A lightbulb hanging down with switches and another lightbulb in the background

There is a long list of things to factor in when thinking about a career in a new industry. Job security, progression opportunities, job satisfaction and earning potential are all variables that will hold different levels of importance for each individual. 

With the electrical industry facing an uphill battle to recruit enough talent to meet demand, the sector is an attractive prospect for anyone weighing up a switch in careers. 

Just this month, the ECA published findings from its quarterly survey of the UK engineering services sector, with 38% of electrotechnical businesses citing labour shortages as the biggest threat to their operation.

How do I train to become an electrician?

There are several different entry routes to becoming a qualified electrician, including apprenticeships, college courses and electrician courses delivered by private training providers, with each option boasting its own unique set of pros and cons.


Apprenticeships have long been one of the most common ways of kickstarting an electrical career. Apprenticeships can be appealing as they offer the chance to learn while you earn, combining classroom teaching with on-the-job practical experience. Generally, different levels of apprenticeships can be applied for based on the number of GCSEs a person holds. You can find more information about apprenticeship requirements here.

College courses

Many colleges across the UK offer electrician courses that be completed on either a part-time or full-time basis. This can be a great way to cover the theory side of your learning, and can open up the possibility of gaining a trainee position in which you’ll be able to build essential practical experience before becoming qualified. 

The benefits of learning from a private training provider

For anyone who wants to go from complete beginner to fully qualified in as short a timeframe as possible, then completing your electrical courses with a private provider is the ideal pathway. 

While this route does come with an element of upfront investment, it does minimise the time spent training, allowing you to begin working in the industry by yourself much sooner than would be possible via either an apprenticeship or college course.

Aside from the fact that electrical courses with a private provider can be completed in a matter of weeks as opposed to the 3-4 years involved with an apprenticeship, there is also the major benefit of not having to wait around to be accepted on a scheme, meaning you can begin your learning pretty much as soon as you want to do so.

Private training providers can also offer a greater level of flexibility when it comes to your learning schedule. Part-time and home study courses are fantastic ways of opening up the industry to those with other commitments such as childcare, allowing participants to tailor their training schedule to suit them. This level of flexibility might be difficult, or not possible at all, in an apprenticeship or college course. 

When it comes to the costs involved with this route of learning, keep an eye out for flexible payment plans that can make the initial investment into your training more manageable. 

Is a career in electrical something you’ve been considering? You can learn more about the various electrician courses on offer at Able Skills here, with a variety of expert-led packages available to suit all levels of ability and career goals.