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!

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