An electrical installation technician fits a variety of electrical and electronic systems and accessories in motor vehicles, including sat-nav, audio and TV systems, and alarms. They also find and fix faults.

What do you need to have studied?

You will need four GCSEs of grades A to C, including maths, science, engineering, design and technology – or appropriate equivalents – if you want to start an apprenticeship in auto electrics. If you are not eligible for an apprenticeship there are alternative college courses – including vehicle maintenance and repair or a national diploma in vehicle repair and technology – that have lower GCSE grade requirements. You will probably need a driving licence too.

How do you get a job?

Most entrants will work towards their qualification and training while at work. Approach local businesses to find out whether they offer apprenticeships, or ask your local college to help you with some affiliated companies. Some manufacturers offer training programmes that lead to achieving technician status; request an application form and talk to the manager about what opportunities they have on offer.

Is there an interview process?

Once you’ve applied for the job you may be asked to an interview.

What are the opportunities for career progression?

More and more vehicles are now fitted with electronic control systems as standard, meaning that the demand for good, qualified electrical installation technicians is on the rise. Once you are qualified you can find work with garages, car dealerships, fleet-hire companies, breakdown services, road haulage firms and specialist auto-electrical fitters. Prospects for promotion consist of moving into managerial roles, vehicle sales or marketing.

You can take further courses as your career progresses in order to become more qualified, or you could think also think about setting up your own business, in mobile auto electronics or security installation, for example.

What’s the salary?

Trainee auto electricians earn between £7,000 and £11,000 a year – depending on their stage of training – while salaries for newly qualified staff are between £14,500 and £17,000. Experienced auto electricians can earn between £17,500 and £21,000; senior auto electricians can earn up to £25,000.

What benefits are there?

Some employers offer discounts and free overalls. Trainees normally have to buy their own tools, but most employers will help with loans or credit.

What are the toughest parts of the job?

If you are working for a company that has a 24-hour call-out service you might have to work night shifts, which may include working outside in all weather conditions.

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