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job descriptions

What does an Electrician do?

If you like to be challenged with a wide variety of mechanical and technical tasks, a career as an electrician might be just the thing you’re looking for. Every job is unique, which allows you the opportunity to work in all kinds of different environments. Electricians plan out, assemble, connect, repair, maintain, operate and test a wide range of electrical operational and control systems and related equipment. Examples of this may include wiring fixtures, protection & control equipment, alarm systems, communications equipment, lighting and heating systems as well as a vast assortment of equipment used in power generation, transmission and distribution systems. This amazing variety allows you to do a bit of everything or specialize in an area you particularly like. You truly are in the driver’s seat with the only limitation being your desire to learn and challenge yourself.

As a Construction Electrician, you participate in the design, installation and maintenance of electrical equipment in the residential and commercial sectors either independently or as an employee of a contracting firm. One of the most rewarding aspects of the job is applying what you’ve learned to make a project come to life…and teamwork is a very important factor of success. In addition to the physical aspect of the trade, focus may be shifted to the actual management of the project where overall safety, quality of work, schedule delivery and overall cost management is your primary responsibility. A good understanding of building codes and all safety requirements is also a must.

Industrial Electricians are employed by the maintenance department of plants, mines, smelters, oil and gas rigs as well as platforms, mills, shipyards, factories and other industrial establishments. You are responsible for the safe installation, calibration, maintenance and repair of industrial equipment as well as its electrical and electronic controls and related equipment. Your quality of work has to be second to none as many of these systems are very complex and your expertise is essential to the smooth safe operation of the entire establishment. Public utilities such as BC Hydro employ both types, but tend to rely more heavily on Industrial Electricians.

 

What’s the commitment?

It generally takes 4 years to complete all four levels of apprenticeship to become a certified Electrician. This includes roughly 40 weeks of in-school training and 6000 hours in the workplace. Construction Electrician and Industrial Electrician are both ‘Red Seal Trades’, a certification which allows you to work in every province of Canada once you are fully trained. Most apprenticeships in BC are regulated by the Industry Training Authority (ITA). Visit www.itabc.ca for more details.

 

What do I need to apply?

Minimum requirements include:

  • Apprentices must be eligible to work in Canada.
  • A high school diploma or equivalent is recommended, including Gr 12 English, Math and Physics.
  • Some employers may set a higher standard in which case related employment experience, a pre-apprenticeship and a solid background in science are definite assets.
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