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Goldspark

Are Electricians Undervalued?

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Goldspark

Having worked as an electrician for over 30 years and I've seen a lot of changes since the 14th Edition of the Regs. It seems to me that electricians are no longer valued highly enough for the work they do and the training they have to undertake. Here's how I see things today...

Constant Changes

I accept that electrical safety regulations have to change to keep up with new technology and as a working electrician I need to update my knowledge. But electricians seem to be thrown an increasing amount of hoops to jump through and are expected to pay for the extra time and effort it takes, just to keep doing their job. It takes a good deal of dedication to get trained up and start out as a qualified sparks in the first place and the constant updating and re-issuing of BS7671 Wiring Regs and related courses is a serious bone of contention amongst electricians.

This would be great if we were being paid accordingly but in my experience we are just seen as another trade as far as rates of pay are concerned. Operating as a fully qualified electrician (especially running your own business) has changed from being a regular construction trade job to something far more involved but in my opinion electricians have been de-valued.

Would I recommend anyone to become an electrician today?

Yes I would. Being an electrician an interesting and challenging job and a cut above other trades as for as knowledge and responsibility is concerned (I suppose you

Edited by Goldspark

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betty swollocks

I'm all for regulation changes and I understand the need to overhaul the electrical industry

I just wish some of the time and effort to make the decent honest hardworking :o tax paying electricians life more time consuming and financially difficult, was spent capturing and prosecuting people who do not comply with the regulation redtape scam providers love seeing us jump through

But then there is no revenue in that is there?!

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ProDave

I guess I share a similar opinion to the OP and must be a similar age having been in the industry for 33 years.

My take is really quite simple now. I plan to retire at age 60 tops, earlier if I can find a way to afford it. So at most I have another 11 years to go.

I just hope I can bear all the constant changes and to some extent nannying until that time.

I really don't know what I would advise to a school leaver now. The range of options seems rather limited. IF you can go straight from school to an apprenticeship as I did, then go for it, but those are few and far between now. We seem to have an education system that seems to think the majority should do A levels and go to university, which would be great if there were enough jobs for graduates to support that flawed line of thinking.

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Evans Electric

Excellent post there Goldspark. Send it ,unaltered, to Professional Electrician Magazine and you'll win Letter of the Month and a free gift.

Yes I think we are overregulated.

Yes I think we are undervalued.

Yes I think they are now taking the p*** and treating us like motorists (Cash cows)

Some spark in the wholesalers was telling me I've now GOT to use a Torque Screwdriver ( Only

Edited by Admin 3
Swear Filter Circumvention

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welchyboy

well to be honest as much as it is a ball ache with the constant up-dates and paperwork and courses, i find running my own business really satifying to be honest, its bloody hard work, with paperwork i probably work an average of a 12 hour day at least and i feel like i never switch off, but i wouldnt change it for the world, our job will be forever expanding and advancing and i think if you embrace that fact and go with it instead of complaining, then you will be in a much better place than alot of other people in this country, you have got to make it work for you!

i like to think that the hoops you have to jump through and responsibility you hold, then the amount you can charge has a direct correllation to this (eg gas fitters), be careful what you wish for, the more simple a job is, the more people that will do it and your wages will go down

i generally find most people are just glad to find a decent sparks who is reliable and can take on the job and do it properly, cost seems mostly to be a second concern(most of the time not all)

as said above most of todays youth and yesterdays youth for that matter is off doing pointless A levels/university degrees, office jobs and computer programming and no-one wants to get their hands dirty, there are no training schemes or apprenticeships to speak of and the only competition are 5 week wonder domestic installers, so if your a good electrician and have a reasonable business head on your shoulders, and some ambition, then you are in a very very good place my friend!

on the flip side of that if you are generally employed/agency worker then it is currently an employers market and it is a little depressing from what ive heard, but you aint never going to earn more than an average salary working for someone else, thats the reality of it!

Edited by welchyboy

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Manator

Very interesting points of views. Increasing safety and updating regulations is not the problem, although it costs us more money each time, its the fact that so many so called electricians (term used very loosely), do not update or buy the required regulation books and the like, and get away with it. I often overlook EIC's and have come across evidence that some electricians are like sheep, installing what everyone else installs, on a new install I had to reject one EIC because the electrician had not de-rated a cable given its installation method, and the CPD.

If we were all treated the same then I would have no objections, but we are not.

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SPECIAL LOCATION
......There will always be electricians and hopefully they will be respected for their knowledge and experience in years to come. An electrician

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Riggy

Well said Mr Location!

Some of the Prima Do

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welchyboy
......There will always be electricians and hopefully they will be respected for their knowledge and experience in years to come. An electrician’s life won’t be easy but I hope they will be valued enough to be paid an acceptable rate for doing a responsible and essential job.

Are you concerned about the over regulation of the electrical industry and the way it affects you as an electrician?

Do you feel undervalued?

Electricians are not undervalued.....

But one hell of a lot are very naive about what goes on in other industries and work places....

