How to become an Electrician

I am often asked by young people what the best way to become an electrician is. The method in which you can learn the theory side of the trade as well as getting hands-on experience is by completing a modern apprenticeship. Being an apprentice can be hard work; here is a realistic look at the journey to becoming a professional electrician .


This is the first and potentially most difficult part of the whole process – securing a place with an established Electrical Contractor. There is a large demand for apprenticeship places however there are a few ways in which you can set yourself aside from the competition:


  • Have some work experience – it doesn’t necessarily matter what it is, so long as it shows that you can carry out a day’s work and cooperate with others. Some contractors, such as ourselves, really value positions which involve customer service.
  • Approach electrical contractors – a phone call is probably the best approach, followed up with an email which includes a CV.
  • Be polite, mannerable and have a sense of energy/enthusiasm when communicating with potential employers – remember you are asking a contractor to take you under their wing for several years; they need to be confident that you are the right person to invest their time in and the right person to represent their organisation.
  • Complete a pre-apprenticeship course and get a driver’s license. Although each of these aren’t strictly necessary, they may help set you aside from the crowd and make you more of an attractive candidate.

1st Year

Congratulations on securing an apprenticeship – now the real work begins. You will spend around 30% of this year at a Technical College carrying out practical classwork and theory work. Many people are surprised at how difficult the theory side of the course is so it’s important to stick in and ask for help when you need it. You will be in a class of up to 20 students, you will likely make friends here who will help you throughout the apprenticeship and beyond.

When you aren’t at college you will be on-site with a qualified electrician, known as a ‘Journey-Man’. You will assist them in completing jobs – it is important to recognise that you are working towards a common goal and under their instruction. Many of the jobs asked of you in this year will seem trivial, such as sweeping and cleaning-up, trips to the van and wholesalers and making cups of tea!

2nd Year

You will have gained a lot of valuable experience by this stage. Your company will expect you to carry out straightforward electrical jobs such as running cables, terminating outlets and planning simple jobs whilst under the close supervision of your journeyman. You will still be expected to carry out some of the more menial jobs as in year one, but more and more time will be spent on actual electrical work.

You will spend less time at college, however the work will become more challenging. More time will be spent on theoretical work than practical. Usually a medium scale project which takes several weeks to complete will make up part of the coursework – it will call upon the skills and experience which you have learned so far both in college and at work. You will learn about testing and certification of electrical work this year.

3rd Year

By this stage many employers will expect you to be completing basic jobs under your own steam. You should have worked hard and gained the trust of your colleagues so that they feel confident in letting you spread your wings.

You will spend much less time at college this year and that time will almost exclusively be spent working on theory based learning. There is a large project to complete this year which will take a long time to complete and require you to carry out at work at home in your own time.

4th Year

There is no college time this year – all of your progress will be at work. You should spend time learning how to test and inspect electrical installations as well as basic fault finding. During this year you will have to complete your FICA exam which is the ‘Final Integrated Competence Assessment’. This is a challenging, at times stressful assessment which takes place over 2 days.

Becoming a Qualified Electrician is a long process which requires hard work. Once you have completed your apprenticeship you will have gained a lifelong set of skills and earned a reputation as a skilled professional person.

Good luck!

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free quote or call us direct on 0131 661 1181.

Lumen Electrical are Fully qualified NICEIC approved Edinburgh electrician located in Edinburgh.

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