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#50938 04/16/05 01:08 PM
Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 19
johnb Offline OP
I had my interview for ibew apprenticeship. I was told if your selected you'll get a drug test appointment. If not you'll get a letter with your score. I got my letter with a score of 79.1. I wonder what it takes to get in? Did anyone else get thier results back yet? I'm the 40 yr old looking to change careers. I wonder if that hurt me?

Joined: Oct 2004
Posts: 14
I was in my late 30's when I became an electrician. I don't regret it. But I want to tell you what your up against. I'm now 48.5 as my username gives away.
I knew I was behind my peers so I've always, and even still hit the books hard, in order to obtain knowledge comparable to those my age, who have 10+ more years in the trade then I. Still when applying for a job (one that requires a more "seasond" electrician) there always seems to be someone with that little bit more experience than me, and he gets the job. Or they have all the qualifications, and are 15 to 20 years younger than me.
Discrimination for age is illeagle. However it's done. Many ECs would rather hire a qualified electrician that has the least potential for health problems, is the most physically fit, and will work for the lowest pay. Even more so in residential. One shop I worked for, with 12 guys, had no one but me that was over 30! (I was only hired as fill in help). So of course they were not interested in keeping me on.
As far as the union. I've been told that I could never be in it long enough to gain a decent retirement pension.
I've done the best with BRAINS REQUIRED work, like service work of all sorts. And have done the worst working for ECs on BID JOBs. "I'm loosing money, its your fault" the battle cry of the bid job.
I was once told in this forum that by now I should be a "shop rat", and be constantly employed. Implying that the problem is me. In todays turbulent economy, thats an unrealistic statement, probably made by someone who's lucky enough to be a shop rat.

I've had recent job offers. But they require so much of my time and skills, to grow their companys, that I saw no difference in being self employed so thats where I'm at and happier for it.

Joined: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,803
Employers are slowly waking up to the benefits older employees can bring to a company, ( and with no disrespect to you younger chaps, we know you're faster and more agile, but we all get older and wiser each day, grace...). They ( oldies) -
Tend to be more reliable, timely, more experienced and better at customer-interface.
Seen it, been there, done it, moved on.
Not thinking about women all the time!(only every 10 minutes not every 2 minutes!)
Less likely to up-sticks for a better job right in the middle of something vital.
Less testoterone- less aggressive.
B&Q, a huge DIY store in the UK did an experiment when a proposal went before the Board to employ only under 30's. Several octegenarian Directors pointed at the average Board age of 70, so one store was allowed to employ a bunch of Senior Citizens. Result? Sales boomed, because customers took advice from an older ( & perceived wiser?) person rather than a younger one.
Now a bit of advice when applying for jobs- DON'T tell a prospective employer you're a late starter- Your task is to sell yourself- not introduce doubt. Think positive about the experience you gained in the pre-electrician time, - dealing with customers? handling math/money? - Need for self improvement led you to a more technical challenge? etc. No need to lie- just polish any negatives out of your earlier experience and turn 'em into gold nuggets!
Think on this- when the whole workforce at Toyota, (UK notorious under 30 employer), suddenly all reach 55 together, what are they going to do then? Start building Employee Zimmers?
ps Wonder how 'deluth' got on?

Wood work but can't!
Joined: Nov 2004
Posts: 138
Sorry to hear you didn't get in, john. I will be going in a couple of weeks to take the test/interview for local 90 in CT. Hope all goes well. I am 29, and have been in the trade for about 3 years. Hope my experience helps me on the test. But for some reason I don't think it's going to. I think it's going to be more of a test of my caracter than anything else.

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 123
At the risk of walking out on a limb with the cahin saw runnig...there may be some other non-union employers to consider.

(Ducks low and runs away)

Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,370
Likes: 1
Cat Servant
You've hit on a sore point, for which I have no magic answer.
Both my partner and I spent our young years working with some serious electrical equipment, but outside of the construction/ licensed electrician framework. When we went to find work, we were shunned by firms, programs, and AHJ's- as if we had spent our early years reading Playboy! Our prior, well documented training and experience were completely ignored, and somehow the apprentice programs never found either of us 'worthy.' Journeyman card, Masters' card, Contractors' lisence now- and according to one program, I'm still "progressing nicely on the list."

So my advice:
-Apply to every program you can. There's no telling which one might call. Union/Non-Union....the choice seems to be more one of chance, than any particular reason.
-Take related courses at your community college.
-Apprentice programs often work with the local college to grant college credit for their courses....this means you can take the classes at your own expense. It's your college, isn't it? Sure, you won't be in the program, but they can't say you're not getting the training!
-Different jurisdictions have differing our case, it was easier to be allowed to take the electrical contractors' test than the local journeyman test (so for a while we were working with a 'doctorate' without being allowed to try for the 'bachelors'). (And when I was finally allowed to take the local test, they used a code they had adopted two days before!)

Our backgrounds? My partner spent 20 years in the Navy, starting as an Electricians' Mate, and working his way to Captain- hitting every rank along the way. I worked in some pretty heavy industries, for a standards-writing group, and have belonged to the Inspectors' organisation longer than anybody in town. None of this experience counted. At one point, my partner held the lisence, while his employer was not legally qualified!

One employer told me age was a factor- to the horror of the trade organisation, who feared a lawsuit, and quickly insisted that he was incorrect! I literally had to spend eight years unloading trucks before my now-rusty Kleins were allowed to be used again!

No one ever said life was fair, or easy. Keep your eye on the ball, and keep on plugging away.

Some other contractors were present when I was asked how I got started. My reply was that, after I couldn't find anyone to hire me, I hired myself. Turned out to be a common reason!

Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 169

As far as score goes, why not ask the local what the lowest score that will be considered for this year. Often the score accepted goes up and down depending on the amount of work and the number of unemployed journeymen. Be persistant and reapply if you can. While you wait, work for who ever will have you. Good luck in the hunt.

[This message has been edited by russ m (edited 04-17-2005).]

Joined: Sep 2004
Posts: 19
johnb Offline OP
I'm a little hesitant to leave my current job. I work for IBM as a system support specialist. I make pretty good money and don't want to leave unless I get into the program. I figure 5 years making alot less money than i'm used to is tough enough. I realize there are no guarantees with being employed all the time but i was willing to take my chances. The union told me that i didn't need any experience but the letter I got said if i worked at least 1000 hours for a contractor they would consider that for a re interview. I could also take post secondary classes to be considered for a re interview after 1 year. I considering both. What are my chances of getting a part time job , maybe on weekends? I would work for next to nothing.

Joined: Mar 2004
Posts: 193
the letter I got said if i worked at least 1000 hours for a contractor they would consider that for a re interview

This means they want you to work a FT job for a contractor as a pre-apprentice.
In turn you would be making much less than an indentured first year app.

You may want to just stick with your current job, because pre-app.s here only make $10/hr.

I didn't know it was that hard to get in elsewhere in the country. Here in Atlanta if you can add 2 + 2 and have a pulse you get in. The program itself is not really that hard.

I would offer the nightschool route if you are serious, but could not say how much that would help in the longrun.

[This message has been edited by GA76Apprentice (edited 04-19-2005).]

"If common sense was common, everyone would have it"-not sure, someone here

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