Gerry Papworth, Technical Director for Electrical Training at Steve Willis Training, explains why electrical training should be more than just apprenticeships for young people.
Electrical Training is not just about Apprenticeships for young people, though of course that is one of the key routes into the profession. Training Centres also offer career paths for what are delicately called mature entrants such as those leaving the armed forces and others seeking a career change.
Not everyone knows what they want to do when they are 16, I know I didn’t. I was lucky and ended up doing an Apprenticeship, but that doesn’t happen for a lot of people and they find themselves needing training – or re-training – later on.
Over the years I have worked with plenty of people who have come into the electrical industry in their mid-20s and upwards. These ‘adult learners’ may have backgrounds in allied trades such as the wider construction industry, but many have previously been in completely different areas of work. As well as the armed forces leavers retraining under the MOD’s career transition partnership, we have also had former city workers seeking a complete career change.
It can be encouragement from family members already in the electrical business, or from parents wanting their son or daughter to take up a trade, that leads young people into an apprenticeship. For adult learners it is their own choice to develop or change their career.
“Here at Steve Willis Training, an adult new entrant can take what’s often thought of as the traditional training route by joining one of our day release programmes.”
Adult learners can bring so much to the training process through their life and career experiences. They are new to the industry and we must ensure they are trained to the same high standards as our apprentices.
Adult learners do not have the same levels of funding available as the young apprentices, so it is a serious decision they are making to commit to a training programme. Service leavers can apply for financial support through the Ministry of Defence’s Enhanced Learning Credits Administration Service (ELCAS), but others starting their electrical training may have to borrow money to cover the costs. These self-funded trainees therefore need to be conﬁdent they are getting value for money. They should expect first class training and an industry recognised qualification at the end of their course.
Qualifications have changed over the years for both apprentices and adult learners alike but the core content has remained the same. Adult learners are often very knowledgeable about qualifications and will research thoroughly the courses available.
City & Guilds qualifications such as Inspection and Testing, Design and Verification are popular, and of course everyone in the profession needs to re-train when new regulations such as the 17th Edition Amendment 3 come in to force.
So what are the options for mature entrants to the electrical profession?
Possible qualification routes
Here at Steve Willis Training, an adult new entrant can take what’s often thought of as the traditional training route by joining one of our day release programmes. They come to either one of our training centres in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, or Portchester just outside Portsmouth, for one day per week over three years, and qualify as an electrician after achieving their City & Guilds 2357 Level 3 qualification.
An alternative to this would be to follow one of our popular five-week block courses, which at five days a week for a full five weeks is the equivalent of one day a week day release at college for a whole academic year. In this way trainees complete a range of short courses over the five weeks, and can go on to use the qualifications and experience they’ve gained on the programme to join a domestic installers certification scheme.
Short courses are also an important part of the training process for adult learners in the electrical trade. By offering the most up to date facilities and experienced trainers, training centres such as Steve Willis Training play a vital role as electricians maintain their continuing professional development.
Steve Willis Training has over 15 years’ experience in electrical training. As well as electrical apprenticeships, they offer short courses for tradespeople and training programmes for new entrants to the profession and those seeking to change career.