Sometimes electricians require training in various aspects of the job. No electrician knows everything there is to know about electrics, and if you find one that says otherwise then you better take it with a bag of salt. One reason so many people are drawn to the electrical field is because it is such a diverse field to work in, and you can always find something you enjoy.
I am not just talking about domestic, commercial, and industrial work. You have high voltage electricians who works on 440kv lines, then you have people doing substation installations, AGL electricians, linesman, panel builders, electricians who specializes in generators and almost any other type of electrician you can think of.
If you prefer an office job then you can become an electrical supervisor, authorising engineer, estimator on tenders, design electrical systems or running your own electrical management company. As you can see these are only a handful of the different career paths a person can pursue.
You might as how do I go out into one of these fields if my company does not do anything in that particular field. The answer is electrical training. There are a whole host of places offering electrical training in different disciplines from emergency lights to doing high voltage cable joints.
What electrical training is available?
Emergency Lighting Training
Most electricians who completed an apprenticeship should be able to this already. You training should cover the legal requirement as well as the following standards BS 5266-1, BS 5266-7 & BS5266-8. Your course in emergency lighting will include:
- Designing of emergency light installations
- Locations of lights Illumination levels
- Glare index
- Different types of emergency lights
- Requirements for safety signs
- Emergency lighting design
- Wiring Systems
- Testing and Commissioning
- Certification of installations and log books
- Servicing emergency lighting systems
There is no formal qualification and you will in most cases receive a certificate of completion
CCTV Installation Training
Most electricians will be capable of installing CCTV systems without any trouble. Basic CCTV installation training courses normally run for 1 day. This is a very good supplement to have if you are running your own business to add another revenue generating stream to your business.
Most CCTV training will include:
- Various legal and privacy issues. You cannot point it at someone`s neighbour`s house and posting signs that there are CCTV monitoring etc.
- Choosing the correct equipment for the installation
- Installation requirements and regulations
- Fault finding and rectification
This is just a basic list, most training companies will offer you more than what is stated above. You are likely to receive a certificate of completion only and not a formal qualification.
Door Entry Systems Training Course
As with CCTV installations you can easily add door entry systems to your business for additional revenue. These training courses are fairly basic for someone with electrical knowledge and normally run 1 to 2 days. More and more places are using door entry systems these days and councils are installing them in their older blocks of flats as well. People value there security and you could provide a needed service installing door entry systems.
Door system entry training will include:
- Different types of systems and equipment
- Regulations and safety
- Planning out your installation
- Installing your door entry system
- Testing and fault finding on a door entry system
At the end of this course you should be able to install video and audio door entry systems in various types of buildings. There is no formal qualification and upon completion you should receive a certificate of completion.
Data, Fibre Optic and Structured Wiring Training
More and more electricians are expected to be able to do data installations. This is your normal CAT cabling up to fibre optic cabling installation work. Even though there are differences between installing electrical and data cabling all electricians will be able to master it with very little effort.
There are a lot of electrical training centres that offers data cabling courses. For a very small amount of investment in tools and training you can add a very lucrative income stream to your existing business, or you could make yourself more employable if you can offer data and fibre installing skills to a potential employer. Training courses last anything from 1 day for basic CAT cable installation, to anything up to 3 weeks for all data and fibre optic courses that includes everything.
Likewise the cost will also differ a great deal on the type of training you wish to pursue. The general topics will normally involve the following:
- Fault Finding
If you wish to expand your business and be more competitive, then offering data and fibre optic installation work with your normal electrical work, will be a big advantage to you. Depending o how far you want to take your training there might be tests and assessment you would have to pass in order to gain a recognised qualification.
Renewable Energy Awareness Course
This course is suited for people or businesses that want to have a better understanding of renewable energy. You will gain a much clearer understanding of all the different technology available and how it work in practise.
Topics that are usually covered will be:
- Solar PV Panels
- Understanding the MCS (Microgeneration Certification Scheme)
- Solar Thermal
- Feed in tariffs
- Grey water and rainwater harvesting
- Grey Water Harvesting
- Micro CHP (Combined Heat & Power)
- Air/ Ground source heat pumps.
- Wind turbines
- Renewable Heat Incentive
- The Green Deal
This type of course will be beneficial to people who might deal with the marketing or sales side of the business. It will help them if the know what they sell, and as we all know people sell better when they have a thorough understanding of the products. This type of course is informational only and you will not have to learn anything concerning installation methods or regulations.
Training in 3 Phase Electrical Systems
Some electricians might not have training in 3 phase electrical systems. Maybe they only worked on domestic installations or maybe they were based in a maintenance role and never had to deal with multiple phases.
