Thanks to the recent advancements in present-day medicine and the great strides achieved by the life sciences industry, the “gift” of longer life expectancy means the opportunity for individuals to contribute to the economy and sustain economic growth for longer than they did, say 10 years ago. This leaves us with absolutely no doubt that skilled older workers are not just relevant, but crucial to the success of a multigenerational, modern-day workforce. People today have a much broader, more accepting outlook on life after retirement, especially if good health and enough spare time are on their side. While an increasing number of retirees are looking to reclaim their lives through recreative health club memberships, investing in exploratory travel, taking up community service, dancing, art, and so on, a reasonable percentage of new retirees also do consider a second career that they find sufficiently engaging and helps them continue to earn some income for perhaps a few years more. The good news at this time is that the Government of Victoria is making huge investments in upskilling its citizens through the recently launched Skills First Funding program for eligible students, through recognised VET courses in the electrotechnology sector.

Making these opportunities easily accessible can ensure fuller participation of all workers in a thriving economy and helps raise the health standards of the population at large. Several companies across Australia are now offering practical pathways for mature candidates to make a rewarding return to the workforce as electrical apprentices. The introduction of the Skills First Funding program is a golden opportunity for those who have dropped out or discontinued their technical studies to catch up on their qualifications and benefit from this surge in demand for licensed electricians that are currently trending.

I’m over 40. What do I need to do, and how does my previous experience count?

The daily tasks carried out by electricians include the design, assembly, installation, testing, commissioning, diagnostics, maintenance and repairs of electrical networks, systems, circuits, equipment, components, appliances, and facilities. If you’re 40 years of age and older, you’d probably already have at least 20 years of total work experience and some relevant technical qualifications, judging by your present interest in pursuing electrical work. In that case, we recommend getting your Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) assessment done through a VET institution—Frontier offers a quick and easy RPL assessment that saves you a lot of time and money, and includes free skills assessment too! Then, depending on your eligibility, you can enrol under the Skills First Funding program and complete an electrical apprentice course at subsidised fees. The Victorian Government is committed to providing high-quality technical training and the Skills First program is designed to support students to undergo training that is most likely to lead to employment.

What does it take to become an electrical apprentice?

A natural question to ask is what the prerequisites are if one is considering a future in electrical work in Australia—regardless of whether you are seeing it as a primary or subsequent career option. All aspiring electrical apprentices need to be at least 18 years of age, and be sufficiently proficient in English (read, write, and speak); all candidates will need to have completed the equivalent of at least Year 12 level of schooling and be sufficiently digitally literate. In addition, they must undergo mandatory basic training to meet Australian government (WorkSafe Victoria) and industrial safety standards prior to joining an electrical apprentice program. With over 400 locations across Australia, the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network makes it easier for you to find and complete an electrical apprenticeship training pathway that could work just right for you. The network provides individualised screening, testing, streaming, and matching services to help you select the right apprenticeship program.

Applicants to an electrical apprenticeship program must also undertake a language, literacy, and numeracy (LLN) assessment during their induction before beginning the course, and their results are usually assessed individually by an assessor. Electrical apprentices must pass the LLN test to gauge their preparedness for the electrical apprenticeship program. Qualified and licensed electricians can develop the potential to advance their careers in a number of industries, progressing to leadership opportunities or running very successful businesses of their own.

VET Electrotechnology training programs you can explore

If you want to begin or fast-track your career in electrotechnology, there are many options available. Frontier Institute of Technology is a Registered Training Organisation (RTO) and Skills First Funding-approved provider offering a variety of nationally recognised long and short electrician courses, including a Certificate III Electrotechnology Electrician course under a 4-year apprenticeship program with the Skills First Funding advantage for eligible students. The subsidised apprenticeship course covers as many as 29 units of competency including two elective units.

  • Apart from the apprenticeship program, there are also short courses that can be completed in just a couple of days and are taught by expert trainers with as many as 20 years of industry experience. These courses include the Restricted Electrical Workers’ License (REL) Class 2 and Restricted Electrical Workers’ License (REL) Class 1, which entitle you to apply for an electrical worker’s professional license and be job-ready immediately upon completion. REL Class 2 students are trained to disconnect and reconnect low-voltage electrical appliances, while REL Class 1 license holders develop the competence to find faults in electrical connections, in addition to disconnecting and reconnecting appliances. Most learners these days choose to complete both, REL Class 2 and Class 1 levels in immediate succession, effectively becoming eligible for both Licenses in just 3 days!
  • Other short courses include Test and Tag training, which includes mandatory occupational health and safety and prepares you to meet AS/NZS 3012:2010 mandatory requirements for carrying out inspections and installations of all portable cord-connected electrical appliances.
  • The 11-week Course in Electrician – Minimum Australian Context Gap training provides a solid qualifying pathway to people who have recently moved to Australia and hold an Offshore Technical Skills Record (OTSR). This course is equivalent to the UEE30811 Certificate III in Electrotechnology Electrician and can help OTSR holders achieve an unrestricted Australian Electrical license.

So, what next?

Check your eligibility for our electrotechnology courses to start with, and you can be on your way to enrolling in an Electrical Apprenticeship program with Frontier Institute.