In the second of our new features on the talent of tomorrow, we caught up with a recently-qualified electrician before lockdown to find out how he enjoyed his journey from apprentice to fully-fledged tradesperson
Hi Conor. You got started in the industry by doing the Get Into Electrical Installation course that SECTT runs in partnership with the Prince’s Trust and Edinburgh College. What was it like?
I was working in retail at H&M and had just been dotting from job to job, but I really wanted to do something long-term, get into a proper career and not just settle for a minimum wage job. I saw the advert for the Get Into Electrical Installation course and thought that it was something that I could try.
What did you enjoy at college?
The college was good and handy to get to, and we covered lots of topics in a relatively short time. In particular, we received a good grounding in health and safety in the first stage, which was really helpful. Health and safety runs through the whole course, both in theory and in the workshop practical, which gives you a good grounding for the job. I also really enjoyed the second stage warehouse project that I did.
In the second stage, I found the lecturers seemed more relaxed as they got to know us. I also found that having the SECTT Training Officer on hand was really beneficial too – it was good to have someone else to talk to.
“There’s nothing I don’t enjoy on site – every day brings new challenges and I’m always learning”
How was your Final Integrated Competence Assessment (FICA) experience?
To be honest, I was pretty relaxed and tried not to get too worked up.
I started out by looking at the booth and developing a plan, and came away after the first day feeling pretty positive. I was pushed for time during the inspection and testing part, but
I felt that I managed fine. I also found the test centre staff were excellent and was certainly made to feel welcome and relaxed. And of course I was delighted to pass first time!
What do you enjoy most about your current job? Is there anything on-site you don’t
enjoy so much?
Before lockdown I was helping to refurbish the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, which was a great job – the empty rooms were just like a big FICA booth! I got to carry out the job from start to finish, moving switch sockets and adding in lights which I really enjoyed doing. I also like inspection and testing too. In fact, there’s nothing I don’t enjoy on site – every day brings new challenges and I’m always learning. HF carries out a number of hotel refurbishments across Scotland, from the Isle of Skye to Mull and Oban, so before the pandemic the opportunity to travel had been a real bonus.
What would you say to anyone wanting to be an electrician?
Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll definitely be glad you did it. At first, I was worried about giving up a full-time job but it’s been the best thing I’ve ever done. I’m just glad I saw the advert for the Prince’s Trust course – I’ve never looked back.
Have you any future plans?
I just want to get good at what I do and, when I’m ready, sit the Advanced Competence Assessment (ACA). I have no complaints at all – it’s been a great experience.
VIEW FROM THE TOP
“Conor is testament to what hard work and commitment can achieve, and I was thrilled that he passed his FICA first time. It’s been lovely to hear about the variety of experience that HF Electrical is able to offer and the excellent range of work that Conor had during his apprenticeship. This is a great example of how successful the Prince’s Trust Get Into Electrical Installation programme has been, and how many of those who take part go on to gain full-time employment.”
Anne Galbraith, CEO of SECTT
SECTT manages high-quality training on behalf of the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB). To find out more about SECTT and its work call 0131 445 5659, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.sectt.org.uk