Results 1 to 10 of 10

Thread: Experience vs Qualifications. Which is more important

  1. #1
    Silver Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2021
    Location
    Orania
    Posts
    222
    Thanks
    11
    Thanked 21 Times in 19 Posts

    Experience vs Qualifications. Which is more important

    Friends, brothers and electricians I have been pondering the past few weeks about this topic with a bitterness in my heart, hope it doesn't sound like I'm ranting when I explain my predicament.
    5 guys study the same material, write the same tests and do the same practical tests.
    All 5 guys are lucky, and they pass with flying colours but two of the students get a lessor qualification because the one chose the wrong subjects 20 years ago at school and the other did not pass maths with flying colours 20 years ago at school.
    Does sound unfair? Well, it happened to me, let me explain.
    I wanted to become an electrician and did a lot of electrical work, single and three phase work.
    I had enough electrical experience and 7 years of qualifying experience and went for my red seal.
    I did the same theoretical and practical tests as the other students in the class and passed every test with flying colours. After the exams I was told there was a problem with my school qualifications of 20 years ago and I can't be an Installation Electrician but I can become a Single Phase Tester.
    I was disappointed but happy to be a qualified electrician.
    Now my question is this: "Was the purpose of the exam not to test your understanding of the subject matter and to determine if your experience was sufficient to do the work?"
    Suddenly qualifications became more important than knowledge and Experience. Is it not supposed to be the other way round?
    I am now at a point where I question the way qualifications are handed out and ponder if a person with qualifications is really qualified to do the work or not?
    Please enlighten me.
    Greetings

  2. #2
    Full Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Durbanville
    Posts
    32
    Thanks
    36
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
    I am an Installation electrician with a lesser school qualification, i passed with an A in all my electrical subjects as well as trade test, but got 70% plus for my wiremans after school.
    I think you should be an inst. elect or even Master depending on your pass marks for the test.
    And yes people with lesser qualifications with experience does a better job than the one with more tech qualifications. so sorry to say but i had a lot of appy's that had a 70 plus pass rate but when they came for practical training , they never even held a screwdriver in their hands and was told to start using a battery drill to put screws in a board. That is why they do not get a job outside - had it too easy.

  3. #3
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Fourways
    Posts
    742
    Thanks
    119
    Thanked 34 Times in 33 Posts
    I have some opinions on this too but for my side I got all the marks from high school as wanted to be a mechanical engineer. Things happened with family so studying went out the bag and had to work in the family business.

    Time passes and I finally call a quits and go into being a sparky, love the stuff.

    But I have the qualifications but the "bare minimum" of practical.

    I am definitely one for more practical and being a bit smart between the ears help so you can work to Sans and do safe things and not just "this is how it's done and not sure why attitude".

    So In a nut shell I find experience better, the right experience,

    Sent from my CPH2197 using Tapatalk

  4. #4
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Fourways
    Posts
    742
    Thanks
    119
    Thanked 34 Times in 33 Posts
    To add I was one of the lucky ones to get a learnership and do the years however employment became a situation as jobs didn't work through (before the solar boom of sorts).

    So I ended up having to start my own thing. So sure I have learnt a hell of a lot ok my ace but if I was employed longer etc I would have learnt a lot more and quicker.

    Also side note, due to just my experience I think the trades will soon become top paying graft as no one does it or cares about it to do it properly.

    Sent from my CPH2197 using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    1,905
    Thanks
    54
    Thanked 93 Times in 89 Posts
    I went into standard 8, my choice of subject was the worst, Art and some other stupid subjects, I managed to scrape through with a bare minimum pass, went into std 9 and decided the school education thing wasn't for me.

    I told my father that I would go to night school and study ( I had no intention of furthering my studies) so he let me leave school in the first term of std 9, with crap subjects.

    I got a job working as a trade hand working on the railways installing and maintaining overhead 3.3 kv and 6.6 kv lines, life was great. Back in the eighties, just turned 16, my first month salary was R1000, which was R300 more than a qualified artisan working on the railways was earning back then. Life was great, life couldn't get any better, a great bunch of lads working the teams. out in the sun everyday working in shorts with a tool lad and 2 steppies lads.

