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Electrician / Construction Electrician
Electricians are involved in the generation, transmission, distribution and usage of electricity.

They install, repair and maintain electrically operated equipment such as generators, geysers, refrigerators and stoves. They detect electrical faults and repair them. Repairs may involve replacing fuses, switches, or wires. Once the repair is complete the electrician tests the equipment to ensure that it is working properly.

By law, only qualified electricians are allowed to connect cables to electric motors and switchgear and to handle the electrical wiring of all electrically equipped buildings. During the building, for example, of a new factory, an electrician must ensure that the electrical cables are installed.

A construction electrician is involved in:
- pre-planning of installations in domestic, industrial and commercial premises;
- installation of wireways and switchboards according to specifications and regulations;
- installation of wiring and metering equipment without clashing with other services;
- calculation of electrical load requirements;
- selection of cables and conductors;
- determination of protective devices.

In the distribution of electricity, electricians supervise the erection of pylons, the connection of high-tension cabling on pylons and ensure the thorough insulation of the pylons. Suitable transformers and switchboards, which reduce the current, must be installed at sub-stations.

Electricians working at power stations install and maintain power generators, including the servicing of electrical meters and transformers. Some perform regular inspections on motors, switchgear and transformers to ensure safe functioning.

Satisfying Aspects
- variety of work tasks and locations
- solving problems
- working with your hands

Demanding aspects
- working in awkward or cramped positions
- working in noisy and dirty environments
- the possibility of injury or accidents on the job
- working overtime or at night

Electricians should:
- be at least 16 years old;
- be responsible, alert and cautious;
- enjoy working with their hands;
- be inventive, self-reliant and accurate;
- be able to work under pressure;
- communicate effectively with fellow workers;
- have good health and stamina;
- have good eyesight and colour vision;
- have manual dexterity and mechanical aptitude.

School Subjects
Grade 9

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Sciences
Recommended Subjects: Electrical Technology

There are three ways to qualify as a registered artisan:

1. An apprenticeship is a 4-year contract between company and apprentice, comprising a 12-week theoretical training, which includes 4 subjects at national exam level.

2. A learnership is a structured learning programme that leads to a qualification in a certain field. The learnership programme includes a theoretical and a practical component. It usually takes about a year to complete. The training takes place on-site (on the premises of the organisation). This has the advantage that the learner gets on-the-job experience whilst training.

3. FET colleges offer theoretical training to prospective artisans via the new National Certificate Vocational (NCV). During this 3-year programme (levels 2 to 4), learners complete a school-leaving certificate (this NCV) similar to the
new National Senior Certificate (NSC) in schools. They are also exposed to a practical workshop component.

All learners are required to complete a practical internship under the supervision of an experienced artisan. As an alternative to doing the full qualification, a learner can apply to do a skills programme at a FET College. Skills programmes are short practical hands-on courses.

For more information about qualifications and skills programmes, contact your nearest FET College. FET Colleges are accredited and funded by a SETA (Sector Education and Training Authority) such as MERSETA or CHIETA. They also receive bursary funding through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) for the NCV programme.

Prospective construction electricians must complete a course of study in the subject SABS Code of Practice for the Wiring of Premises, with a minimum pass of 50 per cent. Universities of technology offer this course. To be registered as a construction electrician, a completed course in Specialized Electrical Installation Code, at least 2 years practical experience after registration and a full N3 Certificate are required. This qualification is for the “top of the range/specialist” electrician and it allows the registered person to work in all fields of electrical work.

- Government departments
- Transportation services
- Municipalities
- Factories
- Mines
- Industries
- Private electrical businesses
- Private companies employing electricians
- Such organizations as: SA Post Office, Mittal Steel, Eskom, SABS, SABC, Telkom, Sasol
- self-employment, with enough experience,    initiative and capital, can start own business

Electrical Contractors Association of SA    
P O Box 9683
Edenglen, 1613
Tel: (011) 392-0000 Fax: (031) 312-0851