Electricians may work in workshops or on location at construction sites, private dwellings, industrial plants, power stations, offices and anywhere requiring electrical maintenance. They may work in cramped conditions or at heights, and sometimes their work can be dangerous. They usually work normal business hours but may be required to be on call day or night to conduct emergency repairs.
While completing an apprenticeship, a first year apprentice electrician will earn at least $410 per week. Once qualified, most electricians work as independent subcontractors, running their own small business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their services, as well as their level of skill and experience.
Electricians use tools such as screwdrivers, pliers, drills and wire strippers. They also use ohmmeters or voltmeters for testing electrical equipment. Since the work can sometimes be dangerous, they may be required to wear and use personal protective equipment (PPE) such as bright and reflective safety clothing, hard hats, earmuffs, gloves, goggles and enclosed steel-capped boots.
To become an electrician you usually need to complete an apprenticeship. The electrical mechanics apprenticeship usually takes 48 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.
To work as an electrician in Western Australia, you must obtain an Electrician’s License. Contact the EnergySafety Division of the Department of Commerce (WA) for more information.
Workers in the construction industry must undergo safety induction training and be issued with a Construction Induction Card. In Western Australia, training is conducted by registered training organisations authorised by the WorkSafe Division of the Department of Commerce (WA).
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.