    One day our supervisor called me into his office and informed me that with immediate affect, I was no longer allowed to travel to site in the trucks, I was told that the older guys (I was the youngest 16 the next youngest person was 38) were a bad influence on me. I had to travel with him to site everyday in his truck, that was just so boring.

    A couple of weeks went by and I was told that I would not be going to site, instead I would going to apply for an apprenticeship, I wasn't keen, but didn't really have a choice the supervisor wasn't a small oke and didn't take crap from anyone.

    The following year I was sitting in the appy school very unhappy, from R1000 per month working out in the sun, I was stuck in shyte hole earning R84 per months because I only had a std 8, if you had a matric, you earned a lot more.

    You think you got short changed, it took me about 7 years to qualify as an electrician.

    I started as an appy, 6 months later I was off to do 2 years national service, 4 months basics, then off to the border, went up in 83 and came home for the first time in Jan 85 (ops askari, then JMC, then off to Opuwa for a couple months.....)

    spent 6 months in the appy school, then off to the army again for 3 month camps, then back to the appy school then off to tech, back to army and so it carried on, until eventually I went to olifantsfontein to do my trade test, passed first time as an all round electrician, both construction and maintenance.

    You had to have a minimum of a N3 with the 4 correct subjects to qualify, then it back to night school to study to become an installation electrical, then had to get practical experience, a pile documents including a letter from our priest to apply to the chief inspector for my yellow card.

    I worked the construction industry, both commercial and industrial to gain experience (back then I was paid R10 per hour as a qualified sparkie)

    Then one day I heard the rules had changed and if you wanted to become an MIE (master installation electrician), you had to get at least an N4, so it was back to tech, failed math (14%) just couldn't get that trig stuff, went back to night school and did it again, this time with a good teacher, cracked it with 80%.

    Then it was back to night school again this time to study to become and MIE, only 2 of us passed the exam. Then had to get years of experience in the various fields before I could apply for my red card.

    Even though I have been self employed for over 30 years I am still hands on everyday.

    What is my take on experience VS qualifications, If I could go back and complete N6 with additional subjects, I would.

    I have many many years of hands on experience, but feel I am lacking when it comes to qualifications.

    Any fool can pull wire, do a bit of maintenance for 50 years and think they are smart, I thought I knew everything, until I started doing power quality analysing, thermography, control system designs and complex fault finding with devices like a Fluke 435 which requires a level of competence (Qualifications) way above my pay grade. I have been humbled on many occasions by much smarter people with better qualifications and less experience than I have. I have a bad habit of acting really dumb to expose people who try baffle people with bullshyte, it makes for some really interesting meeting/investigations

    What makes a good electrician/technician/installer is one who has a combination of both experience and qualifications, you pretty useless without the one or other.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  6. Thanks given for this post:

    Gene (07-Feb-24)

  7. #6
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    1,905
    Thanks
    54
    Thanked 93 Times in 89 Posts
    For the record, most of my construction experience was taught to me by labourers who had been working in the construction industry for many years, they were really good at what they did, but lacked qualifications.

    What is lacking in the electrical industry is training, qualifications and time spent with a skilled qualified artisan.

    I see it everyday when I am on site, especially the larger sites. what is lacking is the simple things, like knowing the difference between a PZ and PH screwdriver, we wont even go into the complex ones. As silly as it sounds, that people is the reality of working on a site.

    Where you see a difference, when it comes to minor complications.

    What I would do if I wanted to improve the industry, I would find old school sparkies and set them free amongst the youngsters and let them guide them

    Just think if I was a member of the ECA for example, they could let me loose in the training center on a Saturday morning and share knowledge and experience, or even better, offer a service at a slightly increased yearly rate to let us older generation sparkies got onto site and just help the guys who wan to learn work with them even if it is just a couple hours.

    My mentor takes the time out every weekend, to do lectures, he said it is his way of giving back to the industry.

    I am getting on in life, my coffin is almost full of nails, it is going to be a pity going to rest with all this knowledge in my head, without sharing it.

