A new report on the importance of electricians to an increasingly digital-dependent society strongly reinforces SELECT’s campaign for industry regulation, Managing Director Alan Wilson has said.
SELECT was among the contributors to the first-ever Europe-wide sector report, which emphasises the safety-critical contribution of electricians to both day-to-day life and major advances in infrastructure, the digital economy and climate change goals.
The report points out that the 300,000 electrical companies in the European Union (EU) and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have a combined annual turnover of £185 billion and employ 1.8 million highly-skilled and technically proficient people, or one in every 134 professionals
Alan said: “This snapshot of the electrical sector across Europe confirms that the work of electricians is more complex and more highly valued than that of other construction professionals
“The intricacies of modern electrical installation underpin everything from the internet to cars, hospitals, homes and businesses and the ubiquity of electricity and its applications must soon be recognised with professional status.
“This is why SELECT and other organisations – backed by many influential individuals and MSPs – have been campaigning so vigorously for protection of title for electricians in Scotland, a campaign which is being considered in Parliament even now.”
The report – by AIE, the European Association of Electrical Contractors – reveals that electrical companies account for 15% of the overall construction sector turnover in Europe and that growth is being driven by decentralised and green technologies.
It backs arguments by SELECT that skills in the sector are evolving rapidly to keep ahead of technology and that the sector is quickly becoming white rather than blue collar, a transformation which should be recognised at government level in the interests of consumer safety.
Digitalisation is having an increasing impact and is changing installations and work processes away from traditional skill sets, meaning that more diverse digital skills are urgently needed.
Alan added: “We are all becoming increasingly reliant on an electric future, with emerging technologies which entail previously undreamt-of levels of complexity. The electricians needed to make it all work are delivering a vital contribution to society.
“At SELECT, we will continue to contribute our expertise and insights to organisations such as the AIE, as well as helping prepare our members deal with new areas such as renewables, home technology, smart meters and electric vehicles.
“The importance of the electrical sector has never been greater and, with our European counterparts, it plans to rise to the challenges and opportunities ahead.”
SELECT’s campaign for protection of title has earned cross-party support from MPs and MSPs and is supported by the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT), the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) and Unite the Union, among others.