Seven Key Predictions for Electrical Contractors – Skills


We recently wrote about the visionary report created by the NICEC, the ECA and the ELECSA, which was a midway report. The original report was created way back in 2011, and was a 10 year prediction of what would happen within the Electrical Contractors Industry Sector, and the midway report created in 2016 showed how some predictions were on track, yet some major disruptions have caused many predictions to go completely in a direction that no one would have or could have imagined.

This article discusses the specific area of Skills within the midway report. The predictions from 2011 are detailed below.

Prediction 1. While the need for the traditional electrical contractor will remain, it will be only one of a range of skills.

Prediction 2. At a lower level, there will be a need for someone who is connecting components together.

Prediction 3. Because of the level of controls in heating, cooling and hot water systems, as well as renewable energy, there will be a crossover between trades.

Prediction 4. In the medium term, we can expect a shortage of electrical contractors and initiatives will need to be taken to bring in new people to the industry, increasing apprenticeships.

Prediction 5. To encourage take-up, the method of funding will be changed.

Prediction 6. At a higher level will be the electrical contractor who acts as an energy manager, advising on installations and fine tuning them once installed.

Prediction 7. While the need for electrical wiring will be far greater, de-skilling will mean that tradespersons from other disciplines can install, reducing the opportunity for the electrical contractor.

Prediction 8. Electrical contractors will also have to respond to the new market economy by being more customer-focused and promoting their services more effectively

The original report highlighted the need for skilled Electrical Contractors in prediction 4 in particular, and those skills are still in demand today, and in fact the shortage of skilled Electrical Contractors is increasing.

2012, a year after the original report, saw the deregulation of the energy markets, which was evolved to give customers more choice from where they can obtain their energy, should have meant that Energy Poverty is reduced because the market in theory should have become more competitive. This means that the Energy Sector is running on less profit to invest back into staff training, and so the sills depletion is worsening as a result.

With the Government in 2016 now actively pushing and promoting Apprenticeships within all industry sectors, the report recommends that Electrical Contracting Companies should upskill their existing staff as swell as bringing onboard more youthful apprentice type employees.

In 2008 the UK committed to a 15% target contribution to total final energy consumption in renewables by 2020, which in 2011 was running at just 3.8% (see Climate Change Act 2008). With this in mind, the workforce training should incorporate the latest technologies and look towards the future with new renewable technologies, but also technologies born about from the Internet of Things.

The sum of all of this means that competition for talent has increased between companies, as less and less people are afforded the training to become a great talent in the first instance.

The Midway report states that “the industry needs to raise its game in terms of promoting an accurate understanding of the work it undertakes and the complex, engineering and professional skills, that are required.”

As the ECA and NICEIC have been forward thinkers with their relatively accurate predictions, they have worked to help address the skills requirement by actively encouraging women to work and train within the industry, opening the reach for talent, through their ‘Jobs for the Girls’ and ‘Wired For Success’ campaigns, which were launched in 2011, when the original report was produced.
In addition to this, the ECA (as a partner in TESP, The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership), have created a Careers Website which helps Trained Electrical Contractors throughout the UK find suitable employment, helps companies find talented employees and also encourages more people to start training towards a career in Electrical Contracting, at all levels.
initiatives such as the Career Progression Project and development of a Careers Website.