Thinking that a few regs books are a major burden and no one else ever has to re-train...

or keep their knowledge base updated with every changing standards products and equipment...

Another bunch haven't got a clue about how to price up jobs correctly, or run a business....

Or how to sell themselves successfully...

Not all jobs are lost on price...

Many customers will still pay a premium for quality work....

BUT you have to give that quality!!

they can hardly put two coherent sentences together..

so its no wonder they struggle if they ever have to write a report, or explain a system or problem to a customer...

{just look at some of the questions on the forum:(}

My paperwork now is a easy compared to how it was in on of my earlier employment timeframes....

Another bunch of electricians are not even fully aware of variations within the the different sectors of the electrical industry...

Some areas may not pay well...

but others do!

It is only the fool who thinks that ALL electricians are on the same rate nationally...

Consider some identical job specs all taking the same time (2 hours) and three persons quoting for this work...

A) A self employed person charging

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SteveT

YES

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revjames

Yes

Until the return of common sense, less restrictive red tape and a return of a proper 4 year apprenticeship where the trainee worked alongside a spark and got hands on training as well as decent qualifications like BTEC, HNC etc, then I cant see any hope for the trade. Too many monkeys (double glazing salesmen etc) turning their hand thinking a quick course can give them a respected trade overnight. All part P has done has stopped legitimate, experienced sparkys doing domestic work and allowed the space to be filled by either:

Inexperienced recently qualified 5DWs who can do the paperwork

Cowboys and DIYers who dont give a stuff about any paperwork

Rant over but in answer to the OP

YES

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welchyboy
Yes

Too many monkeys (double glazing salesmen etc) turning their hand thinking a quick course can give them a respected trade overnight. All part P has done has stopped legitimate, experienced sparkys doing domestic work and allowed the space to be filled by either:

Inexperienced recently qualified 5DWs who can do the paperwork

Cowboys and DIYers who dont give a stuff about any paperwork

Rant over but in answer to the OP

[i]....an old chinese pro-verb(i think).....its easy to soar like an eagle when surrounded by turkeys![/I]

YES

Before Part P anyone could buy a van, a pair of side cutters and a roll of twin and earth and call themselves a sparks, and i for one think some people on here have got very short memories!

Nearly every builder and plumber i do work for now used to do their own electrical work and a lot of home owners did too! and what a mess it was

ok so now there is a growing element of kitchen fitters and the like who have got an official badge saying they are a sparks, which is offensive to real electricians(me included), BUT at least they are kitchen fitters with test kits, insurance and they may actually put bonding in place and the occasoinal RCD, and even issue a certificate which will lead any dodgy work they install directly back to them!

Part P has got me loads more domestic work, and the truth is anyone leaving an office job, doin a 5 week course and starting up on their own

will not last long, lets be serious here!, if you are seriously worried about competition from these characters then maybe its time to take a look at how your operating yourself

Every single business/trade has people who will do a cheap/cowboy/shoddy job for an unrealistic price and to be honest its that element i find that keeps customers loyal to a good tradesmen when they do find one, if every electrician was fully qualified, amazingly competant and

excellent at their job then alot of customers wouldnt re-use the same sparks again and again there would be no point in recommendation

as you could just pick one out the yellow pages and job done!!

Look at it this way, if overnight the law was changed so suddenly no-one except a JIB gold card electrician could buy or touch any domestic electrical work in the UK where would that leave us then?

it would do your head in with all the rediculous calls for rediculous jobs and the domestic construction industry would grind to a halt!

Edited by welchyboy

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revjames
Before Part P anyone could buy a van, a pair of side cutters and a roll of twin and earth and call themselves a sparks, and i for one think some people on here have got very short memories! They still do.......

Look at it this way, if overnight the law was changed so suddenly no-one except a JIB gold card electrician could buy or touch any domestic electrical work in the UK where would that leave us then?

That would suit me just fine

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Steve3948

I agree 100% with OP and ProDave.

This industry is being controlled by white collar workers sat at desks working out ways where they can pull more money into their business, then force the end users to part with yet more money.

Take the latest edition of the Regulations, did it warrant the purchase of a whole new edition where 90% was already in the last edition.

Instead someone said lets make all them idiots out there that do a good job and work to the requirements spend another

Edited by Steve3948

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green-hornet

I have read through this thread with particular interest as it is one of my favoured campaigns. Are we undervalued ? of course we are and have been for some years now.

Who do we blame for this though? well in my opinion the blame is spread from the top to the bottom, industrial work has not suffered in the same way as small commercial and most of all domestics.

This can only be down to the introduction of part p of the building regulations and the loop hole that allowed short course people with very little background knowledge into and flood the market.

Now before any member thinks I am getting at, and calling any of those who have done this, I am not as far as I am concerned there are good and bad in all.

What it did do was to flood the market with people out to make a quick buck, a ploy often used by those who see an oppertunity with little effort but possible good rewards, its not you the short course electricians I am talking about, its the huge amount of training schools set up since part p to get anyone down on their luck or in dead end jobs part with huge amounts of money to become 1 of a number of many let down by the lack of experiance and knowledge.