Depending on the training provider you might be trained in a whole range of different 3 phase aspects. Topics you are likely to cover will be:
- Electrical testing of and on 3 phase systems
- Isolating 3 phase systems
- Balancing of 3 phase systems
- What type of installations might require a 3 phase supply
There are a few more topics one can go into, but as stated previously it will depends on the training centre what they will teach you. There is no formal qualification, but you will most probably receive a certificate of completion.
MCS Quality Management System Training (MCS QMS)
QMS training is designed to help companies set-up their own quality management systems in line with MCS Scheme Rules. This means that companies who install Feed-in-tariff equipment will need to provide a microgeneration certificate.
Course content will involve:
- Document Control
- Receiving Inspection
- Design Control
- Quality Policy
- Quality Control
- Production and Measuring Equipment
This course does not have a formal qualification, but upon completion you should have the knowledge to confidently apply MCS accreditation. A company normally only need 1 person to be accredited and the course is also available online.
Electrical Training in PVC and Metal Trunking and Conduit Systems
Electricians who do not have any industrial and commercial experience will most probably be very familiar with metallic trunking and conduit wiring systems. If you are planning to offer installation electrical services in the commercial or industrial sector it is vital that you know how to competently install metal trunking and conduit. It can become very costly when you pay around £6.00 for a 3 meter length of conduit. There are only so many mistakes one can afford after it will start to eat into your profit.
It is for that reason that your employees should be competent in both PVC and metal conduit and trunking installing. They will learn how to measure, cut and install properly, so there is a minimal amount of wastage, both in time and material. The amount you will pay for training will quickly be recovered through the savings you will make.
Points you will cover will include:
- Designing conduit and trunking systems
- Pipe bending tools, bending spring for PVC and Hickey or conduit bending stand
- Bending techniques
- Accurate measuring
- Threading and joint boxes
- Fitting and support systems
- Cutting and fitting
Courses will most probably last a couple of days and there is no formal qualification.
Central Heating Controls Training
This course is suited for electrician who would like to take advantage of installing central heating controls such as Nest and other types of smart thermostats. More and more people are installing smart thermostats in their homes and this has opened up a brand new market for electricians to get into. The advantage of installing these thermostats is that if you are a certified installer for certain companies it can give you exposure to a whole new range of clients. You can click here if you want to become a Nest certified installer
Topics covered usually will be:
- Installing, testing and commissioning
- Fault finding and rectification
- Control functions
Normally there is no formal qualification and you will most probably receive a certificate of completion.
Fire Alarm Training Course
This is yet again another part you can add to your existing business to open up another revenue stream for you. Just like normal electrical installations installing fire alarm has it own set of regulations namely BS 5839. There is a whole range of different courses you can take depending on the amount of expertise you would like.
Courses that you could study include the following:
- Fire detection system design
- Advanced detection design and advanced alarm design
- Installation and testing
- Fire alarm maintenance
- Advanced commissioning
- Fire extinguishing systems
- Fire risk assessment
- Fire detection and alarm systems for dwellings, BS 5839-6
- F-Gas Certification for individuals
- F-Gas Practical training
- Critical uses of halon
- Introduction to fire in buildings
- Design & implementation of voice alarm systems
You can take some of these courses in combinations to give you a better all-round knowledge. In most cases the will be an assessment and you could be awarded with some sort of certificate. I would suggest the Fire Industry Association
High Voltage Training
High voltage is also a quite diverse field in the electrical trade and certain types of training you will only gain by working for the power utility companies. This is because a lot of work they do is not done by private contractors and by the power companies themselves, so there is no need to provide external training for certain things.
High voltage courses you can take include:
- Installation of HV cables and safe practice
- Termination of HV cables
- Substation entry and awareness
- High voltage appreciation
- High voltage authorised person course (AP)
- Cable identification and spiking
- Pressure testing (Electrical)
- HV maintenance
You also get Authorised Person (AP) courses for MOD and NHS installations which both have their own set of extra regulations (JSP 375 vol 3, HTM 06-03). With these courses there are assessments and tests to pass and you will receive a formal qualification from an accredited body.
Solar PV Courses and Training
There are a few courses or training options available when it comes to solar PV. This can range from a complete course to just fitting of the panels. Even though people still debate whether solar panels are worth it or not, the fact remains that people are still installing it on their roofs. Businesses also like to have solar panels where they can to offset there carbon footprint and become more environment friendly. These issues are becoming more important to younger generations and eventually it will become the norm.
