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Trades Spotlight: Electrician (Industrial)

In this Trade Spotlight we will be checking in on the Electrical trade. Electricians perform their work across multiple sectors, including: industrial, commercial and residential. This post will focus on the Industrial Electrical Trade.


Some tasks that industrial electricians often perform as part of their trade include, but are not limited to, the following:

Inspection, installation, troubleshooting, testing, repair and service of motors, generators, pumps, heavy machinery; and associated electrical and electronic controls calibration and preventive maintenance of electrical components and equipment and more.

Industrial electricians often work on industrial sites such as; mines, manufacturing facilities, airports, chemical plants, oil and gas plants, and new industrial construction sites. They will work closely with many other trades and will sometimes achieve dual certification in other fields, such as Instrumentation, HVAC or millwright.

These men and women are often required to perform work on high voltage equipment but also do a variety of low-voltage work; including control voltage. This voltage may be AC or DC and used in varying applications, such as; motors, variable frequency drives (VFDs), generators, controls, switches and more. Industrial electricians are required to understand and work within applicable safety standards and codes. Electricians must know how to use and understand the electrical code book. They must also know how to safely use the appropriate hand and power tools, along with the required testing equipment; including digital and analog meters, scopes and various testing and calibration equipment.

Safety is extremely important for industrial electricians and must be top of mind while performing any work. They may be required to perform work at heights, in confined spaces and work with a dangerous product (electricity) on a daily basis. These individuals must keep the safety of themselves and others in the forefront at all times. A faulty installation or repair could effectively put someones life at risk at any point with in the life cycle of that equipment.

Industrial electricians must possess good organizational and communication skills. They must also have the ability to distinguish colors. They require strong analytical, mathematical and problem-solving skills in order to read and interpret schematics, drawings and specifications. Electricians must be willing to continually update their skills and competencies as codes and standards change.

Employment opportunities come in a wide array of industries such as: oil and gas, textiles, pulp and paper, manufacturing, chemical, food processing, mining and much more. Other positions/careers industrial electricians may find themselves in include supervisors, planners, schedulers, superintendents, managers, inspectors or business owners/self-employed.

The industrial electrical trade has two options for certification:

The apprenticeship program; this path can be achieved in three ways.
By successfully completing the ‘Construction Electrician (Electrician) Foundation’ course at a recognized training provider, getting a sponsor and completing the final 3 years of the apprenticeship.

You may also get a sponsor without taking the foundation course, register and complete the year one apprenticeship training course. Once you have successfully completed your schooling and achieved the required 6,000 workplace hours, you will receive a Certificate of Qualification and a Certificate of Apprenticeship. You are then eligible to write the Red Seal examination and achieve inter-provincial recognition with a Red Seal Endorsement.

As a certified Construction Electrician you will receive credit for the first two years of technical training. You can then get a sponsor, complete the final two years of your apprenticeship and accumulate the required 6,000 hrs.

The challenge pathway: The challenge pathway is designed for those with industry, trade-related experience, totaling a minimum of 9,000 workplace hours. You will be required to write the Red Seal examination and upon successful completion you will receive a Certificate of Qualification with Red Seal Endorsement.

As an Industrial Electrician you are required to keep a log book documenting your work experience and competencies.