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Essential skills profile

This profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skills is generally performed by most workers in this occupation. The levels of complexity estimated for each task are ranked between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced).

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Contractors and Supervisors, Electrical Trades and Telecommunications (7202)

This unit group includes telecommunications and electrical trade contractors who own and operate their own businesses. This group also includes supervisors who supervise and co-ordinate the activities of workers classified in the following unit groups: Electricians (7241), Industrial Electricians (7242), Power System Electricians (7243), Electrical Power Line and Cable Workers (7244), Telecommunications Line and Cable Workers (7245), Telecommunications Installation and Repair Workers (7246) and Cable Television Service and Maintenance Technicians (7247). They are employed in a wide range of establishments; places of employment are indicated in the above unit group descriptions.

Reading Help - Reading
  • Read installation instructions for equipment such as light fixtures, fans and electric motors. (1)
  • Read e-mail from co-workers, colleagues and customers. For instance, maintenance supervisors at hydroelectric dams read e-mail from customers requesting modifications to work orders. (2)
  • Read equipment manuals and product description sheets for information about the installation, configuration, operation, troubleshooting and repair of electrical equipment. For example, technical operations supervisors for large telecommunications companies read equipment manuals containing text and illustrations to learn how to install wireless modems. (2)
  • Read strategic planning reports that provide insight into human resources, materials and equipment requirements for projects. (3)
  • Read safety audit reports completed by electrical team members to verify that conditions on the work site match identified safety procedures. For instance, electrical contractors of large construction companies review safety documents completed by field electricians to ensure potential hazards have been identified and appropriate controls have been implemented prior to beginning jobs. (3)
  • Read the Canadian Electrical Code when verifying that installations adhere to legislated electrical safety requirements. They require specialized knowledge to locate and apply technical information from multiple sections of the Code. They may be required to defend their interpretations to electrical inspectors. For example, electrical contractors interpret the many exceptions and exclusions contained in the Code when planning jobs. (4)
Document use Help - Document use
  • Refer to manufacturers' catalogues to check part numbers and verify the number of components required to assemble equipment. (1)
  • Read hazard labels located on electrical equipment. The labels may contain written and pictorial directions and warnings regarding installation and placement of the equipment. (1)
  • Scan workplace safety audit and quality control forms. For example, service supervisors for cable companies review quality control checklists to monitor the adherence to work code, quality of signal and client satisfaction ratings. (2)
  • Extract information from tables located in the Canadian Electrical Code, equipment manuals and product information reports. For instance, electrical contractors and supervisors scan data tables to locate wire size, conduit size and grounding requirements for jobs. (2)
  • Enter data into forms to document staff performance, resource utilization, safety concerns, customer satisfaction and material requirements. For example, contractors complete accident reports which detail dates, times, parties involved, extent of injuries, property damages incurred and possible environmental effects. (2)
  • Take measurements from scale drawings to verify locations for electrical installations. They use drawings to verify room dimensions, locate equipment and field components or identify alternate wiring options. (3)
  • Interpret graphs located in the Canadian Electric Code, equipment manuals and generated by test equipment to locate and identify electrical frequencies. For example electrical maintenance crew leaders review charts that detail the frequencies, amperages and voltages of transmission lines. (3)
  • Extract information from schematic drawings to understand the system configuration, identify component locations, diagnose problems and direct employees through the installation of electrical equipment. For example, electrical maintenance crew leaders take information from schematic drawings to ensure that high voltage repairs are sequenced correctly. (4)
Writing Help - Writing
  • Write brief reminder notes about telephone conversations, employee conflicts, quality concerns and job site requirements. (1)
  • Write status reports to track the installation, maintenance and repair of electrical equipment. They have to keep these reports up to date because the information may be required after hours and during emergency situations by technicians, co-workers and management. (2)
  • Write short e-mail to address customer concerns and co-ordinate job tasks with co-workers. (2)
  • Complete accident and incident reports. They detail the extent of injuries and damages, identify primary and secondary causes and list corrective actions taken. They have to accurately reflect all pertinent details of the accident because these reports may be used during subsequent investigations. (3)
