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Case Study: Electrician - Des

What do you do?

I do a wide variety of electrical work, from domestic calls to working on bigger projects like setting up a new pub or doing the electrical work for a new house.

I've got a van, so if I'm doing domestic work I might visit several houses every day.

I might do anything from fixing a new light fitting in a kitchen to a big re-wiring job, to fixing a glass-cutting machine and working on injection moulding machines. At the moment, I'm doing a lot of work in new offices. This means I'm doing a lot of night and weekend work.

What is your background?

I was lucky because my dad was very practical. He was one of those dads that seemed to be able to do anything. He showed me loads of clever ways to get practical things done. I decided I wanted to be an electrician when I was still at school.

What characteristics do you need to be successful in your job?

Technical and manual skills are essential to becoming a successful electrician. You've got to want to work hard and do what it takes to get the job done.

What other jobs could you do using the skills from this job?

There are a lot of skills and knowledge that electricians acquire through their training and experience.

This means an electrician can move into many different fields. They could become a fire alarm technician, communication cabling installer, or heating and air conditioning installer. There are also management opportunities with larger firms.

What changes will there be in the future?

Computers will be used more and more in the future. There are now devices and systems that can diagnose their own problems, so electricians will have to continue to learn more about these new systems and take courses to keep updated.

Are there many opportunities to enter this career?

Yes, there will always be an opportunity for people to become electricians.

What do you like about your job?

What I like about my job is the variety. One day I could be on a factory floor installing a hundred horsepower motor for a large machine and the next day I could be in someone's home repairing a light switch.

The other thing I like is that this is both a mental and physical job.

It is really satisfying to see a job done from start to finish, and seeing something work at the end.

What do you dislike about your job?

There's very little that I actually dislike. I'd say the really annoying thing is driving from job to job, especially in heavy traffic. Once I'm there, I enjoy the work, but being stuck in a traffic jam is so frustrating.

What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?

You have to want to do this work. And not just for the pay. It's hard work and it can be physically demanding. But if you want to do it, go for it.

A day in the life

5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Arriving at the job site (an office), marking wall area that has to be drilled, laying out plastic to protect carpet, drilling, cutting and chiselling the wall for new conduits.

8:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Running flexible conduit into the wall and ceiling space, mixing cement.

9:00 pm - 10:00 pm

Securing boxes and conduit into the wall with cement.

10:00 pm - 11:00 pm

Cleaning up all dust and debris.

11:00 pm - 12:00 am

Putting away all drills, tools, chisels, extension cords and materials.

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