Are you still undecided about which apprenticeship you would like to do after school? Then do what Lino did….
…and get up on the roof. During a taster session, you’ll experience at first hand what it’s like to be a solar installer and whether the job is right for you. Here, Lino reports on his experiences and impressions as a taster apprentice.
No two days are the same
It’s 7 a.m. and Lino arrives at his taster session at CKW. He’s given a warm welcome by Samuel. The 25-year-old trained electrician works as a plumber and service technician. Together with Bahar, who is also a qualified installation electrician, they prepare the materials for today’s installation: photovoltaic modules, cables and inverters. Personal tools such as pliers, drills and screwdrivers are already in the van. Then it’s off to Kriens. Solar panels are about to be installed on the roof of an industrial company. Lino helped to attach the substructure to the roof the day before. He quickly got the hang of it.
Something for outdoor lovers
Samuel explains what needs to be done and Lino lends a hand. Lino knows that caution is the top priority, regardless of whether the roof is flat or pitched. Lifting the material is no problem for the 16-year-old amateur footballer: “The modules aren’t particularly heavy. You just have to be careful not to damage anything.” The plan shows how the modules have to be arranged and connected to each other. “After installation, we connect the inverter,” explains Samuel. This converts the direct current produced by the solar power system into alternating current, which is required for use in the building and for feeding into the low-voltage grid. Teamwork is important, but customer contact is also part of the job, especially when retrofitting systems on detached houses.
Action-packed working days
The day ends at 4 p.m. Lino is tired but already looking forward to the next day. “Getting up early takes some getting used to, but I think it’s great to finish work so early.” After these two eventful days, he can well imagine completing an apprenticeship as a solar installer: “It’s a meaningful job with lots of action. You’re always part of a team, you’re outside on high roofs and you have a fantastic view!”
Curious? Then take a look
for an apprenticeship.
Thinking of doing the vocational baccalaureate? No problem alongside an apprenticeship as a solar installer! All you need are good secondary school grades, a training company that agrees to it and the motivation to work a little harder than the average apprentice.
You can also take the vocational baccalaureate after your apprenticeship as well as during it. In that case, it takes one year if you go to school full-time and one and a half to two years if you work part-time. The diploma opens up many career opportunities for you. If you have the vocational baccalaureate, you can go straight on to study at a technical college. It’s even possible to study at university – all you need is a one-year Passerelle diploma.
Depending on your previous education, you can shorten your apprenticeship. With an EFZ in a related profession, such as a building technology profession or another construction profession, or with a high school diploma, you can skip the first year of your apprenticeship. If you have an EFZ in a building envelope profession, you can even skip the first two years of your apprenticeship.
Check with your training company and the vocational training office in your canton to see what your options are. In order to be admitted to the shortened apprenticeship, you must have at least six months of professional experience.
The shortened apprenticeship is possible for the following professions: Sealer EFZ, Roofer EFZ, Facade Builder EFZ, Tinsmith EFZ, Carpenter EFZ
As a solar installer, there are many exciting career paths open to you. If you would like to do another apprenticeship in the field of building envelopes afterwards, you will benefit from a shorter apprenticeship period. This applies to professions such as roofers and facade builders. You can also advance directly by starting further training as a solar installation project manager, energy and environmental technician or building envelope technician.
Hungry for even more knowledge? You can study energy and environmental engineering, building services engineering, renewable energies and electrical engineering at a technical college. So there are plenty of opportunities to position yourself in an exciting and challenging industry!
During your training as a solar installer, you will acquire comprehensive knowledge about the assembly and installation of photovoltaic systems. For example, you will learn how to plan and organise work processes, check materials and tools, create cable routes and connect cables.
You will be trained to find and rectify faults in the systems and to dismantle old or defective systems. You will also receive comprehensive training in customer care and support. Training as a solar installer offers you the opportunity to start a career in the fast-growing solar industry. Professionally, this will give you a solid foundation on which you can build a promising career.
An apprenticeship as a solar installer will give you great prospects for the future. And that’s because Switzerland is experiencing a real solar boom! The potential of solar energy is far from exhausted and well-trained specialists are in high demand.
There are jobs not only in specialist solar companies, but also in electrical companies and roofing companies. And larger companies such as power plants depend on solar professionals too. They build systems and solar installers provide their expertise for the installation, operation and maintenance. With further training to become a site manager, project manager, department manager or even managing director, solar installers can develop within and outside their company – or even become self-employed.
As a solar installer, you ensure that solar power systems are installed exactly as they were planned. You check order documents and plans and make sure that all the necessary materials are on site and that the work equipment is in perfect condition. On the roof, you attach the mounting system, install solar modules and create guides for the electrical cables. You’ll also install electricity storage solutions and rectify simple faults in the solar power plant.
There will come a time when every solar power systems has had its day. At that point, you’ll dismantle it in a professional and environmentally friendly manner. You’ll work with colleagues from your training company and specialists from other areas such as carpentry, tinsmithing, roofing or electrical installation.
As a solar installer, you’re starting out in an industry that’s set to really take off in the coming years. As a solar installer, you’re starting out in an industry that’s set to really take off in the years and decades to come. Before now, there hasn’t been a separate profession for solar panel installation, so you’re part of a pioneering team!
Before now, there hasn’t been a separate profession for solar panel installation, so you’re part of a pioneering team! And your apprenticeship is just the beginning. You can build a promising career with a vocational baccalaureate, further training or specialisation.