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Supporting skills for the future

The Electrical Education Training Foundation is helping develop the next generation of skills and knowledge to ensure our industry thrives

The CABEC competition gives school pupils a taste  of the construction industry

For the electrotechnical sector to prosper, it’s vital to encourage everyone working within it to have the skills and knowledge to develop a lifelong career. That’s why the work of the Electrical Education Training Foundation (EETF) is so important.

This charity, operated by SELECT, plays a crucial role by providing grants that support training across the industry. Alex Guyan, current chair of the EETF, explained: “The Foundation was set up by SELECT in 1998 and we use our income to help fund a whole host of different projects.”

One of its longest partnerships is with the annual Construction and Built Environment Challenge (CABEC). This is a project that helps schoolchildren become familiar with the industry and the skills of the people involved. Alex said: “We’re helping with a new CABEC project being established in Aberdeen as until now, it’s been based in Edinburgh. There had been a proposal to run the project in Glasgow but it is proving difficult to find the number of sponsors required at the moment.”

Apprentice support

The Foundation has also developed a positive relationship with the Prince’s Trust, the charity that helps vulnerable young people get into jobs, education and training. “We donate to a course the Trust runs in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee,” said Alex. “It’s good to see young people getting a chance to make the most of their lives.”

Naturally, the charity has a focus on providing help for apprentices too, as Alex revealed: “Among other things, we’ve backed a project that’s allowed apprentice records to be integrated with Onefile, an online system that brings together training and assessment.

“And we received a request from the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) to fund ‘fault-finding boards’ for test inspection and problem solving to help apprentices through their Final Integrated Competence Test (FICA). We were asked for 50% of the cost, but we had sufficient reserves and were able to pay the full amount.”

Buliding careers

Alex and the other members of the Foundation committee are always keen to explore new ways to publicise their activities, with recent emphasis on the possibilities offered by animation.

They’ve already funded one video, designed to be shown in schools, that promotes an electrotechnical career.

And, related to the fault-finding boards, they’ve backed an animation aimed at apprentices that focuses on problem solving. “We’re keen to use the animation format more frequently in the future; it’s cost effective and an efficient way of learning,” said Alex.

One of the EETF’s goals is to promote the idea of career progression. It wants to make it easier for people to go from electrician to approved to technician and then on to university programmes.

“We make a major investment in helping people attend Napier University’s Effective Manager Programme,” said Alex. “It’s a vital way for firms to develop their people.

“The university are enthusiastic partners and our relationship has been running for 12 years. We provide a substantial grant to help businesses with the course fees. This is invaluable to small companies who would usually find it difficult to pay the whole fee.”

“Training is essential if our industry is going to thrive and the EETF is actively looking for projects to support”

Some of the students from the Prince’s Trust’s Get Into Electrical event

Here to help

For his part, Alex has been involved with EETF for the past seven years.

He said: “I’m also a member of SELECT’s Central Board and one day a space became available on the Foundation Board. I was keen to help and find it really rewarding. I sit on the Training and Skills Committee, which allows me to identify projects that EETF can help with.”

Future projects

Alex is proud of the work carried out by the charity and the role it plays. He added: “In our industry, EETF is the only body I’m aware of that people can turn to if they need help to fund training. Being part of SELECT we have our ear to the ground and know what’s happening. We try to be proactive; if we spot a project where we might be able to help we encourage people to submit a proposal to us.

“Ultimately, we know that training is essential if our industry is going to thrive and the EETF is actively looking for projects to support.

“I’d encourage anyone who thinks we might be able to help to get in touch. We consider every proposal.”

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