The only way forward for most of these was to then set up on their own, desperate for work they quickly under quoted all existing electrical firms just so they could put bread on the table, not their fault, but the effect it did have is that some time served electricians lost their jobs because work was quickly drying up.

Part P to me has always been fundementaly flawed, it is a regulation that is almost impossible to enforce, and even when it is very little becomes of it. When it first came in my LABC asked me if I could do some inspections for them until they could get one of their staff on a course, that member of staff did the course lasting one day, I remember joking at the time with him that having been on a similar short course he should be cabable of spotting them better than I.

Lets face it very little will change, regulations will always be updated otherwise some white coller jobs will be lost, electrical works will always be carried out badly, not reported and done by those with no electrical knowledge at all. Whilst anyone can do this work we will always be undervalued, and going by the training provided these days at lower levels our skills will certainly become rare.

There are no quick fixes to this problem, in fact it is now going to get even worse because of the ongoing consultation process, if they are adopted as put forward you are going to be undervalued not by your clients, but by those who have a responsibility to protect your livelyhood, and more importantly improve electrical safety, now if they are doing this what chance do you think we have of improvement?

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ProDave

Since Part P has been mentioned. I will say again, we don't have it in Scotland. Now I'm not saying that to gloat, or anything else, but as a pre cursor to a serious question:

Has anyone got any figures on accidents and deaths caused be electrical faults for England and Scotland? That would make an interesting comparison, to see if the introduction of part P really made any difference or not.

I don't meet many other electricians, since I'm self employed and almost without exception work on my own. All I can say is on the two occasions I have met a couple of other electricians, all signed up with Select or NICEIC I have seen them both quote wrong practices. So membership of a scam, even though it's optional up here, still does not prove they know everything, and always do things correctly.

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welchyboy
I agree 100% with OP and ProDave.

This industry is being controlled by white collar workers sat at desks working out ways where they can pull more money into their business, then force the end users to part with yet more money.

Take the latest edition of the Regulations, did it warrant the purchase of a whole new edition where 90% was already in the last edition.

Instead someone said lets make all them idiots out there that do a good job and work to the requirements spend another

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Theorysparky

Undervalued yep

when 2 of my decorator mates can charge a dayrate of

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ProDave

Well I had a strange one.

I did a simple job, took just a little over an hour, no materials needed. I asked the customer for

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apprentice87

Hi All,

Yes, electricians are very under recognised as far as i am concerned, see, most people can wire up a circuit that works, but you try telling them that there is rather a lot more to it than that....

It is a similar situation with welding, a lot of people THINK they can weld. I have had people say to me "how slow are you?? My mate would weld that in a few seconds"

Their "mate" very well could, but then it would look like bird poo and you could pull it off with pliers!!

Plumbers make a mistake and the floor gets wet, you lot make a mistake and people potentially die.......

john....

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steptoe
Hi All,

Yes, electricians are very under recognised as far as i am concerned, see, most people can wire up a circuit that works, but you try telling them that there is rather a lot more to it than that....

It is a similar situation with welding, a lot of people THINK they can weld. I have had people say to me "how slow are you?? My mate would weld that in a few seconds"

Their "mate" very well could, but then it would look like bird poo and you could pull it off with pliers!!

Plumbers make a mistake and the floor gets wet, you lot make a mistake and people potentially die.......

john....

does your mate know me? :|

I say this a lot,

I can put a shelf up or hang a door, Im NOT a Joiner,

I can plumb in a washing machine, or a new sink, Im not a plumber,

heck, I can even weld like bird poo, but Im still not a welder,

so why do people think that getting a light to work makes them a spark??????

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Evans Electric

That , my dear Watson, has always been the problem.

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Goldspark

RE: ProDave- Customer's comments above (sorry should have relplied with quotes)

Hi ProDave. Could it be because most of your customers are Scots?

Only joking. LOL.

---------- Post Auto-Merged at 11:34 ---------- Previous post was made at 11:19 ----------

Electrics is only a matter of threading a few wires through and joining them together to make it work. Can't understand what all the training is for??

Maybe that's partly why I feel somewhat devalued. I've spent 30 years as an electrician, built up knowledge and learnt lots of skills, solved other peoples problems making things safe and compliant. But you're only as good as your next job, and nowdays that's normally got to be done cheaper and faster. And I've got to keep re-training to carry on doing the same job.

Where's my paint brush and white spirit.

Edited by Goldspark

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Guy

I think one point that has been missed and will always effect the trade is that the customer cannot see the work,

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m4tty
does your mate know me? :|

I say this a lot,

I can put a shelf up or hang a door, Im NOT a Joiner,

I can plumb in a washing machine, or a new sink, Im not a plumber,

heck, I can even weld like bird poo, but Im still not a welder,

so why do people think that getting a light to work makes them a spark??????

I can weld like bird poo too :)

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