Celebrations on the menu
Our inaugural President’s Lunch brought more than 100 industry colleagues together to see a ‘human tornado’ collect the SELECT Lifetime Achievement Award
Tributes, tears and magic tricks were just some of the many highlights of the inaugural SELECT President’s Lunch, sponsored by Electrium.
Hosted in the spectacular surroundings of the voco® Grand Central Glasgow hotel, the event saw around 100 special guests gather for a high-profile networking celebration.
Guests included senior government figures, along with representatives from leading UK electrical and construction organisations.
Government Minister Ivan McKee was the headline speaker at the bash on Friday 30 September, which also saw SELECT honour a very special recipient with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
As well as industry guests and SELECT Central Board members, also in attendance were Ian Hunter, John Richmond and Gary Shirkey from Associate Member Electrium, the event’s official headline sponsor.
Fellow Associate Member MacRoberts LLP kept guests refreshed as the official drinks sponsor and were represented at the event by David Wilson and Lindsay Stark.
And David Lyons, Steve Conn and Kenneth Wilson flew the flag for Luceco, who helped cast a spell over the audience by sponsoring the table entertainment, which saw two magicians baffle diners with amazing sleight of hand.
The lunch began with a welcome speech from SELECT Managing Director Alan Wilson, who paid tribute to the “amazing” work carried out by Central Board throughout the pandemic and beyond. He also praised the ongoing efforts of the Construction Leadership Forum and Construction Industry Collective Voice (CICV), of which SELECT is a leading member.
He then turned his attention to skills and training, adding: “To meet the next challenges, especially around net zero, we need support to allow the workforce to be upskilled.
“What none of us need is six-week wonders who turn up and claim they can build a new extension, fit an air source heat pump, re-wire your home – and maybe even paint your lounge.
“The Scottish Government quite rightly champions apprenticeships but the industry needs the financial support to meet these aspirations. We know funding is under threat from all sides, but it’s vital we support the workforce of tomorrow now, because without them we face a future of skills shortages.”
Sharing a vision of sustainability
Our second speaker was Ivan McKee, Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, who highlighted the shared vision between Holyrood and the industry of a sustainable, profitable and diverse sector. He said: “Transformational change is needed across the industry to prepare for the new decarbonisation workload, constructing and refurbishing assets to meet net zero targets in a resource-efficient way.
“I know I share this vision with many SELECT Members in this room, and I hope you will continue to collaborate. both with us in the Scottish Government and with other members of the industry, in order to meet the challenges of the coming decade.”
Warming to his theme, he added: “Our shared ambition is to transform into the sustainable, profitable, diverse and innovative sector that Scotland needs. We need to work together at pace to deliver on our ambitions. Collaboration can help to reduce both risk and costs for businesses on their net zero journey, and there will also be significant opportunities for growth.
“The successes delivered so far demonstrate the power of us working together. And when we get it right, everyone wins – businesses, people and the planet.”
In his address, SELECT President Alistair Grant thanked members of fellow trade organisations for attending, including David Frise, Iain McCaskey and Robert Fletcher from BESA and SNIPEF’s Stephanie Lowe.
He also welcomed Marcella McArthur from the Electrical Industries Charity, adding: “It’s always a great pleasure to represent SELECT at events hosted by other organisations.
“It is important to SELECT – and to me – to be able to repay the hospitality we receive, which is why I was so delighted to be able to welcome friends from so many partner organisations here today.”
The President also announced news of the Members’ Bill for protection of title that had been recently lodged, telling guests: “We are grateful to Jamie Halcro Johnston MSP and his team for their efforts on this important matter, which is a great boost for our campaign.”
Tributes to an industry legend
It was then on to the finale, as Alan Wilson and Alistair Grant returned to the podium to announce the recipient of this year’s SELECT Lifetime Achievement Award.
Announcing the honour, Alan said: “I was only eight years old when this person qualified and took their first steps on what has been the most extraordinary career path.
“Their list of achievements is so long and varied that it is tiring just reading them out. They really are a human tornado, with a never-ending supply of energy and ideas aimed at improving the industry and the conditions of those who work within it.
“They were also instrumental in the establishment of the CICV, which has been so important in facilitating the sector’s safe return to work after the pandemic.”
To cheers and a standing ovation, Alan revealed the recipient of this year’s award was Len Bunton, the arbitrator and mediator who has spent years working tirelessly for better conditions across the sector.
After accepting his award from Alistair, an emotional Len thanked guests, saying: “We have seen some great advances in recent years and we must continue to work together to ensure we improve conditions for everyone.”
After lunch, guests stayed on to continue networking and make up for the face-to-face time lost during the pandemic. They also dug deep and contributed to a collection that raised £530 for the EIC.
Alan said: “The event was tremendous and we would like to thank everyone who attended.”