A career in the electrical industry is a great move. This page looks at what sorts of jobs you’ll be doing, where your career could go, and what kinds of skills will help you in the trade.
Earn a wage from day one, and finish your apprenticeship without a massive loan hanging over your head!
Work outdoors instead of being stuck in the same office all day. As your career grows, you'll have more freedom and flexibility in your schedule to fit in more time for the things that matter, such as family, hobbies, and interests.
No two days are the same! You'll get the chance to work on a wide range of jobs throughout your career.
You could be in Christchurch helping with the rebuild, wiring multi-million dollar houses in Auckland, or spending the summer at Scott Base in Antarctica. The options are endless – wherever there is a light bulb, an electrician is in demand.
You could be working inside, outside, on top of a skyscraper, or in places you never thought existed. You could be building or repairing people’s homes, businesses, factories, and even power stations.
On any given day you could be:
Sorting out the electrics on a super yacht
Working with wind turbines or solar panels
Wiring up a sky scraper
Doing repairs at a powerstation
Helping nan with a broken electrical socket
Doing maintenance at a bakery
In the electrical industry there are two fields, or specialties, you can work in: Domestic/Commercial or Industrial.
Domestic/Commercial electricians will spend most of their time designing the electrical work, wiring up buildings, and doing electrical maintenance. This could be helping people with their homes or working on completely new construction sites.
Industrial electricians are usually found in manufacturing plants or factories working with specialist equipment like motors and robotics.
When you sign up for your apprenticeship, you can choose between either of these specialties. Your apprenticeship is tailored to be more specific to the one you choose. If your supervisor does work that covers both specialties, no problem – you can sign up to do it all.
Once you complete your apprenticeship and get a practising licence, you’ll be able to work independently anywhere in New Zealand. You’ll even be able to supervise others, passing on your knowledge and skills to apprentices. As your experience grows, you’ll have the opportunity to move up to higher-level roles such as project manager or supervisor.
Many electricians go on to start their own business, increasing both their freedom and income. Others move into roles in the wider industry, such as consulting or teaching. Your electrical qualification is also recognised in other countries, so you can take your trade around the world.
There are some basic skills which will help you go far in your career as an electrician. You should be:
Responsible and well-organised
Able to understand basic maths and physics
Physically fit (the work involves climbing and lifting)
Able to present yourself professionally (you’ll be representing your employer and interacting with clients and other people, like members of the public).
Good at communicating with others
Flexible with working hours, as evening, weekend and on call is sometimes required
Comfortable working at heights or in small enclosed areas, and in places that may be noisy, dirty, dusty, and/or hazardous