  • May write annual employee performance evaluations. They write succinctly as promotions, training and disciplinary actions often depend on what is said in performance evaluations. Contractors may develop their own templates for evaluations but supervisors working for large companies usually follow established formats or use standard forms. (3)
Numeracy Help - Numeracy Money Math
  • May purchase supplies, tools and equipment required by crews located at job sites. (2)
  • Calculate or verify dollar amounts on invoices, purchase orders and estimates. They calculate labour costs at hourly rates and materials at dimensional rates. They may also calculate tax and discount amounts. (3)
  • May establish and monitor interim payment schedules for large projects. Payment schedules reflecting project milestones are established at the start of each project. (3)
Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math
  • Prepare weekly work schedules for employees. They allocate tradespersons, apprentices and labourers, as appropriate, across multiple projects to ensure timelines are met. (2)
  • Plan, monitor and adjust schedules for numerous projects, running concurrently, over extended periods, involving multiple crews. Complexity of the task is compounded when work progress is disrupted by external factors such as inclement weather, delays experienced by other trades, or internal factors resulting from delayed shipments, staff shortages or competing priorities. (4)
  • Plan and monitor delivery schedules to assist with the timely receipt of material and equipment by electrical crews. The timing is crucial to avoid job delays caused by late deliveries and theft resulting from goods arriving too early. For example, contractors for industrial wiring projects organize material delivery schedules so that wire is delivered for installation just as the electricians finish running the conduit. (4)
Measurement and Calculation Math
  • Measure the voltage, current flow, resistance, and signal strength of electrical circuits and networks using multimeters and signal strength meters. (1)
  • Calculate the quantity and cost of materials and supplies required for jobs. For example, for residential jobs they determine the length of wire required per room; calculate the total amount of wire required for the house and then determine the cost by calculating the required number of rolls of wire and multiplying by the cost per roll. (2)
  • Calculate the amount of electrical current required by clients. For residential and commercial construction they calculate the electrical consumption loads required, as determined by the type and number of outlets and the amps drawn by each outlet, prior to recommending the optimum amperage and capacity for control panels. For cable and telecommunications installations they calculate the signal level the subscriber's connection should be receiving from the distribution network. (2)
  • May verify the maximum load for transformers by dividing the measured resistance by the measured voltage to calculate the actual current load on the transformer. (2)
  • Use advanced math such as trigonometry, logarithmic functions and formulas. For example supervisors and contractors of industrial electricians use formulas to describe relationships between phase, voltage and current while counterparts working in the communications industry use logarithmic functions to calculate variations in signal strength. (3)
Data Analysis Math
  • May assess power variability by interpreting graphs that display frequencies, amperages and voltages in electric lines. For example, electrical maintenance crew leaders review the results of twenty-four hour charts to evaluate power bumps and spikes resulting from decreases and increases in power. (1)
  • Compare the time required for crews to complete tasks with industrial averages. For example, in the telecommunications industry, supervisors identify opportunities for productivity improvement by comparing the actual time required for installing network cables to established standards. (2)
  • Analyze project reports to forecast staffing requirements for new projects. They compare the original proposal to actual project staffing allocations. They determine the average rates of task completion, absenteeism, turnover and health and safety requirements. (3)
  • Consolidate data from labour, material and performance reports to improve quality assurance standards and practices. For example, technical operations supervisors interpret, evaluate and draw conclusions from data presented in graphs, spreadsheets and completed forms to identify staffing requirements and assess service quality. (3)
  • Collect and analyze production data to establish average material and labour costs. They include factors such as time of year, experience of crew members, complexity and time frame expectations in their analysis. (3)
Numerical Estimation
  • Estimate the physical dimensions of work areas. For example, during site inspections, telecommunications supervisors estimate the length of the cable wires that have been installed to ensure that norms have been adhered to. (1)
  • Estimate the degree of adjustment required to fine-tune equipment. For example, electrical maintenance crew leaders estimate reset values for programmable logic controllers located on process equipment. (2)
