Disclaimer: This is our understanding of the UK situation. We offer no assurance that this information is accurate or comprehensive. What follows does not constitute advice. Before taking steps that involve electrical work, you should consult a qualified person.

So you want to practise as an electrician in the UK?

Want to earn money as an electrician?
Want to earn money as an electrician?

Many ex-prisoners with electrical skills would like to practise as an electrician when they are on the out.

But many would-be electrician are anxious about doing work because they hear stories of making a mistake that causes a client’s house to burn down, and then they get sued. In reality the fuses would most likely trip.

Some people think these stories are designed to a) frighten householders into hiring only ‘qualified’ electricians. And b) to make all electricians join a Gas Safe type of association, for which they will have to pay.

You can do the electrical work, and then within five days of completing the work, you get a registered third party supplier to check what you’ve done and they will issue a Part P. However, some electricians are unwilling to certify others’ work.

1. You can do electrical modifications on anyone’s house. This includes sockets, switches and light fittings. But only a ‘competent person’ can issue a certificate.

2. Most new electrical work must be reported to the local authority. But unqualified people can make alterations, as long as it doesn’t involve water (eg work in bathrooms).

3. The householder will probably want to hand over a certificate when they sell their house. But in reality how many of us know where to locate certificates for work done on our homes a few years ago?

You should try to get public liability insurance, to give yourself and your clients peace of mind. We don’t know how easy that is to get. Let us know if you find out.

It costs a lot to get your Part P qualification. A possible solution is to start with small, handyman-type work, and put money aside for your course.

Getting qualified

You can take various City and Guilds qualifications over time, and build towards Part P.

To start with electricians need the 17th edition City & Guilds certificate. The normal costs are anything between £350 – £450 but I found a training centre who will do the “exam only” for £100.00. So as long as you get the regs book, and do your homework  this is a cost effective way of taking the exam.

If you want to get Part P Certification, one company to consider is Benchmark. They are the same as NICEIC and ECA but the big difference is they will let you pay monthly after a initial fee.

If you are a ex-offender, you will end up on the work program. Some say this is a waste of time, but with a bit of badgering they will pay for your CSCS card. So go for it.

Working for yourself

Even basic labouring requires a CSCS card for site work. so it’s a bit of a catch 22. Self-employment as a handyman, working directly for householders, is one solution

At the moment insurance is a bit of an issue, but we hope to have comments on that soon.

More information