Almost every building, whether it is a home, business or factory, needs electrical power sources to run equipment and provide light. The person who is trained, qualified and sometimes licensed to carry out installation and maintenance of electrical systems is an electrician. This person is legally and technically responsible for the important work which he has carried out at a specific location. It is one of those fields which has traditionally been dominated by men, but there are no real reasons why women cannot consider this as a worthwhile career, especially as the aptitudes, skills and traits are not specific to men only.
WHAT THE WORK INVOLVES
At some time during the workday, an electrician might:
- Read blueprints to see where electrical wiring is required.
- Install and maintain wiring, lighting and other electrical systems.
- Inspect electrical components such as transformers and circuit breakers.
- Identify electrical problems by using a testing device.
- Use various types of hand and power tools such as screwdrivers, drills and saws in doing electrical work.
- Understand and follow building codes, standards and safety practices.
- Carry out maintenance work, including fixing or replacing parts, light fixtures, control systems, motors and other types of electrical equipment.
- Troubleshoot using ammeters, voltmeters, thermal scanners, and cable testers to find problems and ensure that they are corrected.
Many electricians work alone while some find employment with electrical contracting, building and construction companies. Many may work in maintenance departments of large companies.
Electrical problems and even emergencies can occur at any time, so weekend work and extended hours are sometimes necessary.
WHO IS THIS CAREER FOR?
Think of yourself as being ‘investigative’, a thinker who is meticulous pays attention to detail and can think critically to troubleshoot problems; also ‘realistic’, a doer with good skills in the use of tools, equipment and machines. Being business-minded is also an asset for those working on their own.
WHAT CAN I EARN?
You can earn a medium- to high-range salary with good skills, experience and qualifications.
HOW DO I QUALIFY?
In secondary school, get a sound education, including English, maths, information technology and a science subject, preferably physics. Post-secondary training will include courses in electrical theory, maths and science. Be prepared to get practical experience as an apprentice under the supervision of a licensed electrician for at least five years. Theoretical studies will require four years leading to HEART certification, City & Guilds or a university degree.
We recommend that you get in touch with the Jamaica Licensed Electricians Association – http://jamaicaelectricians.org as there are many plans being put in place for regulating the profession more strictly and for the training, upgrading and licensing of persons. Before becoming licensed, both and oral and written exams must be passed.
WHO OFFERS TRAINING IN JAMAICA?
Check the HEART Trust/NTA for specific programmes, University of Technology and the University of the West Indies.