation , it’s up to you as to where you want to take those skills.
However, if you have picked up a passion for engineering and would like to continue learning after completing your apprenticeship, you may be interested in applying for university and completing a degree. An electrical engineer designs and develops new electrical equipment, solves problems and tests equipment. There is a constant demand from both tech and non-tech companies for skilled engineers. Additionally, it provides financial security as it is such a highly paid profession, with an average graduate starting salary of £28,231 (significantly above the national university graduate average of between £19,000 – £22,000). This, as well as the fact that most engineering jobs involve working in different environments with a variety of people, makes it one of the most rewarding prospects available.
On the other hand, if having completed your electrical apprenticeship, you no longer feel this is the profession for you, then none of your newly acquired knowledge need go to waste. You may be interested in working for a manufacturer or wholesaler within the electrical industry and using your expertise in the sales, marketing or technical teams. In these roles, you can develop new skills in a familiar environment where your experiences during your apprenticeship provide you with a valuable and unique perspective. Additionally, these professions can offer has a limitless earning potential, especially in sales where, on top of your salary, you could receive commission and possible bonuses.