    I wish I could find a youngster (who wants to work hard) to come and work with me so that I can teach them everything I can and hopefully one day take over the business. I was hoping my son would take over, however he has chosen a different path.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  8. Thanks given for this post:

    Gene (07-Feb-24)

  9. #7
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Fourways
    Posts
    742
    Thanks
    119
    Thanked 34 Times in 33 Posts
    I wish I started this journey much before getting married and child and all, would give my back teeth to work with you and get the knowledge you have and experience.

    It's not only you, I feel there are a lot of the oldies with an extreme amount of knowledge taking it to the grave.

    Looking to get my vat and Sars kak sorted to then join ECA to try and get more knowledge etc that way.

    My old boss is another greatly experienced person which does help a lot. High voltage trained in the UK and his passion for electricity and doing the right thing is amazing. So very fortunate to have him in my apprenticeship days. But again the work we did when I was there was limited to residential and a bit of commercial.

    I phone him nearly every second week and like wise he phones me and we discuss things to try help each other out, so on that front I am lucky but many many people are not.

    Sent from my CPH2197 using Tapatalk

  10. #8
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2020
    Location
    Fourways
    Posts
    742
    Thanks
    119
    Thanked 34 Times in 33 Posts
    100% in my eyes qualified knows all from motors to HV articulation and operation.

    However qualified now means you can parrot fashion a text book and apply some logic, and then trade test you can bend some plastic and know how to tone cables.

    I am the one who got the qualifications and obviously experience but not to the tune to know motors 100% and all that.

    I get extra learning,CPD, from YouTube, Google and this forum.

    The amount of people who get the qualifications and don't care to learn more is scary

    Sent from my CPH2197 using Tapatalk

  11. Thanks given for this post:

    Gene (11-Feb-24)

  12. #9
    Diamond Member Blurock's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Durban
    Posts
    4,149
    Thanks
    758
    Thanked 883 Times in 732 Posts
    Blog Entries
    7
    I think the answer is clear.
    You want someone to do the job, not someone to tell you how to do the job.
    There are so many false diplomas and degrees in our corrupt world today that I will be weary to appoint someone who does not have a proven track record.
    Excellence is not a skill; its an attitude...

  13. #10
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2022
    Location
    South Africa
    Posts
    1,905
    Thanks
    54
    Thanked 93 Times in 89 Posts
    When I started this business many years ago I still needed a lot of experience.

    How I got to learn very quickly, I offer my services to anyone, domestic, commercial and industrial with a catch, if I cannot identify and repair the fault, there is no charge, still to this day.

    I messed up a while back, used cheap components for a project, I spent my Christmas and new year replacing the entire system at my cost, I lost around R30 000.00. The amount of work I have been awarded since that little fiasco, from that customer and all his customers and friends makes the R30k look like pennies.

    No matter how many qualifications or time served, I will still learn new things literally everyday.

    A good example watching a youtube video last night, I saw a tip for finding the tape end, you know when you wrap tape around a wire pull and you break the tape, when it gets to the other side you try find that end, man it is a mission. This tip shows you how to end the tape, once it gets the other side you just roll your finger over the tape and it comes loose.

    I have even tried folding it over, but that doesn't always work.

    At the end of the day I would rather be a young person with a few qualification and little experience but a passion to learn, than a qualified person with a lot of experience who thinks they know everything.

    This platform offers a wide range qualifications and experience, but more important is the willingness from everyone to share. We may not agree on everything, but we all respect each others input.
    Comments are my opinion, unless regulations are attached to support the comment. This is social media, not a court room.

  14. Thank given for this post:

    Blurock (12-Feb-24), Derlyn (10-Feb-24)

Similar Threads

  1. Qualifications verified
    By madscot in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 21-Jun-23, 06:00 AM
  2. SETA QUALIFICATIONS
    By Sparks in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 06-Mar-21, 08:31 AM
  3. NQF: are your qualifications listed??
    By Citizen X in forum General Chat Forum
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 25-Feb-21, 10:20 AM
  4. SA qualifications
    By ericlowry in forum Electrical Contracting Industry Forum
    Replies: 10
    Last Post: 19-Aug-13, 06:25 PM

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Did you like this article? Share it with your favourite social network.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •