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Sub-sectors


Electrotechnical

The electrotechnical industry works on both domestic and major engineering projects installing, commissioning and maintaining technology in all types of building, including:

  • complex projects such as shopping centres, sports stadiums, hospitals and new housing projects
  • advanced data-cabling, data-handling systems and fibre-optic systems
  • computer controlled building management systems
  • renewable energy systems
  • control equipment for complex industrial manufacturing and processing

    Key facts:

    • There are around 23,000 businesses in the industry employing 161,000 people, mostly white male.
    • 90% of businesses employ fewer than 10 people.
    • The number of people employed in the industry is forecast to fall due to the economic climate.

    Key workforce statistics:

    • Less than 1% of the skilled workforce is female.
    • 3.5% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background, 1.4% of the workforce is from Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds.
    • 63% of the workforce is aged 35-54 years.

    The electrotechnical industry is a frequent choice of career by those who are made redundant from engineering roles, by those changing career and by those returning to work after a break. Entrants are required to have a good level of education and will need to achieve the relevant NVQ Level 2 or Level 3 to be recognised as qualified within the industry.

    Typical progression routes in this industry are into technician, supervisory management or professional building services engineering roles. Many qualified electricians also run their own businesses.

    Due to the current economic climate, the number of people employed in the industry is forecast to fall by between 18% and 42%, depending upon the depth of the recession and the speed of recovery. A proportion of these losses will be apprentices. About 90% of people working in the industry are employed as Installation Electricians, with around 20% of these installing alarms, 5-8% work as Highway Systems Electricians and 2-5% work in the other trades.

    At technician and professional levels, the workforce is likely to remain relatively stable. From 2010 onwards, there is likely to be an increase in the number of people required, thereby improving prospects for new entrants to the sector. This will particularly benefit graduates seeking to enter the industry and gain employment within consultancies. Technician and professional roles typically sought after by experienced people who have worked in the industry for 10-15 years are: computer aided design (CAD) technician; site supervisor; educator or trainer; consulting engineer; estimator/quantity surveyor; and business manager or proprietor.

    The skill needs are expected to be met by the redeployment of displaced workers. Therefore, recruitment to replace those retiring or leaving the industry is likely to be minimal in the short-term.

    The largest number of employees in the electrotechnical industry are located in: the East of England; London; and the South East.

    Some suggested annual salary ranges for those working in the industry include:

    • First-year apprentices start on around £8,000
    • Newly-qualified workers earn around £17,000
    • Experienced workers earn around £30,000

    More information on salary levels can be found on the Joint Industry Board (JIB) website.

    Source: Summitskills AACS LMI report 2010

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    Plumbing

    This industry works on domestic, commercial and industrial projects. A plumber undertakes a wide variety of jobs, including:

    • installing and maintaining central heating systems, hot and cold water systems and drainage systems
    • installing, commissioning and maintaining solar water heating, rainwater harvesters or grey water re-cycling systems
    • installing and maintaining gas, oil and solid fuel appliances

    The plumbing industry is at the forefront of environmentally-friendly technologies, designing and installing low carbon systems involving solar water and rainwater harvesting.

    Key facts:

    • There are around 22,000 businesses in the industry employing 74,000 people, mostly white male.
    • 90% of businesses employ fewer than 10 people.
    • The number of people employed in the industry is forecast to fall due to the economic climate.

    Key workforce statistics:

    • Less than 1% of the skilled workforce is female.
    • 3% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background, 1.4% of the workforce is from Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds.
    • 63% of the workforce is aged 35-54 years
    • 45% of people in training are aged 16-24 years

    This is a common choice of career by those who are made redundant from engineering roles, by those changing career and by those returning to work after a break. Entrants are required to have a good level of education and will need to achieve the relevant NVQ Level 2 or Level 3 to be recognised as qualified within the industry.

    Due to the current economic climate, the number of people employed in the industry is forecast to fall by between 18% and 42%, depending upon the depth of the recession and the speed of recovery. A proportion of these losses will be apprentices. Currently, there are insufficient job opportunities available to satisfy demand.

    About 80% of people employed in the industry work as Domestic Plumbers, half of whom are in Domestic Heating, whilst 20% work as Commercial Plumbers.

