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Firstly, apologies if Ive posted in the wrong forum, Im a newbie. Secondaly, this topic has nothing to do with anything electrically related in terms of a job im doing or anything like that, just to do with me.
Basically, Im in much need of some help and advice from anyone who is willing to listen to my story and try to understand my problems. I will try to fit in as much as I can without going on for days lol.
Ive been in the game for just over 3 years now and only a week ago or so I quit. Why? Becasue Ive been told Im too slow.
Im a 3rd year (or was rather) apprentice and was working for a large company that had under its belt about 10 qualified sparks and say 20 apprentices. Obviously more apprentices becuase they like you will know are cheap labour and do all the hard work. When I started I was full of enthusiasm for the job and was very interested in the work. I started in the domestic side doing upgrades on houses for the local council - nothing too hard, simply changing switches for new, upgrading the mains boards to split load RCD, changing single sockets to doubles, changing ceiling roses, earth bonding, putting in mains powered smoke alarms etc. So, all in all, easy work wouldn't you say? And, fast work. Did it for a year and I will say I got pretty good. Who wouldn't when your doing the same thing day in and day out?
Started going home at about 11am when things got quick and thats because the spark I was working with was rapid so I had to be quick to keep up with him (and if I worked faster he gave me a bonus :))
But, wasn't learning a great deal. It was more "get in and get out" job. But, I was happy and made some good friends. After a year I was taken off the houses and sent to a maintenance site near where I live for over 18 Months. My world fell apart. Work was much slower and was far more serious. Health and safety was more structured and you couldn't have the site banter that I did with the houses. But hey, being an adult I thought why not give it some justice as I knew deep down that the housing run would eventually come to an end. So, I did and enjoyed it even more. I was working with one spark now as opposed to loads of young lads and this spark was superb, he knew everything!
But, I feel that I was carried by him - in other words, I was looked after and didn't have to think for myself. Now, after that spell I was sent back to site as a 3rd year apprentcie getting paid a 3rd year rate and was expected to be the finished article when im not.
I HAVE NO SPEED (DON'T KNOW WHERE ITS GONE) and cannot get quicker. Was on a job a few months back and got dropped in it and was asked to fit a room out in metal conduit. I couldn't do it!
Couldn't even set the bending machine up. I have no initiative because I feel Ive been used to people leading the way and letting them mae decisions for me. Has that affected me badly?
I decided to jack because I was under immense pressure. I was being told by management that if I don't get faster I will be laid off and because of the whole credit bust up they were letting people go anyway. Ive convinced myself that im not cut out to be a spark. What does it take to be one? I know speed is a must and you have to have the brains for it. Am I being too hard on myself or should I perhaps think about leaving this trade to the experts?


I too have worked on the council speed teams- not too proud of it mind the quality of work and service was dreadful. Nowadays I pride myself on good quality workmanship, excellent customer care and generally giving the highest service.

Time will tell if I’m right but I’m doing alright and getting busier. My previous boss taught me that it’s better to put in a good price- do a great job and leave the customer thinking you’re the best thing since sliced bread!

Put some ads up in wholesalers and let someone call you – remember times are hard and you need to stand out! Where about in the country are you?


alright matey!

To be honest, my career so far has prob been the opposite of yours. I couldnt get an apprenticeship to save my life. Prob cos i was 19 at the time and alot of companys seemed to take on school leavers (money saving again). So the first job i had with this guy, first site job mind, he put me in an office, said wire that and he went on his way. When he came back and the job hadnt progressed to much he had a right strop and accused me of being slow. No site experience, payed peanuts, get monkeys right? This continued for a year until i went self-employed as a subby. Im now commanding a good rate, have plenty of work, and doing the part p thing in the new year.

Like you, i have come across things that i have little/no experience in. I always feel its better to ask if you are unsure, and always watch others work. loads can be picked up just by watching, (not just sparks, watch other trades to. I can put my hand to quite alot of things, all by just watching). Using this method, i have always been able to put in a good days graft, keep the boss happy, and ensured the work is to a high standard. Speed will come naturally, better to be slower and safe than fast a rough yeeeehaaaarrrr


Dont let the bast*rds grind you down, why do they want you to work faster?? its obvious, so they can make a buck outa you! you can do the job you know you can, i know i can, wouldnt want to work for anyone else again, why make someone else richer!
Start up on your own, advertise with some of the free advertising sites like yell and, you dont have to take on the big jobs, just start small, build up on your own terms, it will come, do a good job and you will get more, its all word of mouth, Just take your time, no rush,

and enjoy what you know your good at!

