Electrician career path

Hi there, I am a nearly fully qualified electrician to 18th edition with level 3 NVQ 2357. As I approach completion I am now wondering what to do next as I would quite like to progress further as I did quite well in college and feel I am capable. My question is basically what would be a good route to take: 2391 followed by the 2396 design course, or is the building services (electrotechnical) HNC a good option? Any advice would be massively appreciated, thanks

  • Jack, it is fantastic that you are interested in furthering your knowledge of this wonderful industry of ours. I am a tutor on both the 2391 and 2396 and whilst they are worthwhile qualifications to pursue at any stage of your career, I believe that you should have a few miles on the clock before attempting them. Not because you might fail to achieve but because you are likely to find the learning much more worthwhile when you have been around a few more corners. 

    My advice would be to tackle the HNC first. Best of luck whatever you do. Oh, and stick around here, some young blood would be welcome! 

  • Hi lyle thanks for your response Smile It is brilliant to hear advice from somebody such as yourself given your position, I am a sponge for any advice so it is much appreciated. I am 20 years old with just my apprenticeship as experience so far (commercial and domestic) so your point probably does ring true. I feel the 2391 could benefit me however straight out of my time as a lot is still fresh in my head and feel I am capable, money is a factor too so being approved is something I desire. 
    Would you recommend the building services HNC or the electrical engineering HNC? Again thank you for your response Thumbsup

  • Jack, I think I replied to your query, (or one with the same query on FB). 2391 is very good, and is a must do. I disagree with Lyle about that, I think you should do 2391 as soon as you get a chance, then you will have a far better understanding of inspection and testing, and note, it isnt testing, it is I&T, and the smaller part is the testing in my opinion. A good working knowledge of installations may help, and, I think what Lyle means, for example,you may not have come across 3 phase DBs with fuses and pyro cabling, so a practical knowledge of many types of installations, especially older ones, may help during the course, and younger people may be at a disadvantage as they havent been taught about the installations from the 60's/ 70's and 80's.

    2396, I found that very time consuming, and the exam was far harder than expected. I've also remembered, I think a lot of prior knowledge comes in handy with 2396, and as a youngster in the trade, there will be some things that you are not aware of, so I do agree with Lyle on that point, even though the 2396 exam was open book, I think it was the experience of many years of site work that got me through the exam, rather than having the books at my side.

  • . I disagree with Lyle about that, I think you should do 2391 as soon as you get a chance

    Bear in mind that you have to be very slick in the practical exam or else you run the risk of running out of time. 

  • I think that Lyle might be hinting at that some of the things you see are "Oh heck what? I didn`t think anybody would do that"  or " Wow that`s different, is it correct though?" or " Blimey I`d never thought of that one" or a mix of such, some of which you have got to see to believe , some good, some bad and some downright daft in the extreme. You tend to , sometimes, get something like a sixth sense but actually it`s not, it`s experienc. Eventually not that much actually surprises you anymore.

  • Don't forget that the first bit of 2391 (2394 as was) is initial verification, so the practical installation is properly done. For me, 2395 was the same installation, but there was a bank of switches which allowed the assessors to introduce a couple of non-compliances. IIRC, some bar steward had inserted a resistor into the ring.

    The photographs bit was fun.