    At technician and professional levels, the workforce is likely to remain relatively stable. From 2010 onwards, there is likely to be an increase in the number of people required, thereby improving prospects for new entrants to the sector. This will particularly benefit graduates seeking to enter the industry and gain employment within consultancies. Technician and professional roles typically sought after by experienced people who have worked in the industry for 10-15 years are: site supervisor; educator or trainer; and business manager or proprietor.

    The skill needs of the industry are expected to be met by the redeployment of displaced workers. Therefore, recruitment to replace those retiring or leaving the industry is likely to be minimal in the short-term.

    The largest number of employees in the industry are located in: the North West; the South East; and London.

    Some suggested annual salary ranges for those working in the industry include:

    First-year apprentices start on around £10,000

    • Newly-qualified plumbers earn around £17,000
    • Experienced workers earn around £30,000

    More information on salary levels can be found on the Unite the Union website

    Source: Summitskills AACS LMI report 2010

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    Heating and ventilating

    The heating and ventilating industry installs systems and technology to make environments habitable and as energy efficient as possible. The workforce includes:

    • Pipework and ductwork installers, who use their skills to cut, form, weld, and join a wide range of materials that combine to create a heating and ventilating system
    • Control and commissioning engineers, who use their knowledge to ensure systems meet design requirements for the building
    • Maintenance engineers, who identify faults, fix them and, more importantly, plan and carry out service and maintenance activities on systems to make sure they work efficiently and effectively

    The industry is at the forefront of environmentally-friendly technologies, designing and installing low carbon footprint systems involving solar water, combined heat and power (CHP) units, ground source heat pumps, biomass and fuel cells.

    Key facts:

    • There are around 9,000 businesses in the industry employing 46,000 people, mostly white male.
    • 90% of businesses employ fewer than 10 people.
    • The number of people employed in the industry is forecast to fall due to the economic climate.

    Key workforce statistics:

    • Less than 1% of the skilled workforce is female.
    • 3% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background, 1.4% of the workforce is from Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds.
    • 63% of the workforce is aged 35-54 years.

    The heating and ventilation industry is a frequent choice of career by those who are made redundant from engineering roles, by those changing career and by those returning to work after a break. Entrants are required to have a good level of education and will need to achieve the relevant NVQ Level 2 or Level 3 to be recognised as qualified within the industry.

    Some work in the industry particularly that of the domestic installer is similar to work undertaken by a plumber.

    Around 60% of people in the industry work in heating and ventilating installation, while 20% work in service and maintenance and 20% work on ductwork.

    Due to the current economic climate, the number of people employed in the industry is forecast to fall by between 18% and 42%, depending upon the depth of the recession and the speed of recovery. A proportion of these losses will be apprentices.

    At technician and professional levels, the workforce is likely to remain relatively stable. From 2010 onwards, there is likely to be an increase in the number of people required, thereby improving prospects for new entrants to the sector. This will particularly benefit graduates seeking to enter the industry and gain employment with consultancies. Technician and professional roles typically sought after by experienced people who have worked in the industry for 10-15 years are: contract or project engineer; commissioning engineer; site supervisor; consulting engineer; estimator/quantity surveyor; and educator or trainer.

    The skill needs of the industry are expected to be met by the redeployment of displaced workers. Therefore, recruitment to replace those retiring or leaving the industry is likely to be minimal in the short-term.

    The largest number of employees in the industry are located in: the South East; London; and the East Midlands.

    Some suggested annual salary ranges for those working in the industry include:

    • First-year apprentices earn between £9,100 and £11,250
    • Newly-qualified installers earn around £20,000
    • Experienced engineers earn between £22,000 and £24,000

    Source: Summitskills AACS LMI report 2010

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    Air conditioning and refrigeration

    The heating and ventilating industry workforce install, service and maintain the systems which control air temperature and humidity from multi-screen cinemas to keeping blood at the right temperature for lifesaving operations. The industry takes its responsibilities to the environment seriously ensuring that refrigerant gasses are handled in a safe and eco-friendly manner to reduce their impact on the environment.

    Key facts:

    • There are around 4,500 businesses in the industry employing 23,000 people, mostly white male.
    • About 65% of the workforce is in Refrigeration, 35% work in Air Conditioning.
    • 90% of businesses employ fewer than 10 people.
    • The number of people employed in the industry is forecast to fall due to the economic climate.

