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Morning, just wondered if someone could help. I am start a VRQ Level 2 Certificate for Domestic Installer course in a few week. It is an 18 week course, 3 hours, 1 night a week. Once this is done I will be starting the 17th Edition of the IEEE Wiring Regs. Once this is all done am I able to start my own business or is there other courses I would need to do?

I have been reading a number of forums and people say different things from a 2 week intensive training to 2 years....

Once qualified I would to like to gain experience before starting up on my own... I am now 32 and have worked on Tesco stores for main contractors and suppliers over the last 5 years and have been made redundant 3 times. This is something I have always been interested in from an early age. I used to take my battery powered toys apart and wire it up the the mains... Not a good idea I know, but I couldn't have done a bad job, as I am still here to tell the story.

Anyway, if anyone can point me in the right direction, it would be much appreciated. If I am already on the right track... Great!!
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  • #2
Haven't the people running the course told you what you'll be capable of doing when you're finished?

You have to understand that qualification change over the years, and the Domestic Installer course is new, and nobody seems to have a clue what qualifications go together and mean what.

Get on the phone to the training centre and find out what courses you're sitting, and what qualifications you end up with. After all you're probably paying them quite a lot of money!
Welcome to the forum Stoke lad. All I can say before you part with any money, I hope to god you haven't yet is search this forum. you will find

1) There are loads upon loads of lads here termed 5 week wonders, because of this Domestic Installer course. Yours it seems is spread over a longer less intensive period but I would imagine it's the same beast.

2) All this course will give you is the opportunity, or now lack of opportunity, to become a self employed domestic installer. Which will mean you can register yourself with a Part P self certification scheme and start notifying your work that is notifiable through Part P.

3) What this course is not telling you is

a) How many guys there are like you taking this course, literally 1000s
b) That there is an ever shrinking cake of domestic work you guys are chasing
c) There is in fact a shortage of skilled electricians, but you will not be an electrician you will be a domestic installer
d) These qualifications will in today's market never get you a job in the electrical industry with an employer
e) That the course is just the start there must be another 2k-3K start up costs in going self employed

And really I can go on and on, but please don't take my word alone.

As said search posts where guys are offering their labour free for getting experience. There really is not a lot of work out in our industry, look at the last set of UK GDP figures, it shrank by 0.7% and that was led by the construction industry.

Look at other careers where there are actual opportunities, but I'm afraid for the next few years ours is in the Batten down the hatches stage


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  • #4
Hi Stokelad,

This was my route into the trade and I am pleased that to date all has been promising.

One thing you have to bear in mind here though, ALL of these training centres will tell you that you will be qualified to set up your own business. This IS true, on paper you will have what is required. However, these courses do not make you a Part P qualified Electrician as it is thought when subscribing to the course. You will still need to be assessed as competent by A Part P scheme provider which give or take a a £50 or so either way will set you back around £500.

Many people think that with the qualifications obtained they can swiftly set about bashing houses and earning money (Up to 50,000 a year according to the centres lol) This is not the case.

I was fortunate to land a position working with a spark during my course which was a massive help. Without this the thought of going into someones house would have been frightening. On the course you work in a bay which, whilst it can help you with cable clipping and the understanding of how circuits are installed, does not prepare you for what you will encounter in the real world.

I am much more confident now but I still have masses to learn. I often wish I knew just a fraction of the many members who contribute to posts on this forum.

I would say truthfully that I have learnt more reading posts here than I did on my course. The course taught me how to pass the exams but other than that it didn't make any sense lol

I started out in September last year and introduced myself gently by only taking on small jobs like replacing lights etc. Now there are not many jobs that I do not do but I still KNOW MY LIMITATIONS and I am happy to walk away when I meet them. Most of my work comes from installing new circuits (cooker/shower) kitchen rewires, Extensions, loft conversions and consumer unit upgrades.

The part that takes the time is learning the testing procedure and understanding the results. If you do not have a multifunctional tester yet then I would urge that you purchase one and create a "DEAD test rig in your garage or shed and start practicing. If you get stuck then post up the questions and you WILL receive assistance. Just be sure to make members aware that you are working on a DEAD test rig that you have created in a safe place.

You will encounter many snide remarks along the way regarding your chosen route into the trade but keep your head held high and persevere as the courses CAN produce a minority of good sparks who CAN become successful.

Good luck and all the best.

Kind regards

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  • #5
Hello and welcome, as said above the industry is quite over-populated, the training centres will tell you that theres loads of work out there and you'll earn 30k+ yearly but this is not always the case. I understand your thinking that you want to be self-employed and better yourself but please go into this with you eyes open, it's not gonna be easy and you are not going to be living the dream (and that's speaking from experience).

If you are serious about it and you have the passion and willingness to learn then dont let anybody put you off but it'll take more than three hours a week and the course will only show you the very basics. You will have to have you head in books constantly, even the most experienced sparks dont know it all and you will be always learning.

Also, expect a hostile reception from the time served guys as a domestic installed is the devil to them :devilish:

If you do decide to go for it then good luck and visit the site as often as possible as it will certainly increase you knowledge


I did the VRQ course to get my head around the building regs.