  • Estimate the labour, materials and time requirements for jobs by considering the project scope, availability and experience of crews, environmental factors and time required to locate and receive required parts. (3)
  • Estimate the degree of risk associated with jobs by reviewing the design, construction materials and associated labour requirements. They estimate the degree of uncertainty and adjust the profit margin accordingly. (3)
Oral communication Help - Oral communication
  • Discuss work with crew members. For example, they receive information and provide direction to field crews to identify and resolve problems using the telephone. (1)
  • Discuss the purchase of new equipment with suppliers. They may negotiate delivery dates, trial periods, group discounts and staggered payment terms. (2)
  • Negotiate the scope of work with customers. They may suggest extending the duration of service agreements, encourage the tendering of multiple contracts into larger agreements or seek additional areas in which they may be of service. (2)
  • Interact with co-workers, contractors and project managers to review work to date, monitor timelines, discuss problems, implement proposed solutions and negotiate contract revisions. (2)
  • May contact inspectors to seek assistance with the interpretation of code regulations. For example, an electrical contractor may ask for an inspector's input on different approaches to routing electrical conduit around obstacles to meet electrical code requirements. (3)
  • Lead and facilitate meetings with team members on topics such as work accidents, changes to safety procedures, scheduling and training for new equipment. (3)
  • May discuss technical process and personnel related matters with management. They share successes the teams have delivered, discuss problems that have occurred and provide justification for resource allocations. (3)
Thinking Help - Thinking Problem Solving
  • Receive property damage complaints from customers. They visit work sites to inspect damages and discuss the allegations with workers. If the complaints are substantiated, they negotiate appropriate settlements with customers to maintain good relations. (2)
  • Respond to calls from crew members indicating equipment required to do their jobs have stopped working. They guide the crews through a series of tests and diagnostics to isolate the cause of equipment failures and may read manuals or contact manufacturers for assistance. For example, supervisors in electrical distribution centres assist crews to identify faults in transformers. Telecommunications supervisors recognize failures in smart switches and routers. (2)
  • May discover job sites are not ready when crews arrive. They contact the customers and contractors to understand the cause of the delays, identify revised start and completion dates and shift crew members to other job sites. (2)
  • Encounter dissention in the work place and conflicts between employees. They meet with those involved, identify the causes of the conflicts, emphasize that disruptive behaviours will not be tolerated and explore options to prevent unpleasantness in the future. For example, They may separate the disruptive workers for a few days and slowly bring them back onto the same teams. (3)
  • May encounter customers that are dissatisfied with the service or installations provided. They discuss the concerns with the employees who did the work, review the service records to identify relevant history and formulate strategies to address the customers' concerns. This may involve shifting of crews or providing additional technical and interpersonal training. (3)
Decision Making
  • Decide which tools and equipment may be borrowed by electrical team members. They are held responsible for the tools in case of loss or breakage and therefore approve equipment loans on a case-by-case basis. (1)
  • Decide which vacation and personal leave applications to approve. They consider submission dates, past requests, seniority, work performance and operational demands. (2)
  • Decide which courses to include in training plans for electrical technicians. They may review past in-house sessions and refer to calendars from community colleges and technical institutes to identify appropriate courses. They consider individual training needs and operational requirements prior to making their decisions. (2)
  • May decide if electrical distribution panels have the capacity to accommodate proposed system expansions. They review schematics ratings and specifications of panels, and applicable sections of the Canadian Electric Code when making their decisions. (3)
  • Decide to bid on upcoming work. They consider the profit potential, number of competitors, past experience with the customers and the abilities of their teams to meet job requirements prior to initiating the bid process. (3)
  • Choose individuals and crews for particular jobs. They are guided by their knowledge of workers' abilities and preferences which have been demonstrated on past jobs. Changing crews in the middle of a job is inefficient and often leads to mistakes so it is important for contractors and supervisor to select the right workers for the job at the start of the work. (3)
Critical Thinking
  • Evaluate employees by considering their abilities, temperaments and work histories. (2)
  • Evaluate workplace safety. For example, certified crew leaders review safety records, tour worksites, assess the level of compliance with agreed upon standards and recommend corrective actions if required. (3)
Job Task Planning and Organizing Own Job Planning and Organizing

Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunication occupations are responsible for establishing their own task priorities and setting their own job schedules. Their schedules are disrupted frequently by demands from clients, employees, suppliers and other trades. They must anticipate and respond quickly to conflicting demands and changing priorities.

Planning and Organizing for Others

Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunication occupations plan and schedule the activities of the employees they supervise. They assign employees to various projects to complete specific task within specified periods of time. Employees may be assigned to work on multiple projects on any given day. Contractors set goals and strategic directions for their enterprises.

Significant Use of Memory
  • Remember details of previous jobs including preferences, special equipment, and distinctive personalities, particularly those that presented challenges.
  • Remember the locations of tables, graphs and procedures contained in manuals or code books.
  • Remember the names and contact information for suppliers.
  • Remember commonly used safety standards and repair procedures avoiding time wastage when locating and interpreting codes and procedures.
Finding Information
  • Review notes, sketches, drawings, photos, historical files and supplier information for information about large contracts. For example, electrical contractors for large construction jobs must assimilate information contained in a wide variety of documents to identify job requirements. (2)
  • Locate and integrate business and industry information from sources such as web sites, magazines, bulletins in order to provide timely updates. For example, technical operations supervisors read trouble call reports and corporate strategy documents to be able to relay timely information to field technicians. (3)
  • Gather information about electrical and electronic equipment from a wide range of manuals, code books, drawings and schematics to ensure that installation and repair tasks are carried out safely and efficiently. For example, electrical maintenance crew leaders seek information from electrical codebooks, safety regulations, and schematic drawings of electrical and power systems to ensure the power shutdown sequence is safe and effective. (4)
Digital technology Help - Digital technology
  • Use word processing. For example, they draft letters, faxes, incident reports and performance evaluations, often using pre-formatted templates. (2)
  • Use databases. For example, they use databases to record and organize project, inventory, employee and supplier data. For example, contractors use databases to look up customers' histories and retrieve data about the number and size of past jobs, previous complaints and payment history, prior to responding to complaints. (2)
  • Use communications software. For example, they exchange e-mail and attachments with customers, other contractors, suppliers and co-workers. (2)
  • Use the Internet. For example, they search the Internet to locate products, suppliers, equipment manuals, procedures and specifications. (2)
  • Use spreadsheets. For example, they create and input data into spreadsheets to collect and analyze a variety of operational data. They may use spreadsheets to track job changes, cross reference expenditures and forecast staffing requirements. (3)
Additional information Help - Additional information Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications are required to work both independently and closely with other team members. They work independently when assessing job requirements, planning and scheduling work, conducting safety audits and monitoring and reporting on the progress of jobs. They work closely with team members to adjust work schedules, coordinate work with contractors and tradespeople and identify and provide training. (3)

Continuous Learning

Contractors and supervisors, electrical trades and telecommunications are generally responsible for assessing their own learning needs, setting goals, identifying modes of learning and applying learning to job. They learn on the job, by reading and by taking job-specific training and short courses offered by employers, industry associations, unions and equipment suppliers. For example, they may take training courses for first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation; workplace hazardous materials information system awareness, supervisory strategies and electrical code revisions. Contractors have sole responsibility for setting learning goals and choosing learning methods for themselves and their employees. (2)

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