Hi guys, I'm new to the forums and have some questions.
I know this has been discussed before, as I've read some of the archived threads about age and apprenticeships, but mine is a bit different.
I'm a 54 year old who has effectively been out of the workforce since 1991, due to a disability for major depression. I have worked some since then, but they have been in General Labor i.e. Retail, Janitorial, etc. Before 1991, I worked for 5 years in the Carpet Installation field. But basically, my work record is terrible.
BUT, it has been my desire for a long time to get into the electrical field. The work fascinates me, as I'm a guy who likes to use his head to solve problems, and I'm not afraid to get dirty.
I've done a lot of residential wiring in the past 20 years in a DIY field. In my area, I'm allowed to do unlicensed work for others while pulling permits and getting inspections. I've done a lot of studying on my own, but of course, the extent of my knowledge isn't what those of you have.
I'm not trying to gain knowledge about how to do this work so that I can apply it to a DIY job. I am wondering what you all think of my chances of being successful applying for an apprenticeship. I would have to take the math course through NJATC, and am willing to do that (the cost doesn't seem that high). But I just wonder how an EC would look at someone of my background, and if anyone could give me some tips for a good interview.
I am physically able, and am willing to do the grunt work that some of the younger guys don't seem to like: attic, crawlspace work, digging, etc. I can climb with no problems, and I feel good.
I've really been interested in this field for a long time, and I guess that's why my earlier work experience is so bad, because I've never had a job that really allowed me to use my brain.
So, opinions form ECs would be great. I'm considering applying next month for the apprenticeship though my local JATC, and would appreciate all thoughts.
Chet: First, welcome to ECN Forums from one of the Jersey guys!!!
IMHO, it's never to late to jump into anything.
I teach PT at a county Vo-Tech for entry level guys (evening classes). The classes for the last few years have consisted of a lot of 'not young' guys looking to jump into the electrical trade. They have varied backrounds, truck drivers to laborers, and the unemployed. Some stick out the whole program, a few don't return after one or two nights with me.
That said, someone with determination, who don't mind getting dirty, taking some crap, can fit in, given the right oppertunity. Keep in mind that some areas of this country are still in 'not good' shape.
Chet, Tough time to be entering the trade. In my opinion you want to be looking for a larger shop. You would be able to learn multiple styles. It will also be easier for you to fill in your gaps. Remeber to ask questions. You may find you have already formed some, for lack of better words, bad habits. Some relearning will be in order. Be flexible. Good luck there is not much work out there. You may be better off being a sub to a few contractors, if you can.
Chet, Tough time to be entering the trade. In my opinion you want to be looking for a larger shop. You would be able to learn multiple styles. It will also be easier for you to fill in your gaps. Remeber to ask questions. You may find you have already formed some, for lack of better words, bad habits. Some relearning will be in order. Be flexible. Good luck there is not much work out there. You may be better off being a sub to a few contractors, if you can. Ob
"Being a sub"... If I'm understanding the idea (subcontractor?), this idea briefly entered into my thinking, but I dismissed it as "being too ideal". Do companies actually hire subs? What are the licensing requirements, etc.? How would this go over with an EC's employees? If something like this was utilized, my thinking would be that a sub might do part of the work (such as rough-in), and the ECs would finish the job, or did you have another idea here?
What do you mean when you say: "It will also be easier for you to fill in your gaps. Remeber to ask questions. You may find you have already formed some, for lack of better words, bad habits. Some relearning will be in order."
Chet, When there more Journeyman, you could be on more jobs, learning more things. If you are with 1 you learn what he can teach you on that job only. There may only be so much for you to learn there. Bad habits you may be a ladder leaner, one whom leans a ladder against the customers wall. This is a no no on my jobs. With few exceptions. As for subing. It will depend on your area's licensing. Here if you have a pulse your an electrician. I have used many subs, as long as you keep the paperwork straight and follow the rules no worries and you get top make your own schedule. Purchasing liability insurance is a must, but you should already have a policy if you have been working.
You have another thing going for you, and that is the ability to write clearly. An ability to do paperwork may be something that you could sell someone on to hire you.
A poor previous record is hard to overcome. In the military it's said it takes one hundred atta-boys to cover up one ah sh..! It may take an extra effort on your part to show you are serious and will work hard and well. Next, own up to all your mistakes past and present, a whiner is not pitied but often despised. For me, the honest are held in high reguard.
Please note that I do not want to down trod depression for it is a terrible route, for I know several who suffer with such and hold them in highest reguard in all aspects. I have learned much from them and admire them and feel that I have an easy street to walk.