Delegates at the AIE/GCP conference hosted by SELECT
Every year representatives from our fellow trade associations across Europe get together to debate the important issues facing the electrical industry. This year it was SELECT’s turn to host the annual two-day conference for the AIE Council of Delegates (the European Association of Electrical Contractors), which took place at the Radisson hotel in Edinburgh, on September 10-12th. This year we were also delighted to welcome delegates for the GCP Europe conference, the body that represents building engineering services, which paved the way for a much wider debate on the construction industry as a whole
More than 100 delegates from across Europe, North America and even South Korea arrived in Edinburgh
last month for the annual AIE Council of Delegates conference.
Hosted by SELECT, we we also pleased to welcome the GCP Europe conference for the building engineering services sector at the Radisson hotel in Edinburgh.
Held over two days, the event was a chance to debate some of the important issues of the day facing the trade, and an important marker in the international calendar for the industry.
It also saw tacit support from the Scottish Government to take forward SELECT’s proposal to create a registration scheme for electricians, to enhance standards in the industry, protecting consumers from harm and ensuring electrical work can only be carried out by “appropriately qualified” contractors.
Fergus Ewing, the Business, Energy and Tourism Minister, told delegates at the conference that he was supportive of such a scheme.
He said: “I am a solicitor. No one can call themselves a solicitor unless they are registered with the Law Society of Scotland. If they do and they pass themselves off as a solicitor they are committing a criminal offence and can be prosecuted. It seems to me that the case for providing that protection for electricians is, if anything, stronger than in the case of the legal profession because if someone puporting to be an electrician installs an electrical system in somebody’s home, and it is unsafe, the consequences, namely an electrical fire, can be far more severe than anything which even the worst solicitor could manage.
He added: “And therefore, given that the nature of your trade is becoming ever more complex it does seem to me that society in Scotland and all over Europe needs to have the increased protection and confidence
so that when somebody asks your firm to carry out work in their home, or their business or factory, or their office, they have confidence that they will be using appropriately qualified and accredited people. So I thought it worth saying that I think that this proposal is one that should be pursued and it should probably be pursued also not just in Scotland but at European level.”
Mr Ewing said also that he was keen to see “more development” in terms of major construction projects across Scotland and also that he was “concerned” about the looming skills gap in the electrical industry.
His speech was followed by a presentation on the Scottish Building Standards scheme, delivered by Jonathan Astwood, Head of Practice Unit at the Scottish Government’s Building Standards Division, and Professor Rudi Klein, CEO of the Specialist Engineering Contractors’ Group (SEC Group), who gave a lively and entertaining presentation on procurement within the construction supply chain.
From left, SELECT MD Newell McGuiness, AIE General Secretary Evelyne Schellekens, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing, SELECT President Eric Rae and AIE President Allan Littler
AIE/GCP delegates attend a black tie dinner at Edinburgh Castle
Alongside the conference itself – which gave contractors the opportunity to debate important industry developments at a ‘strategic forum’ – a busy social programme was arranged by SELECT for delegates and their partners.This included a whisky masterclass and dinner at Edinburgh castle, as well as a tour of the Scottish Borders, taking in sights such as Abbotsford House and Dryburgh Abbey.
Delegates attending the conference came from 11 European countries, including the Netherlands, France, Germany, Austria and Denmark.
Worldwide visitors included contingents from the US, Australia, South Africa and South Korea.
SELECT MD Newell McGuiness said:
“It was a great honour to be able to welcome these major, multi-national organisations to Scotland for the AIE-GCP Summit and SELECT is pleased to support the minister’s stand on registration in the industry.”
September 2015 Issue