Rome was'nt built in a day,

good luck mate ;)


prob as your apprentiship draws to an end then wages will increase - cheaper to get a new tea boy - youre qualified stop whineing and go get a job or work for yourself, you seemed happy with domestic try that............


I got told by my boss many years ago I was a bit slow when I was an apprentice, so I said to him OK I rush things to make you happy but when I drop a ------- and it all go's tit's up because I rushed it don't come complaining to me about it.

That was the last that he said anything about being slow to me or any other apprentice after that.
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Thanks guys for the replies. I didn't think I would get so many so soon! I feel like you all understand my issues. Please let me re-address the situation just incase I haven't made myself clear or mislead you all. Im actually not qualified yet. Im 24 years old (25 in may) and have my city & guilds 2330 Tech Cert levels 2 & 3 in installation. I also have my key skills in IT, comms and AON. The only thing I don't have is my NVQ 3 whcih is workbased projects and I need that fully signing off and verifying and my AM2 before I get my full sparky card. So, I don't think I can set up on my own because im not qualified and I don't have all the tools I would need anyway like a hammer action drill, circular saw (you know what i mean :)) Im about say 85 - 90% of the way there BUT because I jacked I think I have lost my right to continue my apprenticeship. I won't ever go back to that crappy company and Im currently reapplying for jobs but I must say Im up against it because Im competeing against all the sparks that have been laid off (must be thousands of em) and more capable apprentices. My CV is as good as I can get but whether or not I get taken on remains to be seen. I can only hope and pray. What worries me is this, I quit because I convinced myself after 3 years in the game that I wasn't getting any quicker ok? The fact that I got sent to a maintenance site for over 18 months affected my speed seriously, but I can't use that as an excuse forever. Im worried that even though the work environment might change, one thing that won't is the work itself. This "other" boss might expect me to be fast because on my CV im a 3 year apprentice. So, automatically he may think "3 years on site, good experience so he will be quick and will know what he's doing". Im worried he won't even entertain me if i say I can't do this, that and the other and Im a bit on the slow side.
BTW, My name is Tim and I live in the UK.
Sorry for the endless writing and if your eyes are now hurting :)


Dont worry mate, take your time, your going about this the right way unlike so many others who dont have a clue. Just do your 17th and study for the 2391, then start small join an approved sheme and your away, you can allways go back and finish your apprentice later im sure.


hi there

we have up to recently had several buildings refurbished at speed by these types of outfits and all seems lovely at first.

when it can to some installs wiring done first then office panels dropped nothing lined up at all.architect, planners and site sparks just could not figure it out.:rolleyes:

we are called the old gits but hey thats life so we are plodding along looking at it all when the penny dropped with the both of us what actually was wrong.

The panels were pre made to a plus and minus dimension everyone had marked it out exactly and wondered why things did not fit lol:D:D

they actually had a plus 25mm on each panel giving a componded error each one but panel no 6 was in it was a 150mm out lolololol:D:D:D

super sparkies had not heard of a tolerence:eek::rolleyes:

makes me happy to be older some times lol:):)

anyway out came the skill saw that sorted it what they then had was a 100 mm gap at the end. The ultimate fix studding and white roof facia answer to all problems made me laugh but it did look good at the end

so sparky 05084 the moral is rushing to get it all done leads to mistakes you may be slow but you will do a better job mate s*d the rest

cheers all
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hi there tim. i went straight from school to college and eventually got a job with a company and all that. anyways i'm 20 now, and in about october i got made redundant, so i started up on my own, and like you i don't have my nvq level 3, sometimes i wonder what all the fuss is about, i am enrolled on the course, but trying to do that and run my own business is slightly tricky!! but like every1 else has said better to be slow and good, than quick and ****!!! specially in this game!
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