Retraining as an electrician: A guide to becoming a ‘Sparky’ in Guildford
23rd July 2012
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Retraining as an electrician: Our guide to becoming a ‘Sparky’ in Guildford


More and more working professionals are looking to work in the building service trade, with the electrician occupation being a top choice.  This guide on the various training options available to you is courtesy of YOUR Insurance, specialist providers of Public Liability Insurance for Electricians and Tradesman.

Become an Apprentice

An apprenticeship is the traditional way to train and become an electrician, Apprentices are hired by employers whilst learning the trade in a work-based training programme, giving you the opportunity to ‘earn as you learn’ over a 2 to 3 year period.

2012 is the year to start an apprenticeship. Following David Cameron’s recent objective to reduce unemployment rates, the government is providing funding for 250,000 extra apprenticeships in a mission to provide UK businesses with more skilled employees. Although apprenticeships are usually viewed as something for young people, there are no legal restrictions based on age that prevent an adult from taking part in an Apprenticeship scheme.

ATL (‘Apprenticeship Training Limited’) is the UK’s largest training provider in the area of building services engineering, and they run a specialist electrical centre right here in Guildford. They offer flexible training, as you can choose to learn through an instructor or through blended learning (instructor-led with self-study), working full- or part-time, block weeks, or through weekend and evening courses.

There are no fees for joining an ATL apprenticeship scheme (although you will have to buy your own work-wear, tools and learning materials), and you’ll be earning approximately £100 per week whilst training.

Whichever option you choose with ATL, every course leads to industry recognised skills and professional qualifications. You will achieve:


  •  ·         City & Guilds 2357 Level 3 Diploma in                             Electrotechnical Technology
  • ·         Certificate in First Aid
  • ·         CSCS Site Safety card
  • ·         Key Skills (Literacy, Numeracy and ICT)



If you have already obtained an Electrical Installation City & Guilds 2330 Level 2 Certificate, then you can apply to do an Electrical Installation Advanced Apprenticeship offered at Guildford College of Further and Higher Education.

This Advanced Apprenticeship covers the installation, maintenance and repair of electro-technical equipment, as well as learning how to test and install electrical products. You will be expected to attend college once a week for practical theory sessions. The rest of your training is conducted in your workplace, where you will conduct assessments under the supervision of an NVQ Assessor.

What makes this apprenticeship scheme unique from others is that it’s designed for adults only, so you will need to be employed full-time in the industry and committed to 18 months of training. You’ll be happy to know that there are no tuition fees (apart from a small exam fee!), and various start dates throughout the year.

If you decide to look elsewhere for an apprenticeship, then beware training companies offering you careers courses that do not include the industry’s recommended entry-level qualification (usually a City & Guilds Level 2 or Level 3 NVQ/Diploma). You will not have the same recognition as a qualified electrician and you may find it more difficult to get work. You also run the risk of having to repeat your training if Government regulations change, which they often do!

An alternative to being an apprentice is to learn through vocational courses at a local college or training centre. Guildford College offers adults the required City & Guilds courses needed to become an electrician, through a combination of hands-on workshop and classroom theory lessons.   Read on.....

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