How Essential Skills Profiles can help you!
The essential skills profiles can:
- Help determine, based on skill sets, which career may best suit a particular individual.
- Assist job seekers to write a résumé or prepare for a job interview.
- Help employers to create a job posting.
Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as 'building blocks' because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Construction electricians lay out, assemble, install, test, troubleshoot and repair electrical wiring, fixtures, control devices and related equipment in buildings and other structures.
- Read instructions and warnings written on signs, labels and packaging,
e.g. read labels on electrical panels to learn about electrical shock hazards.
- Read text entries on forms and technical drawings, e.g. read comments
on technical drawings to learn about changes to the placement of light fixtures.
- Read notices and bulletins, e.g. read notices from workers' compensation
boards to learn about workplace hazards and incidents. (2)
- Read a variety of instructions and procedures, e.g. read step-by-step
instructions for the installation of light fixtures and electric heaters. (2)
- Read safety related information, e.g. read safety rules and regulations
governing fall protection and other hazards. (3)
- Read trade journals, brochures and website articles to learn about new
products and stay up-to-date on new technology. (3)
- Read a variety of manuals to learn how to lay out, assemble, install,
test, troubleshoot and repair electrical installations, such as high voltage
systems and power distribution centres. (3)
- Read and interpret electrical codes, standards and regulations, e.g.
read codes issued by regulatory committees, associations, safety code councils
and municipal and provincial governments to learn how to complete electrical
installations and repairs. (4)
- Read labels on product packaging, equipment, drawings and panels to
locate specifications, voltages, safety information and identification numbers.
- View meters and digital readouts, e.g. scan electrical readings to determine
the operating conditions of electrical apparatuses, such as variable frequency
- Study checklists, e.g. study worksite procedure checklists to locate
emergency contact information, voltages and other information about conditions
that are unique to individual work sites. (2)
- Complete a variety of forms, e.g. enter data, such as dates, identification
numbers, times, specifications and costs, to complete work orders and permits.
- Locate data, such as specifications, classifications and material coefficients,
in complex tables, e.g. interpret Canadian Electrical Code specification tables
to locate the size of wire needed in relation to the length of runs and the
draws of electrical fixtures. (3)
- Study a variety of mechanical and architectural drawings, e.g. study
drawings to plan the placement of equipment and the routing of electrical and
control wiring. (4)
- Study complex schematic drawings, e.g. study wiring schematics for details
about circuits, capacities, flows and the location of electrical fixtures to
install, assemble and repair electrical installations. (4)
- Write short comments in log books and journals, e.g. write short comments
in journals to record why tasks were not completed. (1)
- Write longer texts in forms, e.g. write details about installations
in change orders. (2)
- May write reports to describe events leading up to workplace accidents,
e.g. write about injuries and events when completing reports for workers'
compensation boards. (2)
- May write detailed descriptions of installation and repair procedures.
- Take a variety of measurements using basic tools, e.g. measure distances
between electrical boxes and floors. (1)
- Compare measurements of energy, dimensions, speed, temperature and torque
to specifications, e.g. compare electrical readings to standard or required
specifications found in operating and installation manuals. (1)
- Compare production statistics to targets to determine adherence to schedules
and timelines. (1)
- May calculate expense claims by totaling the costs for meals, accommodation
and travel. (2)
- Schedule the completion of tasks by considering project scopes, deadlines,
lead times and the availability of labour and parts. (2)
- Calculate electrical requirements, e.g. calculate current flows, resistances
and voltages to select transformers and troubleshoot their faults. (2)
- Calculate summary measures, e.g. calculate the average amount of power
required for commercial buildings. (2)
- Estimate times and materials required for projects, e.g. consider project
scopes and the times and materials needed for similar projects in the past.
- May calculate amounts for estimates and invoices. They multiply hours
worked by labour rates and add amounts for parts, materials, supplies and applicable
- Take precise measurements using specialized measuring instruments, e.g.
use calipers to measure the inside and outside diameters of connectors. (3)
- Analyze multiple energy readings to evaluate electrical system functions
and troubleshoot faults, e.g. use electrical measurements at several points
in the circuit to analyze circuit operation. (3)
- Calculate offsets, e.g. use vectors and trigonometric constants to calculate
saddles and angles of non-standard bends. (4)
- Speak to suppliers to learn about products, prices and delivery schedules.
- May use two-way radios to communicate with workers at different worksite
- Exchange information with co-workers and other tradespeople, e.g. talk
with co-workers about project requirements and with other tradespeople, such
as plumbers, to coordinate activities and schedules. (2)
- Talk to safety and building inspectors about regulations and items that
may not be in compliance with code. (2)
- Participate in meetings, e.g. discuss safety issues and procedures during
crew meetings. (2)
- Speak with customers to learn about equipment faults, explain procedures,
answer questions and address complaints, e.g. explain how electrical permits
are obtained. (3)
- Exchange technical repair and troubleshooting information with apprentices,
co-workers, colleagues and manufacturers, e.g. discuss electrical fault troubleshooting
strategies with apprentices. (3)
- Interact with co-workers regarding critical safety issues, e.g. exchange
opinions about the best ways to perform dangerous tasks when completing complex
- Exchange information with engineers, owners, architects, inspectors
and other trades to ensure that work can meet scheduling and code requirements.
- Encounter technical drawings with missing specifications and errors.
They report the missing specifications and errors to customers and supervisors
and complete other tasks until the missing information is acquired and errors
are corrected. (1)
- Decide order of tasks and their priorities, e.g. decide which electrical
installations to complete first. (1)
- Encounter obstacles to the installation of equipment and the routing
of wires and cables. They search for alternative routes and review scale drawings.