It teaches you the basics only, but you'll need to spend a lot of your own time reading up on the fundamentals of electrics before you'll feel confident to do anything. I was reading up for about a year before doing the course (not intentionally, it took me ages to get leave from work to go to college). I have a background in engineering and physics which helped me no end.

The major thing that no domestic installer course teaches you to do is something which can only be gained by experience of getting out there and learning the basics of domestic building work. I've been lucky enough to have picked up a lot of experience over the years from friends, family, general trial and error on my own house and the wonderful internet (forums like this!). No college course teaches you how to jemmy up floorboards, chase walls and fill them afterwards, choose fixings, use tools properly etc.

Don't be too disheartened by the anti-domestic installer people (there are always some everywhere) just take these pieces of advice:

- Never refer to yourself as an electrician, you're not and won't be for a fair few years
- Never think that you've done the course so you're sorted, there is always more to learn
- Always know your limitations and NEVER try to do more than you are trained and comfortable with

Good luck
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Adam W

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  • #7
What Malcolm said in post #3 really.
I started the 3 year course thinking I was just about ready to buy a van and start harvesting the 'lucrative market'; by the end of it and after doing a bit of site work I realised I didn't have a clue.
Not sure if I'd go into the domestic market now either - as mentioned there are thousands of guys in your situation, plus there are guys who have worked for electrical contracting companies, been laid off and gone out on their own, then there are the domestic electricians who have been trading for years. Despite what the training companies will tell you there is less work around now because people are holding off having work done, fewer houses going up (the building trade was one of the worst hit by the recession) and there are so many domestic installers chasing the work.


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  • #8
Just wanted to say thanks for all the great replies. I know it won't be easy and I understand that jumping in my own van and getting out there to earn big money won't happen (hopefully that would change).

I also do want to further my education to industrial and solar installation. I have a lot of contacts with EIC who work on Tesco stores, maybe this could be something I could get them to help me with.

When I first went to find out about the course I am due to start. The guy told me I would start of small, i.e. moving lights, adding sockets and this would be inspected by NICEIC and then as time goes on and I prove myself I can work my way. Is that basically how it works?

But I know it will take time. I am in a good position that I have a full time job at the moment. But working for myself is something I have always wanted to do. So whatever it takes and how ever long it takes I am prepared to do it.

Again, thanks for your advise and comments, it's been a massive help.

Adam W

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  • #9
The way it's supposed to work is you go to college one day a week to learn the theory, and join an electrical company as a 'mate' to put into practice what you've learned.
I realise work is scarce at the moment, especially for someone with little experience; I gained experience doing agency work because they don't seem so fussy about who they have working for them - at the end of the job or week they can sack you off without notice.


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  • #10
How about learning the basics over a few trades and becoming a local handyman? Does anyone think that would be a good area to look at???


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  • #11
I would go for the 2357 mate.....looks great everything rolled into one.

We had to do the 2330,2382,2391 seperatley.

I'm sure the collage is like 1 day a week aswell


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  • #12
How about learning the basics over a few trades and becoming a local handyman? Does anyone think that would be a good area to look at???

Jack of all trades, master of none? ;)

Plasterers around here are earning more than sparks :yikes


Hi Stokelad,

Sorry for the late reply, but this sounded fairly similar to my situation so I thought I'd add a bit.

I have just become part p certified (literally today) after doing a similar course to yourself (6months - 3hrs, one evening a week as I am 40yrs old and work full time in another field). After gaining the qualification you then HAVE to become certified by one of the government recognised bodies. I have literally just had my assessment from one such body (Stroma) and they grilled me for the whole day to make sure I new what I was talking about.

I am now legally allowed to carry out any form of domestic electrical work and I think this is wrong. Like 1shortcircuit I have found an electrician who lets me work alongside him to gain experience. I will work with this chap until I feel confident enough to start doing solo jobs.

I have found that on top of the £1500 for the course I have spent:

- £250 on a good quality yet second hand multi function tester, this is something you have to have unless you buy individual test equipment plus £60 to get it calibrated.
- £300 to get assessed (this is cheap)
- roughly £500 on other equipment.... so far!

I believe you will generally get asked by the assessor to undertake the '17th Edition of the IET WIRING REGULATIONS course' within the first year or 2 of being accepted with whichever body you choose to go with. I have seen this course being run over 3.5 days or 5 weeks (part time, few hours in the evening). My own experience is that I will be expected to undertake this course in the first year.

It has felt absolutely fantastic to retrain in a different area and the electricians I have met personally have not expressed resentment towards me, but I wouldn't blame them if they did, although it should really be resentment towards the government introducing Part P rather than those taking advantage of it.

Good luck and go for it....


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  • #14
Hi there, i will enroll next week to do the Logic Part P, Full Scope VRQ Level 2 training course; i have tried to find some mock exam for it as the course have one online 45 minutes exam but i didn't found anything. Can anyone help me with it please??? Or what are the questions about???
Many thanks.

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