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Made in Scotland – from girders!

SELECT is a uniquely Scottish organisation serving Members the length and breadth of the country with a trusted and local service

First of all, apologies to those who don’t understand the headline, but I am sure that most readers will make the connection to a mythical bru which apparently cures hangovers!

But there is a serious message in the headline. For many years various businesses have sought to protect their Scottish heritage. From whisky to tweed, there are many great reasons why people go to such lengths to protect and promote that their products are made in Scotland. But what about those who seek to use “Scottishness” or their connection to Scotland in cynical ways?

Lots of organisations claim to represent Scottish businesses, but do they really? Adding the saltire to your website, literature or onto your workwear doesn’t make you a descendant of Robert the Bruce and we are right to be cynical of such attempts to seek favour with us. It always smacks to me of colonialism of the worst possible kind.

One of the unique things about trade associations like SELECT is that they were specifically set up to serve Scottish businesses and remain based in Scotland. Our staff work either from our head office at The Walled Garden, just outside Edinburgh, or from home in locations all over the country. We work hard in getting to understand what Members want and we appreciate that this varies across the country.

We also like to ensure that Members recognise what SELECT can do for them and how they can shape what their trade association does for them. Two recent examples come to mind.

At a local branch meeting last year, reference was made to the access to our very popular technical helpline, which coincidentally dealt with nearly 2,000 calls in 2015.

It seemed that sometimes Members found it difficult to contact the helpline or were out of mobile phone signal range and it was often too late to call when back at base. As a direct result, and within a week, we had introduced an email facility – – to deal with these types of issues.

Secondly, a Member raised an issue about client recognition of SELECT training courses. Following this, our training team worked hard to introduce external accreditation to all of our BS 7671 training programmes. As part of this process, we redesigned our BS 7671 Training Programmes and introduced a higher level assessment process. The next step in this process was to get our qualifications evaluated formally against the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). This provided independent evidence about the standard and level of the SELECT SQA Customised Award Programmes.

We decided to undertake this process for two of our customised awards as the nature and variety of assessments within both these courses meant that they were ideal for credit rating:

• SQA [SELECT] Tailored Award in Design & Verification of Electrical Installations to BS 7671

• SQA [SELECT] Customised Award in Inspection & Testing (including Periodic) to BS 7671.

Both these qualifications have now been accredited to SCQF level 7. As well as providing a credit level that allows the qualifications to be understood on the Scottish framework, the credit rating allows us to compare our qualifications to similar qualifications throughout the UK and incidentally the SQA SELECT qualifications are at a higher level than most.

So if you are ever asked what your trade association is, feel free to pick from any of the following:


The trade association and statutory employers’ organisation for the Scottish electrical industry

A not-for-profit organisation

Owned by its Members

Committed to providing a range of value added trade association services for Members (most provided free as part of Member benefits)

A scheme provider for Certification of Construction

A Scottish Qualifications Authority accredited training provider

Responsible for running the additional organisations that support the Scottish electrical industry (SJIB, SECTT, EETF, SECI etc.)

Headquartered in Scotland

Committed to a personal and local service

Actively involved in representing the interests of Members to Scottish politicians, government and relevant stakeholders.

It’s a lot to be proud of, but we can’t rest on our laurels. We are always looking at ways in which we can help our Members and we want to hear how we can do more and continue to add real value for Scottish businesses. We may not be made from girders but we are proud of our Scottish roots and heritage and these all go towards making the organisation what it is today.

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