Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Work opportunities with John Lewis

NICEIC is working with leading high street retailer John Lewis on a new initiative set to launch in 2017.

John Lewis is looking to recruit highly skilled electricians for a new Trusted Services offering it is looking to provide to its customers.

The scheme is to be trial in the Milton Keynes area in February, but if deemed successful it will be rolled out across other areas later in the year.

John Lewis is particularly interested in hearing from female registered electricians to ensure a diverse group of tradespeople are recruited.

If the service is of interest to you then email trustedservices@johnlewis.co.uk or visit www.johnlewistrustedservices.co.uk to register your interest.

Friday, 14 October 2016

Exams and real life work

Guest blogger Cariad Thomas-Cooke tells us more about her quest to become to become an electrician.

Well it's been a hectic few months since my last post. 

Quite a few people failed the science exam I was preparing for when I last wrote. So the pressure was on with people being moved to different classes and some being moved down to Level 1 if they did really badly. 

Luckily I passed so I wasn't in trouble. 

As well as the multiple choice exams we had to pass a practical exam where we had up to 8 hours to build a variety of sample circuits on a wall in college.

I found it the most worrying test because I didn't have the equipment to practice at home whereas I could revise for the computer tests.

Luckily I was one of the students that passed all my computer exams first time round so the college was able to give us extra workshop sessions to prepare towards the end of the year.

I've also been busy with Kier Services in Barnsley who gave me a great opportunity to get more work experience.

For four months I was able to spend two days per week working with their electricians. In Barnsley Kier Services provide emergency repair, maintenance and adaptations for about a third of the social housing managed by Berneslai Homes.

A lot of the time I was helping in empty properties which all need their electrical systems to be tested before new tenants moved in. In most circumstances the electrician would just record all the results and any improvements needed in an Electrical Installation Condition Report.

Kier Services contract is different because the electricians have to fix any serious problems they find whilst they are testing and the standards are slightly higher than that for private housing.

It took about a month for some of the staff at Kier Services to stop being surprised at me turning up each day as planned, especially as I wasn't being paid like them.

They were really kind, teaching me techniques for situations that don't arise in college and letting me do as much as possible. This meant I got to practice skills like fitting earth bonds to keep gas and water pipes safe, fitting new sockets, light switches and installing new cables.

We also installed wiring where the layout of a kitchen or bathroom was going to be changed for the new tenants.

I also got a good introduction to testing and fault finding which I should be learning more about in college whilst studying Level 3.

I was really grateful to the electricians at Kier Services when I was doing my practical exam in college. Thanks to both them and my college tutors I completed everything successfully!

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

College days and work experience

Below is a guest blog from Cariad Thomas-Cooke. She is one of three females currently training to become an electrician at Sheffield College. Here, she talks about her first experiences in the classroom and out on site.

It's been a bit of a rocky start at the college, with building works not being completed on time for our super new centre of learning and some timetabling challenges for the staff to solve.

We were all itching for the workshops to be finished so we could start our practical sessions and get on with making things. Thankfully everything’s fully up and running now and we're all enjoying trying to improve our skills.

We've also hit the ground running with our less enthusiastic theory studying. Having our first exam (Health and Safety) made us take things seriously and trying our best to not waste a single lesson.

The lessons are packed full of important information so classroom work on Fridays often has our heads spinning a bit. But we're all in the same boat and it's surprising how much can sink into a brain after a good night's sleep.

All the tutors have been really great throughout. I loved the pep talk at the beginning of the year which was obviously originally tailored for the lads in my class, but needed to be adapted slightly now that there's a woman on the course with them.

The guys in my class are great. After establishing my reasons for wanting to become an electrician are similar to theirs our class has a really friendly atmosphere.

I've also really enjoyed getting some work experience with Mand Made – a local domestic electrical company run by an award winning female electrician. There's certainly a big difference between the college workshop practice sessions - screwing parts into nice, soft wooden boards with plenty of space to work in and the realities of working on site - like cramming yourself into a narrow kitchen cabinet and curling around a corner to find a way to reach through cut-outs in the back designed to give you access to wire in a new socket!
But even the busiest day was better than being sat in an office staring at a database or spreadsheet on a computer screen all day (in my opinion).

The customers have been really nice  - providing cups of tea and one even introduced me to her unique home-made biscuits.

As I'm just starting out I'm a lot slower than the apprentice working there, who's got about 3 years more experience than me, and I've had to have lots of things explained so I could be sure I was doing the right thing. I can't wait to get more experience so I can speed up and know enough to be able to do more fault finding.

I've got another college exam in a couple of weeks. Apparently it's the one that has the highest failure rate so *fingers crossed*. I will be getting buried into revision for a while.

I'm also hoping to get an insight into working for a larger company with a new work experience placement – details are in the process of being finalised so watch this space. If I get any spare time I might also be able to spend some more time working at Mand Made helping out and learning more.

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Bursary helps sparky women break into industry

Last year as part of our commitment to help more women into the industry NICEIC set up a bursary for three women studying to become electricians at The Sheffield College.
Shauna Wigglesworth,Geraldine Hughes and Cariad Thomas-Cooke received funds to help with their studies throughout the course. 
In addition to funding we will also look to find the trio work placements with NICEIC registered firms in the area.
We look forward to following the progress of the three women as they go on to enjoy a successful career in the trade.
They will be revealing more about their experiences on this blog in due course.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015


Our research has revealed that for many young women there is a lack of information or support provided at a young age.

Particularly women aged 16-19 who are considering their future options.

With that in mind we wanted to highlight the opportunities that do exist and created two case studies of women just starting out as an apprentice.

You can see them both here:

Sam Jones


Over the years we have featured the stories of several women who have made a successful career as an electrician.

They have become ambassadors for our campaign and you can read their stories here:

You might also want to visit their own personal websites.

Eleanor Bell


Mandy Reynolds

Kellie Dillon Welch

Kelly Vincent

These are just some of the women out there proving that being an electrician is not just for boys. Do a quick search for a female electrician and you will now find many more

Looking back

Since launching our Jobs for the Girls campaign in 2011 we have organised several different events and activities.

Over the years we have attended Westminster to speak with ministers, appeared on national TV and radio and even had Dragon's Den star Hilary Devey spearhead the campaign. Last year we set up our JFTG Academy which provided technical, business and industry advice to give females a helping hand into the electrical industry.

NICEIC CEO Emma Clancy and some female sparks took the campaign to Westminster

Sparky duo Elecchicks helped promote the campaign in The Sun newspaper

Last year we hosted our JFTG Academy for females just starting out in the trade