SELECT Managing Director Alan Wilson has told thousands of radio listeners across the UK that proper training and apprenticeships are essential to protect the safety of consumers and others in the construction industry.
Speaking on the popular Building Ideas Show with Mark Millar on Fix Radio, the MD of Scotland’s largest construction trade association said that young people gain a thorough and rigorous grounding in quality and site safety via industry recognised apprenticeships.
And he said that regulation of the electrical industry and protection of title for suitably qualified electricians was also essential to maintain and improve standards and safety in consumers’ homes.
Alan told listeners: “The fact is that awareness of safety starts at the very beginning, and that means with apprentices, which is why our industry has run a successful electrical apprenticeship programme for many years.
“This year, we have recruited almost 900 apprentices which is testament to the businesses in Scotland who put their faith in young people and as adults they take on. That’s where safety starts.
“These people go through a proper apprenticeship. It’s not one of these short apprentice programmes which lasts six months or a year. It’s four-year programme in which the apprentices attend college and receive comprehensive health and safety training.”
Alan also used his appearance on the show on Sunday 10 September to outline the importance of protection of title for electricians – a campaign which SELECT has been spearheading for many years.
He said people were now talking about the electrification of society through heating, lighting, cars, computers and day-to-day devices, so it was increasingly vital that work was done by qualified electricians.
Alan said: “Electricians do safety-critical work and if they get it wrong it can have potentially life-ending consequences for them or the people they do the work for. It’s not overstating the situation to say that work carried out by unqualified people can be fatal.
“There are some 70 protected titles, from obvious ones like teachers, dentists and nurses to other trades like farriers and nightclub bouncers. So if you want to shoe a horse in the UK, you need to have qualifications and it’s a protected title, yet that doesn’t apply to electricians.
“If electricians had protection of title, people would know that if someone came to their door claiming to be an electrician then they could confirm they were qualified.
“We are trying to get rid of people who have no training – it’s about protecting the public and the perception of the industry.”
SELECT has been campaigning for regulation for years alongside the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust(SECTT) and Scottish Joint Industry Board(SJIB) and has created a Wall of Support to show the depth of support from individuals and organisations.
Recent additions include Foysol Choudhury MSP, SELECT Associate Members Building Safety Group, LINIAN, Flexel and Hager and member firms Stirling Electrical Services, RW Bell, John McNicol & Co and FT Davidson.
As well as more than a third of MSPs, other bodies that have contributed a brick to the wall include the Unite the Union, Electrical Safety First, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, the Scottish Association of Landlords, the and the Energy Saving Trust.
- Listen to the show again here.