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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone.

I've just joined, specifically to get some feedback about going to trade school to become an electrician at age 55.

I spent most of my career in maintenance management. At first, for a few years, at a nuclear research facility, and more than 20 years with a university facilities management department as a manager in charge of the CMMS and working with the different shops to establish related work order tracking procedures and preventive maintenance programs. I was laid off in 2015 and have been unable to find work in my areas of experience and expertise in my province, Newfoundland & Labrador.

I've always been interested in electricity, from first year university physics classes. I am really hoping it's not too late in life to get trained, compete an apprenticeship, and have a career.

I'll be posting in more detail about this in a separate post elsewhere after I ask the admins where best to post.


Looking forward to learning as much as possible.

All the best,

--
Tim
 

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Small Potatoes
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5,460 Posts
Not a mod, but I would suggest posting in...

General Electrical Discussion or...
Electrician Apprentice Forum

The "Am I too old to become an electrician" topic has come up more then a few times on ET. Opinions are many and varied.

I think if you have a strong enough burning passion for something and have a "never give up mentality" you can become pretty much anything in life. However, you may encounter a physical or a legal limitation.

I'd love to be an NBA basketball player, but at 5'6" and 67 years old that probably isn't very likely. On the days I'm not playing basketball, I'd like to fly the left seat of an A380 for a major airline, but the airlines have a mandatory retirement age of 65.

Frankly, back when I was 55 and almost 10 years since I wore a tool belt, I wondered how I would physically do it if I ever had to go back to being an electrician.

Anyway, if you do want a career as an electrican, I would pay particular attention to the field of electricity you go into and to what extent it will impact you physically.

Also know that you may have some difficulty in landing a job.

Good luck!
 

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Hackenschmidt
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11,352 Posts
I'd just take a very close look at whether trade school is a good investment of your time and money. In many cases in the US, it is not, and that's for kids at age 25 with decades to pay it off. In the US, pay is all over the place, and in many, many situations trade school is of no value.

Take a close look whether you're going to be able to adapt to the physical demands of the work. I wouldn't rule anything out automatically, different types of electrical work has much different physical demand, and different people are much different in their ability to do the work, or adapt to the work. I'm an old dog and still hanging in there, knock on wood.
 

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Banned
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39,205 Posts
Yes, you are too old.

Can you do it? Sure. But it will be very hard and you will have many more hurdles than all the others, many of which don't make it.

If you had said astronaut, I would have said to go for it, because at least that is a great goal to have. Being an electrician is not worth all the extra work.

Think about what happens if you fail... Time is the most important thing to you right now, and you would have wasted it all.

I would find another goal, one in which having an older and more mature person would be benefit.
 

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Light Bender
plumber
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6,320 Posts
I'd just take a very close look at whether trade school is a good investment of your time and money. In many cases in the US, it is not, and that's for kids at age 25 with decades to pay it off. In the US, pay is all over the place, and in many, many situations trade school is of no value.

Not sure about how it’s done in the OP’s province but in Ontario, just like our healthcare, trade school is payed for by our government. ( You need to buy books and pay a very small tuition ($500-700 per term) but compared to taking other courses, it’s practically free)
The only catch is you can not sign up your self. You must be registered as an apprentice which can only be accomplished if you are working for an EC. You can not do electrical work legally unless you are registered as an apprentice or a licenced journeyman.

Also it is of high value here because you can not become a journeyman unless you take the schooling, do the required hours and then pass the National Red Seal test.
 

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Hackenschmidt
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I don't know if it would be possible in the Canadian system, but if you were lucky enough to find an electrical contractor that needs your maintenance manager experience, you might be able to work something out to find someone to sponsor your schooling. Maybe a smaller contractor growing into bigger commercial / institutional work.
 

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The vast bulk of electrical apprentices are tasked with new construction.

You would be very unhappy there. You'd be their grandfather, socially.

Try office work, working the phones, phoning for sales, managing an office... and so forth.

You want a slot that you can drop straight into. Something that requires no further formal education.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Lol

Isn't the capital of Newfoundland Ft. McMurray?

Seriously, I don't think the job prospects for apprentices is that great in Newfoundland and a 55 year old apprentice is going to have a really hard time.

Thanks for your views. And :vs_laugh: on the Fort Mac. Never been there myself, though I know a great many folks who have. :smile:


All the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Although I've thanked some individual posts, I am grateful for all the responses here; thank you all so much. I think most of you have confirmed my own fears that the answer to my question, in the words of Pink Floyd, "am I too old, is it too late", is yes.

Unfortunately, my difficulty is that throughout my service at the university, I did very well, but near the end, long time difficulties with getting someone to cooperate came to a head. Things like financial information and data sharing of outside contracts and purchases in the work order system (so trades supervisors and even the individual carpenters, electricians, plumbers, controls, etc could better review actual maintenance history). In retrospect I am sure she was being corrupt and hiding things but I tend to be pretty trusting and naive. Not blameless, I'm sure I could have handled it better, too. Although I was let go with a bunch of others at the time of diving oil prices and they gave me a really excellent severance, I am pretty sure the struggles with this person are related by the HR folks who are contacted about my 20 years of working there.

It's why I'm trying to start from scratch.

All the best, and again, I very much appreciate the feedback.
--
Tim
 

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Are you too old? It depends on the individual.
My Grandfather had a barn with stone foundation walls pushing in. At age 71 he dug out the foundation walls by hand on three sides, 2 feet wide and nine feet deep for about 100 feet. It took him two years. He used a pick, shovel and wheelbarrow. He lived until he was 87.
 

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Welcome
This is a great place to learn, so start by browsing some of the areas that interest you to start your learning path. When you ask a question please give as much information as you can, and you will get a more professional response. When you ask a question without details we are not mind readers and people will let you know. It is part of the trade to be tough skinned but it is one of the most tight nit trades there is. Also if you post a question please come back and give us the outcome, allot of original posters never tell us the outcome.
Good luck
Cowboy
P.S. Harry/Blackdog says Welcome.
 
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