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What does an Electrician do?

Electricians install, connect, test and maintain electrical systems for a variety of purposes, including lighting, climate control, security, communications and electronic controls for machines. They work in homes, businesses, factories, sports stadiums, skyscrapers and power stations. When installing electrical systems, electricians work with blueprints, which indicate where circuit boards, power outlets and load centres need to be placed. They can also work with renewable technology, such as wind turbines or photovoltaic systems that turn the sun’s energy into electricity.

Depending on the electrician’s area of specialisation, tasks might include:

  • reviewing current systems
  • installing power systems, lighting, fire protection, security and data-network systems
  • checking systems regularly to make sure that they are working efficiently and safely
  • building and installing control panels that operate the electrical systems inside buildings
  • repairing and maintaining electrical motors and other machinery like transformers
  • installing and maintaining street lighting and traffic management systems.

What qualifications do I need?

Preconditions for becoming a registered electrician include completing an electrical contractor apprenticeship and passing a Trade Test. There are many TVET Colleges, as well as learnership and apprenticeship programmes, that offer qualifications as an electrician. Another option is to complete a Bachelor of Science: Electrical Engineering degree, plus an additional master’s degree, followed by a training programme within a specific company. A National Senior Certificate that meets the requirements for a diploma or degree course is a prerequisite for many courses. Registration with the Electrical Contracting Board of South Africa, which is a requirement prior to operating as a contractor, can only be completed once registration as an accredited person through the Department of Labour has been finalised and a certificate of registration issued.

What subjects do I need?

Contact each institution for their specific requirements, but these subjects are recommended: 
• Mathematics
• Physical Sciences
• Electrical Technology


Where can I study?

False Bay TVET College
National Certificate: N1-N3

Protech Training
Learnership and Apprenticeship

Learnership and Apprenticeship

MCD Training Centre
Learnership and Apprenticeship

AA Technical College

Where can I get more info?

Electrical Contractors’ Association of South Africa – www.ecasa.co.za
South African Institute of Electrical Engineers – www.saiee.org.za


Interview with an Electrician

Ilunga Jean Paul Muambayi | ELECTRICIAN | Electro Surgeon

Ilunga Jean Paul Muambayi | ELECTRICIAN | Electro Surgeon

Why did you choose this profession?
I enjoy working with people and prefer being on the road than in an office. There is always work available for electricians because it’s one of the most common trades, and there is always a lot of growth potential when you work for a well-known company.

What training did you undergo and where did you do it?
I did an apprenticeship section 28 with ECA and Train All training centre in Cape Town.

Describe a typical day on the job
We mainly work on maintenance on electrical work in houses and small buildings – like plug points, light fittings, earth leakages, etc. Every day there is something different and we are always needed.

What are the best parts?
I enjoy a good team spirit, and when a client is happy with my work.

What don’t you like?
I don’t like it when sometimes a client thinks they know what is wrong and overrun my decisions when I’m fixing a problem, in the end realising that I did intend to do the right thing. This is why you need lots of patience and good social skills!

Have there been hurdles to overcome?
I have found that in this industry you have to keep your focus and be positive because when I started it was not easy. I did not get a lot of help and not many companies wanted to hire me because I hardly had any experience.

Career highlights?
When I resolve the problem by giving satisfaction to the ones in need and I can look back and be proud of how much experience I have gained.

Your future goals are…
To find myself managing a big electrical company.

How does experience weigh up against formal training?
The more experience you get, the better equipped you are mentally and physically.

What makes a ‘good’ electrician?
An electrician needs dedication, passion and a hard-working ethos.

Any advice for someone starting out in your career?
Always be willing to learn and take on new opportunities. Never give up.