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Hello All

I want to know what effect the economic downturn has had on the number and availability of training opportunities there are for an adult (25 year old) trainee. Especially in the South, as I’m relatively new the area.

I've worked for years in other construction areas and other manual professions, enjoyed the work, learning new skills, and have excellent references as a result. Yet having bought the books and course material CD's from the internet, I am really taken by the electrician's apprenticeship/adult trainee route as away to further my progress in the industry.

Yet I can't help but feel nervous about investing 100% in the route given all the doom and gloom at the many stories of people not being taken on despite their best efforts.

To put this into context I potentially might have an adult apprenticeship place subject to finding a position. so my idea of being an electrician's labourer first then separate training has been confused with possibly becoming an apprentice.

My concerns focus around:

- Are companies still taking mature people/apprentices to train up?
- Redundancy a few months in if things get worse?
- Are particular areas of the industry faring better than others?
- Who's best to target for the more mature trainee?
- Apprenticeship JIB wages seem very low for an adult with commitments,
(I accept with little knowledge = min wage, but apprentice = less than min wage)
- So would a labourer position be better and study separately?
- What are your experiences/thoughts of adult trainees?

Hopefully my enthusiasm and determination peek through, it's just very daunting given the negativity and horror stories in the current economic climate.

Any other thoughts or advice would be gratefully appreciated.

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hi mate im 24 and in my 3rd year now

i didnt get a placement until then end of my second year i tried everything at first ringing places, sending cvs, putting cvs in wholesailers etc

i got 1 just on the off chance of ringing up il admit it wanst the best place and didnt really learn alot but i found another 1 and left there

i take it you will be paying for the course yourself which is expensive think it was 500 each year for first 2 years and im paying 700 this year but thats as iv started nvq aswel

you dont really learn much practical side at college which is were i sort of fell behind in first 2 years

alot of my class now arent in the industry think alot down to the current situation

hope that helps


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  • #3
Thanks for your input Lockhes, are you currently doing your NVQ3 or just the 2330 at the moment? Just wondering if the assesors for the NVQ3 have an issue with you changing employers?

Does anyone else especially employers in these forums have an input on the state of the industry for trainee and apprenticeships give the current uncertain climate?



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  • #4
Just my 2 cents.
I started a study at home course last year, barely touched it as I work full time and care for someone disabled.
I want to become qualified but when you have little time alone, it's hard, however I have applied for an apprenticeship with E.ON (wish me luck). My advice is that all companies like to recruit staff early in the year to put them through their paces. If your after an apprenticeship you MUST contact any, and ALL electrical companies before the end of February! And they usually only start looking by around January, so the timing is tight! They do NOT advertise in the mainstream media and links on websites are well hidden.
This is intentional.
This keeps applicants down to the bare minimum and also finds people who take inititive, or are on the inside (I work for E.ON as a customer service rep, thats how I found out). When I found out that E.ON was looking for apprentices, I rang around (have to keep options open) and lo and behold, nPower and Scottish energy were also taking on apprentices. The deadline has now obviously passed, but it's worth keeping in mind for next year, if you get nothing this year. Think of night school and study at home as a compliment to your goals. Noone will touch you if you have no experience, unless your a local friendly face.
And take the advice of veteren sparkies on this site, experience trumps any pieces of paper in this buisness, keep that in mind when making choices.


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  • #5
Hey there. It's tough.

I live in Chelmsfor Essex, I'm 30 now, just about to take my final level 3 exams. I did the first two years of the 2330 rolled into one by doing it full time. The plan was to cut a year off the length of the course and get qualified quicker, working as a mature trainee once I finished the second year.

Truth be told, it's been nigh on impossible. If I've not been told I'm simply too old (as is anyone over the age of 21) then I've been told I can't take mondays off to continue my course. Lucky for me I was sitting on a pile of cash when I started this venture as I have had no work and I mean not one days work in electrical since I left the full time course in june of 2008. Businesses do not want to risk the financial fallout of taking on a useless trainee so they simply refuse to do it.

It's worth keeping in mind that I'm not some inexperienced newbie, I've worked in commercial and industrial for almost a year before I started the course, I have my own tools and my own transport and excellent references from a large company in london, and every single certificate for the first two years of the course is a distinction, but finding someone, anyone to give me a shot has been impossible. I've now decided since I only have three months till I qualify I'll concentrate on getting through the exams and forget all about the idea of a trainee position.

