Do I Need to Complete a Pre-Apprenticeship if I Have Relevant Experience?

Hi Guys,

Just have a quick question for the electricians or any of you willing to put your two cents in.

I am currently working for an electrical contractor which I do estimating for, however, I want to become a qualified electrician to advance in my career and become something along the lines of a project manager, etc. I can see my position becoming stale and at a stop in the near future where only my salary will increase ever so slightly which is the reason why I have thought about this.

The issue is that I am afraid to ask my current workplace as they wouldn't like to lose me and I have previously brought this up last year where the boss got upset at my comment.
Just for reference, I started with no experience what so ever in the industry or any trade in fact, have been doing estimating for 4 years now, currently 24 years old.

I have so many questions,
Is a pre-app necessary even if I have relevant experience?
What steps do I need to take or should I consider?
Is this a good idea?

Any information is greatly appreciated


  • I'm in a somewhat similar situation, wanting to leave my work and start an electrical apprenticeship. I read anything I could get my hands on and watched every video online I could so that I understood the basic stuff and then I did a pre-apprenticeship through tafe.
    Honestly doing a pre-app would probably greatly help your application as it shows that you put in the time and are motivated to make it your career.
    You can do a pre-app on TAFE Digital while working still working fulltime, that's what I did.
    I also used my holiday days to get experience with a local electrical company who were awesome and showed me the ropes. In your situation it seems you already have a strong background in the electrical trade, so that probably wouldn't be necessary. One more thing, a lot of the units you complete in the pre-app are exactly the same as in the apprenticeship, so you can get RPL when you start it. Anyway, good luck bro!

  • +1

    I did a pre-apprenticeship because I didn't know anything about what I studied. Being mature aged, not many companies would put me on with an apprenticeship with proof of my determination.

    From the sounds of it, you have a lot of guided experience.
    Have you thought asking the boss to start an apprenticeship with them?
    You should also talk to a TAFE teacher as you could get 'Recognition of Prior Learning' for subjects based on your 4 years on-hand experience, which would sweeten the deal with your boss, as they wouldn't be paying for you to study as much as new apprentices.

    Good luck dude.

  • +2

    What you need to do is RPL (recognition of prior learning).

    I recently went back and did my locksmith trade apprenticeship. I already had a mechanical trade, so therefore I was able to supply evidence of my prior completion of certain subjects. The problem was that it only gave me an exemption from the beginner stuff, like working with hand tools and OH&S, which worked out to be only a small portion of the course.

    The next thing is, you don’t need to do a “pre-apprenticeship” course. If you did, it would only contain parts of the main apprenticeship course anyway. It would be called something like; Introduction to electrical trade, or Cert II Electrician. If you did a pre-apprenticeship course, the only thing that it would do is give you the RPL paperwork you could use later if you did want to go and do the full trade course. The good news is that you don’t need to do the pre-apprenticeship course, as you may as well go straight into the full trade course.

    Unfortunately, at 24, unless you can prove that you have been hands on in the job for a long time, and as an electrician, that would be hard considering you need a license to do the work, then your chances at RPL are pretty slim. Even with over 25 years as a mechanic and going back and doing a mechanical based trade, there was very little I could do for RPL.

  • +1

    RPL: Every time I've dealt with TAFE and asked for RPL they want specific course numbers. Years of experience doesn't seem to count and rarely does any of your pre-existing formal training. You might be luckier. You can only ask. I've never had any TAFE teacher go much out of their way to look stuff up for me so it's best to go in armed with all your doco and a reason why you should get RPL. I know my Mechanics apprenticeship counted for nothing when I did my Mech Tech Cert and the Mech Tech Cert only counted 40% towards my Mech Eng Associate Diploma when it should have been 50%.

    There's a slim chance that some of the current discounted/free courses might be a basis for RPL but they seem to be aimed at soft skills.

    Pre-apprenticeship is just some of the 1st year courses from the actual apprenticeship courses. The advantage of doing a pre-apprenticeship is that you aren't walking into the job totally ignorant to what the job entails and have some clue about WHS on the job and the employer doesn't have to give you as much time off for TAFE.

    If your boss is getting cranky about you wanting to increase your qualifications and get ahead then I'd be working even harder to get out of there. A good boss wants you to improve and aim higher. I tell all my young guys (under 35) that they should be getting substantially more responsibility (and money) every 2-3 years and look at substantially different work within their field every 5 years.

  • Yes, you will struggle without one.
    You don't have any on the job experience or prior trade training so nothing to RPL.(I assume)

    Your estimating experience will come in handy.

    Employer is likely to be pissed/not on board as they have to move a competent person into an area where they have no experience and then fill a vital role with someone who doesn't know the ins and out of their business.

    If you started tomorrow you're looking at 6-7 years before you will be on a position to project manage, you may find running your own business more engaging and rewarding even financially.

    Start getting your tools together and do a pre apprenticeship course.

    Good luck to you

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