Case Study: Electrician - Emma

What do you do?

I'm a fully-qualified electrician.

I run my own electrical business. I do all aspects of electrical work, from changing a plug to complete rewiring.

What is your background?

When I left school I wanted to be a midwife. So, I went to college and did an HNC in Health and Social Care. But, after a while, I found that this wasn't the right thing for me, so I ended up doing bar work and cleaning. I realised I preferred doing 'hands-on' type of work, which I found more challenging.

I also had a friend who was an electrician, and, at weekends, I'd go and help him out a bit. I found the work really enjoyable and intriguing, and so that's how I got into this line of work.

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

To do this job well, you need to be physically fit, friendly and very honest. It also helps if you have a practical mind.

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

You could do other types of skilled jobs where you use your hands.

You could also move into other areas of similar work, for example, working with 'greener energy', which is something I am interested in doing.

What changes will there be in the future?

Technology will change over time, which will reflect how we do our work. Safety in this line of work will also become increasingly important.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

Working for myself is a big challenge.

As a woman, it's also quite difficult to be taken seriously working in the building trade, which is predominantly a male-oriented industry.

Are there many opportunities to enter this career?

I think, as a female electrician, there are more opportunities to work for yourself or for the larger electrical firms.

It could be that smaller electrical firms are less keen to take a female on, if they think it could be more hassle and expense, such as having to have separate toilet facilities, allowing for maternity leave, etc. Well, they might not want you to be climbing up into the loft of someone's house to sort their electrics out, if you're seven months pregnant, for example!

What do you like about your job?

I like the 'hands-on', practical nature of the work. I like the challenges that the job brings.

What do you dislike about your job?

The hardest part of the job is going out to do quotes and then doing all the paperwork. Sometimes, I can still be at my computer at midnight!

What are your ambitions?

I would like to get involved with working with 'greener energy'. So, I'd like to do a course on solar power, and see where that leads me. I thrive on new things, new challenges, etc.

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

As a female electrician, I'd say to any other females, in particular, who are thinking of entering this industry, that as long as you stick it out, work hard, and try to remain confident, then you will thrive in this industry and gain respect from your male co-workers.

A day in the life

No two days are the same in this job. Each call-out I go to is different, so there isn't really anything as such as a 'typical day'.

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