Key electrical industry figure highlights the demands of technological change on the profession

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  Posted by: electime      20th May 2019

Coming on the back of a new labour market report on the electrotechnical industry issued by The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP), which estimates that between 12,500 and 15,000 additional skilled electricians will be needed across the UK over the next five years to accommodate forecasted growth, one of SELECT’s longest-serving members has spoken out about the increasing complexity of the sector.

John Noble, of Bonnyrigg-based John Noble Electrical, highlighted in an article for SELECT’s magazine, CABLEtalk, how technology has transformed the demands made on electricians and has made it imperative that they are proficient in a continually-evolving range of skill sets.

It is an argument that has been made forcefully by SELECT, as it presses the case for Protection of Title in the Scottish Parliament, to address the urgent safety issue of unqualified persons posing as electricians.

John, 62, who qualified as an electrician 40 years ago and set up his own business when he was just 21, created a 15-strong firm and developed a career in the industry which saw him serve three years as President of SELECT.

He said: “When I was learning the trade, our team of four electricians and two apprentices had one electric drill between them and if you couldn’t access it you had to use a hand drill or a brace and bit.

“In these days, we would never have tackled a job like data cabling. Now we undertake complex projects such as integrated systems, CCTV, intruder alarms, fire alarms, wi-fi systems and so on. An electrician has to be competent in lots of disciplines and continual professional development is key to that competence.”

Alan Wilson, Acting Managing Director of SELECT, said: “John’s message reinforces our long-held view that recognition of the vital role that qualified electricians play in all parts of Scottish society is long overdue.

“These are highly-trained, uniquely qualified professional people whose contribution to modern life is immense. The recent report issued by TESP highlights the fact that we have a growing and demanding sector and being recognised as a ”professional” by introducing protection of title would enhance this vital profession”.

John added: “Things are changing all the time. With the popularity of electrical vehicles, we are now involved in the installation of vehicle charging points. You have to evolve if you want to survive.”

SELECT’s 1250 member companies have a collective turnover of around £1 billion and provide employment for 15,000 people.