Reasons to be cheerful

NEWELL MCGUINESS

MANAGING DIRECTOR, SELECT 

“We have just concluded the latest round of wage negotiations and the outcome looks very good for firms and employees alike.”

 

 

There is never a dull moment as the Chief Executive of a trade association, especially one as large and active as SELECT. 

 

At any one time, there are countless activities on the go, some more important than others but all of them complex and with many opportunities for failure or success. 

 

It certainly makes for an interesting life, provided the highs and lows don’t get you down.

Recently, I have been rather pessimistic about a couple of issues, mainly related to other organisations interfering, pushing into our territory and purporting to be something they are not. 

 

Thankfully, I am always dragged back to normal optimism by our great staff and the positive attitude of our membership and the Office bearers of SELECT. 

 

Some good news also helps and we have been lucky that there have been many successes in recent weeks. For starters, we have just concluded the latest round of wage negotiations and the outcome looks very good for firms and employees alike. Assuming the deal is ratified by our partners in the trade union, it will provide a welcome extended period of certainty and stability for the industry – something that is important as the sector continues to recover from the recent bad times. 

 

Our series of Toolbox Talks has been another success, with record attendances and plaudits aplenty. The trial programme for our new commercial and industrial electrical design course suggests this will be a valuable addition to the training and progression options for Members and the accreditation of an electrical National Progression Award (NPA) will provide a valuable introduction to our industry for many upcoming school leavers.

 

On the campaigning front, there have been mixed outcomes in the procurement reform and building standards arenas, with much still to be done. The introduction of the mandatory requirement for five yearly checks in private rented properties, championed by Electrical Safety First, is driving important safety improvements to this huge sector and creating business opportunities for the electrical industry.

 

Our intention to reinvigorate the campaign to see electrician regulated as a profession received a significant boost with the appointment of Fergus Ewing to a Cabinet Minister, focusing on the rural economy. Fergus first raised the prospect of making progress on this matter in Scotland when he suggested it was time to regulate the profession at the AIE Conference last year. Given that it is the rural economy that suffers most from the keen amateur and rogues purporting to be electricians, there is hope that Fergus will continue to support the case for regulation. 

 

We will certainly be asking the question when we submit a detailed business case to the Scottish Parliament in the near future, and we hope the electrical supply chain, and wider industry stakeholders, will get fully behind this important initiative and make Scotland a safer and better place for all of us.

June 2016

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