SJIB celebrates 50th anniversary

Guests enjoyed a night to remember at Edinburgh Castle as they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB)

The SJIB Board with Jamie Hepburn at the 50th anniversary party

Leading lights from across the electrical industry gathered at Edinburgh’s most famous landmark to raise a glass or two to the SJIB’s half-century. Guests who enjoyed a glittering evening in the castle’s Queen Anne Room included representatives from SELECT, Unite the Union, the Joint Industry Board (JIB), the Electrical Contractors’ Association, Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Qualifications Authority and Energy Skills Partnership. Among the speakers at the gala dinner on 21 November was Scotland’s Minister for Business, Jamie Hepburn, who called for the electrical industry to “look to the future” as it seeks to meet continuing demand for qualified professionals.

“While we gather here to celebrate the past 50 years, we also need to concentrate on the future of our industry” - Jamie Hepburn

The SNP MSP said: “Apprenticeships remain an invaluable way for young people to learn the skills they need for the world of work.

“The broad nature of the current electrical installation apprenticeship produces qualified and competent people in a safety critical role, who are trained in a consistent way which means that they can operate all over the world as their training meets industry demands.

“Its success is due to the influence of employers and trade unions in ensuring that the qualification is fit for purpose. But while we gather here to celebrate the past 50 years, we also need to ensure we all concentrate on the future of our industry.”

“It’s wonderful to see so many familiar faces who have helped make the SJIB the formidable body it is today” - Fiona Harper

SJIB Chairman Jock Simpson, who hosted the event, attributed the SJIB’s success to the continuing good relationship between employers represented by SELECT and Unite the Union. He told guests at the event:

“Over the past 50 years, the UK has seen many collective agreements disappear and I am pleased that we are unique in being one of a small number who have not just bucked the trend, but have grown and thrived.” Other speakers on the night included SELECT Managing Director Alan Wilson, Scott Foley, Lead Trade Union Officer for the SJIB, and former SELECT President Alick Smith, who said: “The SJIB has brought stability to the industry, laying the foundations for a constructive and progressive industrial relations environment.”

During a traditional Scottish meal that included an address to the haggis, and the Selkirk Grace, read by JIB Chairman Paul Corby, guests were entertained by harpist Toni Russel. Fiona Harper, The Secretary of the SJIB, was given a standing ovation after rounding off the evening with an emotional toast. She told guests: “It’s wonderful to look around this room and see so many familiar faces who have helped make the SJIB the formidable body it is today. “Between us, I think we have paid a fitting tribute to an institution that plays such a central role in the Scottish electrotechnical industry.”

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