We're Working Towards Legal Protection For The Term 'Electrician'.

It remains one of the great frustrations for our industry that the status of both electricians and the electrical trade does not get the recognition it deserves. Most members of the public, and indeed many of our politicians, are gobsmacked to learn that anyone can call themselves an electrician and trade freely in the electrical industry. The common perception is that the electrical industry is tightly regulated and almost everyone is astonished that our highly qualified and skilled electrical tradesmen have no legal status.

 

It may be, however, that SELECT’s many years of lobbying on this issue are at last bearing fruit. Recently, working with our ECA colleagues, we were lead contributors to a UK government submission to the European Commission aimed at defining Electrician as a Regulated profession.

 

Even though the industry did not receive as much support from government as we expected (more of which you can read about elsewhere in this edition), the fact the issue is being raised at all gives some hope that the madness of the current position is at least recognised and warrants attention.

 

It is telling also that many of our European colleagues and the AIE, the European Association of Electrical Contractors, have similar concerns and it is indeed encouraging that they are now actively working within the European Commission to press for the adoption of Electrician as a recognised high value, high quality professional qualification.

 

Meanwhile back in the UK, both the JIB and SJIB are pursuing a separate national initiative that may ultimately support the  wider European discussions. The plan is for the electrical industry to partner with the Engineering Council and the Institution of Engineering and Technology to make the case for developing what is known as

 

a Protected Title for Electrician in the UK. The aim is to seek Privy Council approval to grant a Protected Title to the term Electrician, which would provide statutory status and prevent its use by unqualified people.

 

All of this will not produce a quick outcome, and there will be ups and downs along the way, but perhaps in the fullness of time the electrical trade will be regulated as a profession and access to it will be restricted by national law to those holding the necessary qualifications, skills and title. Not only would such an outcome correct a long standing wrong but it would no doubt reassure the public, and our political elite, that they can rest soundly in their beds

in the knowledge their homes, family and businesses are safe from the vagaries of the keen amateur, rogue or incompetent electrical installer.

 

 

 

NEWELL MCGUINESS

MANAGING DIRECTOR, SELECT 

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