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Playing our part

How SELECT has been helping Members during the coronavirus pandemic

The Walled Garden may have been in lockdown for the past ten weeks, but for SELECT it’s been business as usual as we continue to help Members deal with the realities of COVID-19.

Working round the clock, the association has pulled out all the stops to help contractors protect their livelihoods, ramping up existing services and launching a range of additional emergency measures.

Managing Director Alan Wilson said: “We’re aware of the impact the pandemic has had on Members, which is why we’ve been determined to do everything that we can to help.

“As well as practical measures like refunding membership fees, we knew that clarity was vital, which is why we rolled out such a wide range of support and guidance.”

SELECT’s Employment Affairs team has worked tirelessly to produce expert guidance on everything from workplace disruption to furloughing.

Director of Employment and Skills Fiona Harper said: “The nature of the questions we’re being asked is still changing daily, but we’re doing everything we can to give Members the information they need.”

These updates have been posted on the dedicated COVID-19 hub at, along with daily updates and regular e-newsletters, emails and texts.

SELECT Director of Membership and Communication Iain Mason said: “Our digital channels have proved an important lifeline during the lockdown and we’ll continue to keep everyone informed in the best ways possible.”

The digital world has also become an invaluable tool for keeping in touch face-to-face, with the remaining four Branch Updates – Dumfries and Galloway, Tayside, Glasgow and Aberdeen – being held via webinar.

Weekly Digital Drop-ins also gave Members the chance to ask staff questions in live Q&A sessions.

Our ever-popular training courses have also moved online – see pages 16 and 17 for details of how we kept Members learning during lockdown.

And for those Members still carrying out emergency and essential work across Scotland, our Technical Helpline has been staffed every day.

Director of Technical Services Dave Forrester said: “Our staff may not be able to carry out assessments or training in person, but we’re still in contact with Members on a daily basis through other measures, helping them until things are up and running again.”

SELECT also recruited the help of industry experts including the SEC Group’s Len Bunton and the legal eagles at MacRoberts to untangle contractual, commercial and legal issues, with the Electrical Industries Charity also offering much-needed mental health support.

Our ongoing commitment to the industry also means we’ve been lobbying hard behind the scenes to help maintain cashflow and protect jobs as a key member of the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum. More details about this can be found on pages 18 and 19.

Alan added: “Having worked in the industry for nearly 40 years, I’m used to seeing the ups and downs of things like recessions, but this current crisis has put us all to the test.

“Our Members have experienced a situation that we could barely have imagined – but SELECT is determined to keep helping them through these difficult times and beyond.”


Trade associations show their true colours in a crisis

It’s said that you only ever see someone’s true character in a crisis. Well, during the pandemic, your trade association has come into its own and demonstrated its unique and unquestionable value to Members.

As a not-for-profit organisation, the sole purpose and principle of SELECT is Members’ welfare. This commitment has shone through in the past months.

I’ve been enormously impressed by the way SELECT has rallied to help Members keep calm and focused during an extremely worrying time.

As the impact of the pandemic became clear, it was truly heartening to see The Walled Garden spring into action with a host of practical and proactive measures, from refunding membership fees to lobbying behind the scenes for continued cashflow.

With face-to-face contact reduced, SELECT has used every alternative measure to reach out and reassure Members that they’re not enduring this unprecedented incident alone.

As a contractor myself, I know that even a friendly call asking how you are makes a difference. Knowing someone is thinking of your welfare – and not your wallet – means the world to us.

It’s also heartening to know that SELECT and its fellow trade bodies are in the unique position to influence and shape REAL change on our behalf; delivering tangible results that make the industry better for everyone.

All of these things show the value of trade bodies. We might not be able to stop the virus, but associations like SELECT can assist Members with the things they REALLY need and will continue to do so long after it’s safe to pick up our tools again.

By Kevin Griffin,

SELECT President

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