    Key workforce statistics:

    • Less than 1% of the skilled workforce is female.
    • Ethnicity: 3% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background, 1.4% of the workforce is from Indian, Pakistani or Bangladeshi backgrounds.
    • 63% of the workforce is aged 35-54 years.

    The heating and ventilation industry is a rare choice of career by those who are made redundant from engineering roles, by those changing career and by those returning to work after a break. Entrants are required to have a good level of education and will need to achieve the relevant NVQ Level 2 or Level 3 to be recognised as qualified within the industry.

    Due to the current economic climate, the number of people employed in the industry is forecast to fall by between 18% and 42%, depending upon the depth of the recession and the speed of recovery. A proportion of these losses will be apprentices.

    At technician and professional levels, the workforce is likely to remain relatively stable. From 2010 onwards, there is likely to be an increase in the number of people required, thereby improving prospects for new entrants to the sector. This will particularly benefit graduates seeking to enter the industry and gain employment within consultancies. Technician and professional roles typically sought after by experienced people who have worked in the industry for 10-15 years are: contract or project engineer; commissioning engineer; controls engineer; service and maintenance engineer; educator or trainer; and business manager or proprietor.

    The skill needs of the industry are expected to be met by the redeployment of displaced workers. Therefore, recruitment to replace those retiring or leaving the industry is likely to be minimal in the short-term.

    The largest number of employees in the industry are located in: the South East; London; and Yorkshire and the Humber.

    Some suggested annual salary ranges for those working in the industry include:

    • First-year apprentices start on around £10,000
    • Newly-qualified workers earn between £20,000 and £27,000
    • Experienced engineers earn around £30,000

    Source: Summitskills AACS LMI report 2010

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    Electrical and electronic servicing

    The electrical and electronic servicing industry is involved in the installation, servicing and maintenance of:

    • signal reception, which deals with aerial systems in residences, blocks of flats and individual private homes
    • consumer electronics, such as TVs, audio systems and DVD players
    • domestic electrical appliances, such as washing machines, microwaves and refrigerators

    Jobs in the industry include: TV Service Engineers/Technicians; Domestic Appliance Service Engineers; and Aerial Installers.

    Key facts:

    • Many Domestic Appliance Service Engineers become self employed and run their own businesses.
    • While some people work ‘on call’, many are employed by manufacturers and manufacturer approved service agents and high street retailers.
    • Less than 1% of the skilled workforce is female.
    • The average age of the workforce is 45 years.

    The independent retailers/repairers in the electrical and electronic servicing industry are usually small businesses employing very few engineers. Agencies usually employ between 5 and 15 engineers, whilst manufacturers usually employ between 80 and 120. Although the number of engineers working in the UK is not known, all areas of this industry have seen a decline in the number of engineers mainly due to consumers tending to replace items rather than having them repaired.

    Entrants are required to have a good level of education, with Maths, English and Science (preferably Physics) at GCSE level. Those wishing to enter the industry need an interest in technology, together with good analytical skills and practical skills. A lot of the work involves identifying cables and components by colour; therefore, normal colour vision is important. Entrants will need to achieve the relevant NVQ Level 2 or Level 3 to be recognised as qualified. This will take between 2 and 4 years to complete whilst working in the industry. Typical progression routes from this industry are from Level 2 (diagnosis of faults and simple repairs) to Level 3 (diagnosis of faults and more complex repairs). Very few people enter this industry directly at Level 3.

    The industry is not a common career choice by those who are made redundant, changing career or returning to work after a break. However, it has historically been attractive to those with an engineering background in the UK Armed Forces.

    Due to the current economic climate, the number of people employed in the sector as a whole is forecast to fall by between 18% and 42%, depending upon the depth of the recession and the speed of recovery. A proportion of these losses will be apprentices. However, due to the upgrade from analog to digital, more installation engineers will be required to fulfil demand levels until 2012. Additionally, because of the London 2012 Olympics and potential hosting of the World Cup in 2018, more engineers may be required. However, these demands will be short-term and are not expected to be sustainable.

    Some suggested annual salary ranges for those working in the industry include:

    • Apprentices earn between £8,000 and £12,000
    • Qualified workshop or field technicians can earn between £15,000 and £22,000
    • A Service Manager can earn around £20,000

    More information on salary levels can be found on the Joint Industry Board (JIB) website

    Source: Summitskills AACS LMI report 2010

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