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Your new skills committee needs YOU

Cartoon - Your Committee Needs You

The new Training and Skills Development Committee wants at least six recruits to represent SELECT Members and involve them in the future of the industry. Those with a phobia of meetings and minutes shouldn’t be put off as no previous experience is necessary and the role will involve practical input, not pen-pushing

SELECT is looking for at least six Members to help shape the future of the electrical industry by joining the newly-created Training and Skills Development Committee.

As its name suggests, the new body will monitor and review all aspects of training and skills development across the industry, and will report to the SELECT Central Board.

Members will air their views and give practical and constructive input to the many issues that affect both SELECT and the wider industry.

And Head of Employment Affairs, Fiona Harper, insists it’s a golden opportunity for Members to play an important role and be involved at the beginning of the training process.

She told CABLEtalk: “Most SELECT Members train apprentices, but that’s the end product if you like. This is a chance to get involved at the very start, and see how the frameworks and strategy are put together – and more importantly, have a say in how it’s all shaped.

“Being part of this committee will give Members a voice and keep them involved both centrally and at a strategic level.

“We also need to understand what Members want, and the way to do that is to talk to them and involve them – so that’s what we are trying to achieve here.

“They can give us real guidance about what they really want and what direction they want to go in, rather than us trying to think what might be a good idea.”

Fiona said the committee was being formed following the closure in March of SummitSkills, with which it had previously worked on training strategy and development.

Meeting three times a year, it will now give strategic direction and support to BSE Skills Ltd and other bodies including the Scottish Government, the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Skills Development Scotland and the Electrical Contractors’ Association.

It will also monitor relevant external organisations and groups, provide a response to consultative documents, draw up action plans and review training material used by both SELECT and external providers.

Fiona added: “We’ve realised we have to be more proactive and give far more direction and input than ever before.

We also need to move forward and take more of an interest in new innovations, in things like electrical vehicle charging courses.

“And ultimately of course, the aim is to have a well-trained workforce that helps everyone’s business grow.

Fiona, who is also the Secretary of the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB), was quick to reassure would-be committee Members that the role won’t involve mountains of paperwork.

She said: “They’d be reviewing papers and looking at action plans but only really to make sure that we’re on target.

“My team and I will be producing the consultation documents and doing that side of the work for them – although they could prepare papers themselves if they really wanted to.”

She went on: “What we’re really looking for is practical input of what it’s like in the real world – that part is hugely important to us because we’re not actually out there at the coal face.

“For example, we can come up with an idea and think it’s great, but they’ll be able to tell us, ‘We can’t do that in practice – nobody wants to do it’. So we want these Members to have a real grounding effect on us; keeping our feet on the floor and steering us in the right direction from a practical point of view.

“Plus, if Members are in tune with what we’re doing it helps us keep the momentum and keep going.”

And what if potential recruits have no previous committee experience?

Fiona added: “That doesn’t matter – if people have got experience in training, and if they’ve got ideas about training, that’s what matters. It’s enthusiasm that we’re looking for – and they’ll soon learn how a committee works.”

There is no closing date for entrants, but the first meeting of the new Training and Skills Development Committee is currently pencilled in for Tuesday 27 March.

Fiona said: “If I could receive all inquiries and potential applications by the end of January 2018, it would be very helpful. Please just email or phone me – I don’t mind which.”

To volunteer for the committee, or for more information about its role and function, call Fiona on 0131 445 5577 or email

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