5. Industry Induction

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More and more, our world is becoming an automated one. Jobs in electrical services are on a steady rise to keep up, with a projected growth of 5% by 2024.

Chances are, signing up to this virtual work experience program, you already have some idea of what an Electrical Technician does.

Let’s hear a bit more about what the job is like from an ARTC Signals Electrician:


So what’s the difference between an Electrical Technician and an Electrician?


That’s a fair question! Electrical Technicians and Electricians both work with electrical systems. An electrical technician is a professional who sometimes works in an office and sometimes in the field. They support electrical engineers in their engineering plans and are also responsible for maintenance and repairs. 

Usually, Technicians are specialised in a particular system, whereas electricians look after electrical construction more generally. 

Whether you're aiming to be an electrician or an electrical technician, there's a few common skills you'll need:

  1. An aptitude for mechanics/electronics: you're going to need to feel comfortable and confident working with electrical equipment. This might seem obvious, but consider if you enjoy practical DIY projects or taking things apart and putting them together again – if these sorts of tasks don't appeal to you, then working day-in, day-out as an electrical technician might not be for you. If it does sound fun though, then you might be onto something!
  2. Problem solving skills: a lot of the time, you'll be sent out to work independently on sites. You'll need to diagnose and fix the problem by considering potential solutions and weighing the pros and cons of each one.
  3. Reading comprehension: being an electrical technician isn't just about working with your hands. A lot of communication will be written, including receiving your work orders at the start of each shift and and submitting maintenance reports at the end.
  4. Business skills: one day you might want to work as a contractor or start your own business, so it's important to pick up skills like invoicing, management, and tracking inventory.
  5. Customer service skills: if you're working for a large company like Inland Rail, you might not come into contact with too many customers but you'll still need to communicate with other workers, including Signal Operators and Rail Engineers. If you're working for a small business or private contractor on the other hand you will need to be able to reassure homeowners and provide service that gets you word-of-mouth recommendations.

Your role for the next four weeks

As an Inland Rail Electrical Technician, you’re the front line for making sure train and railway equipment is operating safely and being maintained and repaired properly. It’s a high-responsibility job – people rely on the railway and you have a lot of lives in your hands. 

The system you’ll be specialising in for the purposes of this Virtual Work Experience will be DC (or Direct Current) type track circuits.

Let's have a closer look at what track circuits actually are...