If you’ve just secured an electrical apprenticeship, you’re probably feeling pretty chuffed – and with good reason! Over the next four years, you’ll learn the skills and knowledge you need to become a fully-fledged and qualified electrician – both on the job with your employer, and off the job at trade school.
Once your employer is locked in, the next step is to choose your trade school. Be sure to put some thought into this – don’t just go for the most convenient option without doing your research as there are some key areas to consider. From location and cost, to the facilities and teachers, choosing the right school can make a big difference to your level of enjoyment and success. So, read on to learn our top tips to help you make the right call.
Up-to-Date Facilities and Equipment
As an electrician, you’ll need to know your way around the tools, technology and machinery of your trade – which is why having access to up-to-date facilities is a must. It’s worthwhile arranging a visit to any schools on your shortlist, to make sure the equipment is a good match for what you’ll be using on the job. Your employer can offer advice about what to look for. For example, at NECA Education & Careers, our state-of-the-art facilities have been purpose built to provide students with access to the tools, machinery and equipment they will use throughout their electrical career.
Qualified and Experienced Teachers
Another key factor to consider is the level of experience of the teaching staff. Don’t be afraid to ask the school about the qualifications and background of their staff, both as teachers and electricians. At NECA Education & Careers, we take great pride in the fact that all our electrical teachers are qualified electricians with a wealth of experience in the industry. And just as importantly, they also have a real passion to pass on their knowledge to the next generation of electricians coming through.
As a new apprentice there is so much to learn, and to begin with this can be overwhelming. In the first few months as you settle in, being in an environment where you feel fully supported can make a massive difference. Look for schools where students are known by their names and are not treated like a number. Also look at the size of classes and teacher to student ratios. Much of your learning will be hands on, so knowing you have access to one-on-one help when you need it can really put your mind at ease.
Students at NECA Education & Careers participate in workshops designed to improve emotional intelligence and raise mental health awareness, like those run in partnership with the foundation Love Me Love You. Each year the NECA Education & Careers Excellence Awards acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of students and apprentices.
One of the first boxes to tick is location. If you’re relying on public transport, make sure the school is within easy reach of bus, tram or train routes, and if you’re driving, look into parking options either on site or in the surrounding area. However, while a hassle-free commute is important, it shouldn’t be the only factor you consider. It’s well worth travelling a little further to attend a school that is well-equipped, supportive and has a great culture, than to opt for the closest to home if it’s lacking in any of these important areas.
Transparent and Affordable Fees
According to the Electrical Award, your employer is required to pay for your training fees; however, some employers arrange for apprentices to pay the fees upfront and then be reimbursed.
Either way, you’ll want to be sure your chosen school offers reasonable fees and payment options. They should be able to provide you with a clear outline of the costs and payment options up front, to allow you to make an informed decision. They should also discuss with you any discounts available for concessions or memberships as well as government subsidies that may be available to you.
The Right School Sets You Up for Success
Choosing an electrical trade school that has top facilities, great teachers, a supportive culture and is aligned with the current industry standards and practices will give you a real advantage as an apprentice. So do your research, compare the options and discuss the possible choices with your employer. Because when you choose the right electrical trade school, you set yourself up for success.
Over to You
Do you have a question about our school, fees, teachers or facilities? We’d love to help! Get in touch for a confidential discussion today.