Installing solar panels is yet another valuable service you can add to your business. Even if you are a normal electrician, some employers look for electricians with solar installation experience more. I general it is a growing sector and to educate and learn skills in this industry will definitely be a wise investment.
Solar PV courses you can take include:
- Solar PV course. This will include the installation, commissioning, testing and connecting to the grid to name the main subject. This is the main sort of course you will need to take in order to competently install solar panel systems. A good course is City & Guilds 2399. It is also important to choose a course that will enable you to register for MCS accreditation.
- Solar PV maintenance
- Health and safety for solar installations
- Solar panel roofers course to install the panels on all types of roofs
In most cases you will complete tests and assessments after which, if you passed, will receive a qualification.
Cable Jointing Training
Cable jointing is virtually a trade in itself in the electrical trade. This has to do with high voltage cable joints which require a lot more attention than low voltage resin cast joints. It takes a lot of care and attention to do cable jointing and you need to do a very precise job. Experience has taught me that even the slightest nick on your insulation will cause your entire cable joint to short. The reason is that you are working at very high voltages and you can do cable jointing up 132 KV cables. At that voltage a badly done joint will create a very magnificent explosion. There has been ever increasing cases in London where the pavement literally exploded because of cable joints.
There are a few different types of cable jointing training courses available such as:
- 11kV jointing, 33kV jointing and 132kV jointing
- Live line jointing
- Cable jointer mate course
- Pressurised cable systems
- Oil filled cable systems
- Fluid filled cable systems
- Low & high-pressure gas cable systems
Some of these courses will not have any formal qualifications, but some do have formal recognised qualifications from City and Guilds. Being a cable jointer can be a high pressure job and you can work in some cold and miserable conditions, but it is also a very rewarding job to do.
COMPEX/ATEX Electrician Course
Many electricians will be familiar with COMPEX or ATEX training as it is the qualification to have if you want to work on the oil rigs. A COMPEX qualification can be valuable in other fields as well, and not just the oil and gas industry. There are many installations that require people to have experience of equipment suited for explosive atmospheres like silos, fuel depots and petrol stations and military sites with explosives housing. Having a qualification in explosive atmospheres will definitely open up your career prospects and employers are willing to pay a premium for such employees.
Course content will include the following:
- Area classification and zoning
- Gas groups
- Temperature classification
- Sources of ignition
- IP Ratings and Impact Protection
- Marking and Identification
- Earthing and Bonding
- Protection methods in detail
- Wiring systems and glanding
- Permit to Work and other documentation
- Electrical Isolations
- Installation, Maintenance, Inspection & Testing
A COMPEX/ATEX qualification is really a worthwhile paper to have and it is not as easy to pass as some people might think. The qualification you gain from this is a recognised qualification and you do have practical assessment and written papers to pass to gain your full certificate.
AGL (Aeronautical Ground Lighting) Training Courses
AGL training is for people who install and maintain the lighting systems on airfields and airports. There are a lot of different courses available depending on what your role is. Being an AGL electrician is a fairly diverse role and there are a lot of different aspects to the job. You do not just replace lamps, but you also need to align the approach lights and PAPI`s all specialised calibrated level devices and you can do fault finding which can be very challenging on a MCS system.
The AGL courses you can take are:
- AGL 1
- UK Civil AGL course
- AGL 2
- Civil AGL Refresher
- AGL Maintenance
- Civil AGL Design Course
- CCR Course
- Military AGL Course
- Modular Control System (new trainee)
- Modular Control System (refresher course)
- Modular Control System (vcr desk)
- Micro 100 CCR Course
- Combined AGL Maintenance & CCR Course
- AGL Cable Jointing Course
There is no main recognised qualification, but the training provider will provide you with a certificate which employers will recognise. There are written papers to pass and also practical assessments for subjects like cable jointing and doing the alignment for the lights. If you wish to become an airfield electrician you will definitely need to have an AGL qualification. It is a very exciting job and it can feel as if you are driving on a Christmas tree when you are driving on the runway and the lights light up on full brilliancy.
The electrical training courses listed above is the type of training you would mostly undertake in addition to your normal apprenticeship training. This is the reason why I have not listed the usual electrician courses you will undertake when you train to become an electrician. There are plenty of other training you can undertake, but a lot of it is not open to the public and is done in house depending on which industry you work in. An example will be a high speed production industrial installation where you will need to work on loads of contactors and relays, limit switches etc. Though you might have done some training and theory on it in your apprenticeship you will still need to be trained in more detail to be considered to be competent.