I'm not trying to put you off, but I am trying to give you a realistic picture of what you may be approaching. Of the 18 lads in my class 9 are employed through good old fashioned nepotism and the rest are in the same boat as me. Some very clever well experienced lads sitting on our arses whilst the cocky 17 year olds snapped up the apprenticeships.

Sorry to write an essay, and sorry if it all sounds gloomy, but on the up side my mate who qualified last year is now earning £900 per week in central london, plus overtime as and when he wants it, so it's a long road but there might just be a big pot of gold at the end of it.

All the best.


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  • #6
seems like everybodys having the same prob as me then!

im 25 doing the lvl 2 at basilodn and thurrock college

have been looking everywhere for a job, really looking for something as an electricians mate /adult trainee/ electrical improver or some thing similar to that. unfortunatley everyone ive sent cv's to (bar one numpty who still owes me for a weeks work) seem to prefer to employ the school leavers so they can pay them to do the labouring and save them some cash. prety stupid of them really as i would put in twice the effort they do!

a few things ive tried was sending off cv's to all the firms in the yellow pages, all the firms listed as registered on the ECA and NICEIC websites, checking varios employment websites (jobsite, totaljobs,, hillmcglynn, jobcentreplus, etc etc) and basically just keep going at it. can be a bit annoying though when you get a reply saying 'sorry, ur too old to be an apprentice, or that all the apprentice places are filled'... well yeah i know that, thats why i want asking to be an apprentice!!

i stil havent found anything but everything i find i apply for whether its for something im qualified for or not, i figure if they need a fully qualified spark they might also need a mate so i send them an ap and cross my fingers!

ive go a few mates that already work in the industry and they are saying work is a bit thin on the ground at the mo which makes things harder, but hopefully when things start picking up again we can all get on and get some work!
Thanks for your input Lockhes, are you currently doing your NVQ3 or just the 2330 at the moment? Just wondering if the assesors for the NVQ3 have an issue with you changing employers?

Does anyone else especially employers in these forums have an input on the state of the industry for trainee and apprenticeships give the current uncertain climate?


sorry for late reply

i only started doing my nvq this year and i started my current place of employment before my nvq

i cant see it been a problem changing employers while still doing nvq the nvq assesors only come round a few times a year so as long as you tell them what your situation is i cant see it been a problem


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  • #8
Cheers Everyone,

Thanks for all you replies, I have to say as a new entrant into the industry, it seems very daunting as it looks as though there are conflicting messages.

On the one hand the implication (pre credit crunch) is that there is a UK skills shortage, made worse by the experienced workforce is getting older but fewer apprentices are coming through to replacethem, therefore the industry is wanting to take on and train new people.

Yet in reality it seems as though there are many people who shun the "get skills quick 6 week DI route" and go via the college route, however they then seem to find it impossible to get work as a mate/labourer, let alone get on and gain their NVQ Level 3.

I personally can't really reconcile the two messages, have other people found this or is it just me?
Is the skills shortage overrated, or is the industry virtually impossible for a non school leaver to enter?
What do all the college educated mature entrants end up doing?

Will a pick-up in the economy improve the situation?

I'm not put off by the challenge ahead, jsut daunted by it, My plan now is to gain the 2330 Level 2 qualifications at college (whilst working any job) before seriously trying to find electrical work, and I'm seriously hoping the economy will have improved somewhat hopefully creating a few more oppertunities.


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  • #9
i think the college option is usually the better choice, thats what i got told by my mates that are already working in the industry and thats why thats the route i've taken. apparently employers dont wanna go near u if you've done a crash course!

at the moment they are also saying work is scarce, so anyone looking to get into the industry as a mate will prob find it hard. but thats not to say its not worth trying, as this credit crunch wont last forever and when things start to pick up agai there will be work available for poeple without that much experience. there are still jobs going at the moment, im usually finding bewteen 2 or 3 a week im applying for, most want experience but there are a couple now and again that dont. u just gotta get lucky and get your foot in the door!

at teh moment i work in a call centre for lloyds tsb and go college in the evenings, im getting near the end of the lvl 2 so am really trying to find something, but im not holding my breath, if neccesary ill get qualified now and get a job a soon as i can!
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