The strong relationships that bind the industry together
MANAGING DIRECTOR, SELECT
It’s that time of year again when a lot of industry events happen. In recent months and weeks these have included the European electrical and mechanical industry conference in Edinburgh (hosted by SELECT), the Electrical Distributors Scottish Function in Perthshire and our very own SELECT Awards in Glasgow, to name but a few!
Well for some, I hear you say, and it is of course true that many of these events are indeed very enjoyable. They also happen to take up a huge amount of time and are generally very hard work, but they remain an essential part of the involvements of an effective trade association. They provide tremendous opportunities for Members and SELECT staff to build the strong relationships that are the glue of our industry. They often deliver very tangible business benefits and are, of course, vital networking opportunities. They occasionally also throw up a surprise or two!
One such very welcome surprise was the statement by Fergus Ewing at the above mentioned AIE/GCPEurope conference. Mr Ewing, Scotland’s Minister for Energy, Business and Tourism, suggested there was a growing awareness of the need to protect the Scottish public by regulating electricians. SELECT Members have long called for the regulation of electricians as a profession and it is highly encouraging to see that at last there appears to be support for this long overdue measure – at least in Scotland!
It is of course so clearly wrong that currently anyone can call themselves an electrician, a fact that most people find astonishing. Such self-appointed rogues feel free to put themselves and the public at risk when thousands of dedicated individuals, many encouraged and supported by SELECT Members and their supply chain, undertake 4/5 year apprenticeships and pass competency end tests and high level qualifications to become real industry-approved electricians. So it really is time that the professionalism of genuine electricians is recognised and the public protected from the amateur or rogue operator. As Mr Ewing so eloquently put it, ‘We need to make sure that the public has confidence that when they choose an electrician they know that they are using a properly qualified and competent tradesman. Strong, well thought-out and sensibly policed regulation is in the interests of everyone in the construction sector and Scotland will continue to play its part in improving and promoting best practice across the board’.
We must now trust that our politicians have the courage of their convictions and do the right thing by regulating electricians – the necessary industry competency and registration schemes and systems are already in place and just need appropriate statutory backing.
SELECT will continue to push for action and we will be seeking the support of the wider industry every way we can, including at the many industry events that we continue to attend.