- Are unable to meet deadlines due to heavy workloads. They organize job
tasks by priority, enlist the help of co-workers and work overtime. (2)
- Choose methods and materials for projects. They consider project specifications,
electrical codes, costs and the availability of parts and supplies. (2)
- May set fees for services, such as installations, repairs and inspections.
They consider the services to be performed, fees charged by competing electricians
and factors, such as market demand and the size of their existing customer base.
- Evaluate the safety of work sites. They observe elements, such as available
space to manoeuvre around construction sites, the presence of guardrails and
the availability of safety equipment, such as fire extinguishers. They take
note of other potential hazards, such as improperly stored tools, broken equipment
and confined spaces. (2)
- May evaluate the performance of apprentices. They consider apprentices'
abilities to complete electrical installations and diagnose and troubleshoot
- Locate project specifications by referring to technical drawings and
the Canadian Electrical Code book and by speaking with customers, other tradespeople
and supervisors. (2)
- Refer to brochures and search Internet sites for information about new
products or techniques. (2)
- Learn about safe work practices by attending safety meetings and by
reading safety manuals and Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System
(WHMIS) materials. (2)
- Face disruptions of work schedules, timelines and budgets when specifications
are changed after projects have already started. They assist in the development
of new specifications and perform other work until the projects are restarted.
- May select equipment and suppliers, e.g. decide which brand and type
of equipment to use on projects by considering specifications, costs, ease of
use and personal preferences. (3)
- Evaluate the quality of their work. They compare measurements and electrical
readings to specifications and physically inspect elements, such as wiring,
panels and junction boxes. (3)
- Evaluate the performance of electrical installations and systems. They
compare data readings to normal ranges and manufacturers' specifications.
They evaluate the condition of equipment for signs of defects, such as unusual
vibrations, odours and energy readings. (3)
- Plan and organize their workday to complete work assignments. If they
have to wire an area, they need to plan where to begin, i.e. either with the
wiring first or installing the boxes or plugs. They plan efficient use of resources
so they have the necessary materials delivered and available on time to complete
the job. This involves making as few trips as possible from the job to the service
truck for tools and materials. (3)
- Plan efficient work methods, when tasks are repetitive, such as making
a jig to produce multiples quickly. Because larger projects involve other trades,
they may have to revise their work plans to integrate them with the work plans
of others. (3)
- Learn how to troubleshoot and repair difficult electrical faults by
reading manuals, studying electrical schematics, accessing information on web
forums and blogs and by speaking with co-workers, other tradespeople, electrical
engineers and manufacturers. (3)
- May use calculators and personal digital assistant (PDA) devices to
complete numeracy-related tasks, such as calculating material requirements.
- Use hand-held electronic devices like oscilloscopes and multimeters
to locate operational data, such as electrical readings. (1)
- May use word processing software to write letters to customers, prepare
job estimates and generate invoices. (2)
- May use spreadsheet software to track inventory and tally costs for
job estimates and invoices. (2)
- May use billing and accounting software to produce invoices and estimates
and print reports, such as income and expense statements. (2)
- May use communication software to exchange email with customers, suppliers
and help desk technicians. (2)
- May use the Internet to access training courses and seminars offered
by training institutions, unions, suppliers, associations and employers. (2)
- Use Internet browsers and search engines to access technical service
bulletins, electrical codes, specifications and troubleshooting guides. (2)
- May access online articles posted by suppliers, manufacturers and associations
to stay current on industry trends and practices. (2)
- May use the Internet to access and share information on industry related
web forums and blogs. (2)
- May install and service heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC)
control systems. (3)
- May install and service programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to control
the speed and output of machinery. (3)
Working with Others
Depending on the situation, construction electricians work with a co-worker or in a team of construction electricians assigned to complete installations in a particular area. Large construction sites involve the services of several other building trades. Conflicting priorities occur; however, all have a stake in working safely and efficiently. Construction electricians work primarily with other construction electricians but may also interact with a wide variety of workers including apprentices, supervisors, owners' representatives, architects, engineers, inspectors and suppliers.
Because the electrical code is updated regularly, construction electricians are expected to continue to learn and become familiar with changing code requirements. They must also keep up-to-date with changes in technology, such as computer controls or programmable logic controllers (PLCs). Also, fibre optics and data cables are becoming more widely used and trained installers are in demand. Construction electricians enroll in scheduled classes offered by the union, employers, wholesalers, manufacturers or distributors and may also take continuing education classes at their own expense. Some written material is available for self-study.
Impact of Digital Technology
All essential skills are affected by the introduction of technology in the workplace. Construction electricians' ability to adapt to new technologies is strongly related to their skill levels across the essential skills, including reading, writing, thinking and communication skills. Technologies are transforming the ways in which workers obtain, process and communicate information, and the types of skills needed to perform in their jobs. Construction electricians will increasingly rely on digital skills to install, troubleshoot and repair electrical installations. Workers, who are self-employed, will also increasingly rely on communication, word processing, spreadsheet and accounting software to communicate with customers and track revenues and expenses. Digital technology also provides these workers with tools, such as cellular telephones, which increase opportunities for verbal interaction and can improve workplace safety. For example, workers can access customers, supervisors and medical assistance from their jobsite using their cellular telephones.
Technology in the workplace further affects the complexity of tasks related to the essential skills required for this occupation. Workers need the skills to use increasingly complex software applications. For example, workers may need to install and service heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) control systems, or programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to control the speed and output of machinery. Digital technology can also affect the complexity of numeracy-related tasks. For example, workers can calculate costs, material requirements, conversions, electrical resistance, volumes, rates and offsets using Web-based applications and hand-held devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs).