19 July 2024
Lithe unveils new sound integration option for smart home systems
19 July 2024
Acrospire launches new EV charger brand
19 July 2024
Big brands back Circular Lighting Live 2024
18 July 2024
Tamlite calls on industry to embrace remanufacturing
18 July 2024
Fergus announces partnership with TrustMark

Latest News

Cable Services Group sparks hope with charity donation
The Cable Services Group, one of the UK’s leading specialist electrical distributors, has announced that it has donated £80,000 in support of 25 national charities. In 2019, the company established its own charity to support local causes close to the hearts of the people who work in our branches in Wrexham, Stone, Liverpool, Glasgow and Swindon. The aim of the charity is to enrich and improve people's lives by making a positive difference at a local level. Throughout 2023, Cable Service Group's employees raised funds by organising various events and initiatives, including dress-down days and raffles. They also ran a competition where three winners won a day off work. Furthermore, The Cable Services 150 Club, a monthly prize draw, has been running successfully for many years and has contributed significantly to the total amount raised. Employees at each branch nominated the charities. As well as choosing to support national causes, including the Alzheimer's Society, Teenage Cancer Trust and SANDS Stillbirth and Neonatal Charity, they also selected a wide range of local organisations. These included Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham, Staffordshire Women’s Aid, Carla Lane Animals In Need in Liverpool, the Beatson Cancer Charity in Glasgow, and the Swindon Hydrotherapy Pool. Food banks were also popular choices, with many employees wishing to support local people in crisis. Huw Evans, Marketing Manager for Cable Services, comments, "Since launching the Cable Services Charity, we have been overwhelmed by the generosity and kindness of our colleagues across the Group. We are incredibly proud to be supporting 25 charities in total, all of which provide invaluable support to communities across the UK. It is heart-warming to see the results of our fundraising efforts spread far and wide across the communities in which we operate. "By choosing and contributing to the charities we support, our employees have helped us make a positive difference to countless lives across the country." The Cable Service Group Charity promotes civic engagement in the communities in which the Group operates. Employees will continue to support the following charities in 2024, all of which have benefited from a share of the £80,000 raised in 2023: Wrexham - Nightingale House Hospice - Your Space - The Wrexham Miners Project - The Rainbow Foundation - South Denbighshire Community Partnership - Wrexham Food Bank Stone - Macari Foundation - A Child Of Mine - Dougie Mac - Stone Community Hub - Staffordshire Women’s Aid - Alzheimer’s Society Liverpool - Carla Lane Animals In Need - Flame Spirit Golf Society - Jackson’s Animal Rescue - Community By Nature - Teenage Cancer Trust - South Sefton Food Bank Glasgow (Smith Electrical) - The Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice - Beatson Cancer Charity - Cash For Kids West Scotland - SANDS – Stillborn and Neonatal Charity - Catherine McEwan Foundation Swindon - Swindon Hydrotherapy Pool - Swindon Food Collective

BGEN looking to recruit 100 craftspeople and engineers
BGEN, one of the UK’s largest engineering firms supporting the energy transition, is looking to recruit 100 plus skilled craftspeople and engineers across its UK operations. The recruitment drive follows a number of new contract wins in the industrial space with opportunities across the UK including England, Northern Ireland and Scotland. “The business has grown significantly over the past 12 months as we continue to secure opportunities in our core market sectors including chemicals, energy, pharmaceutical and utilities,” says Robin Whitehead, CEO at BGEN (pictured above). “We have opportunities across the business at all levels, with a particular need for skilled mechanical and electrical craftspeople, as we support our clients on a number of live opportunities, including energy efficiency, energy transition and energy security projects.” BGEN’s electrical business unit has an immediate requirement for upwards of 60 JIB approved electricians as well as 10 supervisors, while in its mechanical team, the business requires time-served pipefitters, riggers and welders alongside planning and quality assurance (QA) engineers. The company’s technology team is recruiting for systems integration (SI) PLC/SCADA engineers and low-voltage (LV) design engineers. Alongside a competitive package, successful candidates will get the opportunity to work on a range of interesting projects, across a number of industrial sectors, helping to deliver critical infrastructure initiatives. In addition, candidates will get the opportunity to work with a range of innovative technologies to deliver high quality work. As a proud member of The 5% Club, successful candidates will benefit from ongoing learning and development opportunities. They will also have access to comprehensive wellbeing support including different aspects of emotional, mental and physical health. Craftspeople will also be able to take advantage of the benefits offered to employees through national agreements including the Joint Industry Board (JIB and SJIB) and the National Agreement for the Engineering Construction Industry (NAECI). A second wave of recruitment is set to take place in the autumn as the company looks to deliver projects in 2025 and beyond. For more from BGEN, click here.

NAPIT welcomes government's new bills
In a busy King’s Speech on 17 July, which saw 40 bills announced by the Government, there were three areas that particularly caught the eye of NAPIT - a co-ordinated approach to reaching net zero, plans to build more new homes and changes to the Apprenticeship Levy. The Great British Energy Bill and other legislation to unlock investment in energy infrastructure will establish the remit of the 'Mission Control' responsible for coordinating Labour’s target to achieve clean power by 2030, as well as reduce consenting timelines for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects to accelerate the deployment of new renewable generation. There will be changes to the planning system in the Planning and Infrastructure Bill, and the Skills England Bill will see the apprenticeship levy reformed and Skills England established which will have a new partnership with employers at its heart. Energy Secretary Ed Miliband has also unveiled plans for a “solar rooftop revolution”, which aims to see more homes fitted with solar panels. It is expected that Government will work with industry to make it easier to buy new homes with panels installed, or install them on existing ones. There are also reports that Ministers are looking at bringing in solar-related standards for new-build properties from next year. Frank Bertie, NAPIT's Managing Director, says, “The Government has said it wants to get Britain building again and electrify the energy system which will need more heat pumps, solar panels and electric vehicle chargers. “Taken together, these are very encouraging measures which will all require a highly skilled and accredited workforce to deliver the necessary changes and make the most of those opportunities. NAPIT and its members will be key to ensuring there are sufficient skilled installers in the electrical, heating, plumbing, ventilation, microgeneration and building fabric trades across the UK domestic, commercial and industrial markets. “I hope that Government will work with industry schemes and training providers to ensure the ambitious targets in the new bills can be met.” For more from NAPIT, click here.

Direct Line reveals most physically active workers in the country
New research from Direct Line Business Insurance reveals tradespeople are among the nation’s fittest workers, as they average 27 hours a week of physical activity - which is 11 times the NHS’ minimum recommendation of two and a half hours' exercise. It’s no secret that a tradesperson’s job is more physically demanding than the average desk job, with these skilled professionals keeping physically active for 22 hours per week at work. In addition, tradespeople are keeping fit outside of work, with an additional five hours of physical activity completed per week on average at the gym and through sport. The majority of tradespeople polled felt positive about their health, with 76% claiming to lead healthy lives and 87% agreeing that they are very physically active. Almost three quarters (71%) of tradespeople say they actively track their physical activity and calories burnt using fitness trackers to understand what they may need to eat to ensure energy levels are maintained. Because of the physical exertion involved in the job, more than a quarter (29%) of tradespeople say they regularly eat more than the average recommended daily calorie allowance, to ensure they are properly fuelled for the demands of their jobs. When it comes to the most physically demanding jobs, roofers (23 hours), carpenters (22 hours) and plumbers (22 hours) clock up the most hours of work-related physical activity per week. Kitchen fitters (6.33 hours), tilers (5.89 hours) and plasterers (5.86 hours) averaged the most additional hours of physical activity per week. Despite their already active schedules, all tradespeople completed more than four hours of additional physical activity per week, highlighting that many tradespeople are health conscious. Hours of physical activity and additional activity per week by trade: 1. Roofer (23.03 hours of work-related physical activity per week; 5.26 hours of additional physical activity per week) 2. Carpenter (21.84; 5.35) 3. Plumber (21.84; 4.79) 4. Electrician (21.47; 5.33) 5. Builder (20.72; 5.46) 6. Painter/decorator (20.56; 5.34) 7. Plasterer (20.28; 5.86) 8. Insulation installer (20.11; 4.97) 9. Handyman/woman (20.10; 5.21) 10. Tiler (19.58; 5.89) 11. Kitchen fitter (19.32; 6.33) 12. Landscaping/tree surgeon (18.93; 4.84) 13. Carpet installer/ flooring (17.76; 5.43) 14. Reupholster/furniture (16.40; 5.35) Alison Traboulsi, SME Product Manager at Direct Line Business Insurance, comments, “Tradespeople do not need to seek inspiration from footballers in Germany or athletes in Paris to get active. They are setting a great example for us all by being active outside of work despite the physically demanding nature of their jobs. It is also encouraging to see that two thirds (64%) of tradespeople prioritise their mental health as the two go hand in hand.” For more Direct Line Business Insurance, click here.

Electrician apprenticeships more popular than any other trade
New data has revealed that electrician apprenticeships are the most popular trade and construction apprenticeships in the UK. Trade Fix Direct investigated 50 trades and construction apprenticeships to find out which were the most commonly searched for in major cities across the UK. Apprenticeships to train to become an electrician took the top spot, with an average of 3,510 monthly searches, whilst plumbing and bricklaying apprenticeships came in second and third, respectively. The UK’s most searched trades and construction apprenticeships, in full: 1. Electrician (3,510 average monthly searches) 2. Plumber (2,970) 3. Bricklayer (1,700) 4. Carpenter (1,440) 5. Architect (1,090) 6. Quantity surveyor (790) 7. Civil engineer (730) 8. Welder (460) 9. Painting and decorating (390) 10. Plasterer (320) Whilst in the majority of major cities an electrician apprenticeship was most popular, London residents were split between taking this training and undertaking a plumbing apprenticeship. Those from Nottingham were split between three different trades the most, with plumbing, bricklaying and electrician apprenticeships ranking in joint first position for average monthly searches. Cardiff residents were most split between plumbing and carpentry apprenticeships, as well as training to become an electrician. Commenting on the findings, Paul Kershaw from Trade Fix Direct says, “Applying for an apprenticeship can be a fantastic way to acquire a relevant qualification, whilst gaining on-the-job experience. It’s clear to see that, across major UK cities, those researching trade and construction apprenticeships are most interested in the training required to become an electrician. “If you’re thinking of applying for an apprenticeship in the trade and construction sector, there are a number of different roles to explore. Be sure to check out the relevant entry requirements and be proactive in securing a training provider, through means such as the apprenticeship training service.”

IronmongeryDirect adds new tools to its product offering
Specialist supplier, IronmongeryDirect, has added to its range an extensive selection of tools and tool accessories to help tradespeople working on every kind of project. Included are over 400 additions from renowned brands, Ox Tools, Timco and Prodec, with products such as hand saws, screwdrivers, tape measures, spirit levels, chisels, hammers, tool storage, as well as PPE and more - the majority of which are now in stock for next day delivery. Offering superior engineering and reliability, the OX Tool collection now available from IronmongeryDirect spans over 200 tools. The range includes the OX Pro Hand Saw - a blade with an integral angle stop for 45° and 90° degrees which is built into the handle for enhanced precision. Meanwhile, the robust build of the saw provides improved stability when making precise cuts. Also in stock is the Ox Pro Heavy Duty Bar Clamp, with various length options available. The steel clamp boasts exceptional durability thanks to its heavy-duty construction and a high clamping force of 150kg. In addition, TPR (Thermoplastic Rubber) jaw pads protect surfaces from damage. A further 150 construction tools have been brought in from specialist brand, Timco. Offering high quality essentials, the range includes the Bevel Edge Wood Chisel set featuring three chisels with 12mm, 19mm and 25mm blade widths. Also available are Timco’s 8 inch Cable and Wire cutters, featuring hardened Cr-V jaws that make them ideal for cutting copper and aluminium cables. They also have ergonomic soft-grip handles for ease of use, and to reduce slipping. For decorating projects, IronmongeryDirect now stocks over 80 products from ProDec, such as the unique Ice Fusion Synthetic Paint Brush set. Featuring three brushes which provide mark-free finishes, this set is ideal for high-precision painting jobs. Also in stock is the Twin Head Mini Paint Roller and Tray set, which is ideal for achieving rapid coverage in awkward to reach spaces, such as behind radiators and pipes. The mini rollers give a superb, trade quality finish for emulsion, gloss or satin paints on interior surfaces. Also now available is a Step Ladder from ProDec, which can hold a maximum weight of 150kg. A compact and lightweight alternative to bulky ladders, it is foldable for easy storage whilst offering an ideal height to reach most modern ceilings. Carrie Earl, Category Manager at IronmongeryDirect, comments, “We are pleased to add these exciting new lines to our portfolio of over 18,000 products. This is our first collection of tools which we have specially selected to offer our customers key essentials to help them deliver projects from start to finish. The new range is in stock for next day delivery and all part of our commitment to provide the trade with a huge choice of quality products from leading brands they can trust.” For more from IronmongeryDirect, click here.

NICEIC acknowledges outcome of the general election
Following the outcome of the general election, NICEIC has announced that it supports the new government's plans to tackle the skills gap, accelerate the transition to net zero, and reform building regulations. Paul Collins, Technical Director at NICEIC, notes, “We believe these priorities align closely with the needs of our certified businesses and the wider industry.” On 5 July 2024, Prime Minister Keir Starmer announced his cabinet following Labour’s win in the UK general election: - Ed Miliband assumed the role of Secretary of State for Energy Security and Net Zero. As Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (2008 to 2010), he oversaw the introduction of the UK Climate Change Act 2008, making the UK the first country to legally commit to climate targets. In an official statement, Ed Miliband outlined key objectives for addressing the climate crisis, including boosting energy independence, upgrading homes, and leading international climate action. - Rachel Reeves was appointed Chancellor of the Exchequer. During her first speech as chancellor, Rachel Reeves declared an end to the ban on new onshore wind projects in England, paving the way for a surge in onshore wind installation. - Angela Rayner assumed the role of Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government, and Deputy Prime Minister. Labour’s manifesto pledged to address the housing crisis through a combination of policy reforms, increased homebuilding, and support for first-time buyers. While it is too early to see how these changes will unfold, NICEIC expects to see a wave of policy and regulatory changes soon. The exact nature and extent of these changes remains uncertain until there is further clarity from the government. Paul Collins continues, “Our commitment to public safety and the transition to net zero is reinforced through our continued work with the Building Safety Regulator, MCS, and the Department for Energy Security and net zero. By advocating for our industry, we are actively helping to shape the future of the sector. NICEIC’s certification and training services remain essential to ensure the current workforce is delivering the high standards needed to address the current skills gap and meet demands for low carbon technologies.” NICEIC is continuing to closely monitor developments and is providing NICEIC-certified businesses with updates. For more from NICEIC, click here.

KNIPEX launches ‘Innovation Bundle’ competition
KNIPEX, a manufacturer of pliers, has launched a new competition offering entrants the chance to win an exclusive tool bundle, packed full of its latest innovations for 2024. The competition, open until 30 November, features a collection of some of KNIPEX’s most innovative and versatile tools, along with practical and durable tool storage solutions. The winner will receive the following prize bundle: • Modular X18 Tool Backpack • Module Bag • Module Adapters Set • StepCut XL Cable Cutter • TubiX S Pipe Cutter • Stripping Knife David Barnes, Marketing Manager for KNIPEX UK, comments, “We are delighted to celebrate the launch of our innovations for 2024 with this competition. This prize bundle is packed with tools and storage solutions that save time and make the working day easier. “The backpack and bag also mean you can store your tools safely when you’re on the move, and they also look very smart and professional. Good luck with your entry.” To enter the competition, click here. For more from KNIPEX, click here.

ETT seeks feedback on electric shock frequency
Northern Ireland charity, Electrical Training Trust (ETT) - which provides training, advice, and support services to the electrical industry - is calling on all electrical workers and electrical apprentices to participate in a vital survey aimed at understanding the frequency, consequences, and reporting practices relating to electric shocks in the workplace. Electric shocks can lead to severe and life-changing injuries or fatalities. In 2013, the Health and Safety Executive released a publication highlighting that over 1,000 electric shocks or electric burns are reported each year, with around 30 being fatal. The report also states that many incidents go unreported. Charlotte Bamber, CEO of ETT, comments, “By collecting data from workers in the industry, we aim to gain insights into the prevalence of electric shocks and reporting behaviours, which is crucial to develop effective prevention and safety measures. “By participating in this survey, electrical workers from across Northern Ireland are helping to shine a light on electric shock incidents that often go unreported, and they will be contributing to creating a safer industry for everyone.” The survey is part of the wider 'Save Our Sparks' campaign, an initiative inspired by Michael’s Story, a 26-year-old qualified and experienced electrician who was electrocuted and tragically died. His death could have been prevented had his employer ensured safe working practices were being carried out, including safe isolation. Dr. Bryan Monson, Deputy Chief Executive of the Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI), has lent his support to the initiative. He says, “The electric shock survey as part of the Save Our Sparks NI campaign is an essential step towards enhancing workplace safety in the electrical industry. “Accurate data on electric shocks will enable industry to more effectively address safety concerns and implement strategies that protect workers' health and lives.” Individuals can complete the NI Electric Shock Survey by clicking here.

Screwfix LIVE to return this September
Screwfix LIVE, the omnichannel retailer’s flagship event dedicated to the trade and DIY enthusiasts, is returning to Farnborough in September. The free to enter show is returning Friday 27 September – Sunday 29 September at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre, with even more exclusive show deals and leading suppliers. Furthermore, visitors who register for the event can claim a free goodie bag at the show worth over £40. With more than 180 leading trade brands under one roof, customers and families will enjoy three days of live product demonstrations, entertainment for children and adults, appearances from special guests, and so much more. Max Britten, Screwfix Managing Director, says, “We’re excited to be back in Farnborough for another year of Screwfix LIVE. We can’t wait to welcome our customers and suppliers. Every year Screwfix LIVE gets bigger and better, with even more top brands and the latest innovations in the trade.” Last year, Screwfix LIVE celebrated its tenth anniversary with a record-breaking event. Over 19,500 visitors attended across the weekend and had the chance to meet celebrity guests including football legend John Barnes, TV presenter and Olympic champion Samantha Quek, and comedian Iain Stirling. Screwfix LIVE will also host the final of Screwfix Top Tradesperson on Friday 27 September. The competition is now in its 15th year, championing tradespeople across the UK and Republic of Ireland. Ten skilled finalists will face a panel of industry experts, including 2023 champion Astrid Arnold, to determine who will be crowned Screwfix Top Tradesperson 2024 and take home a bundle of tools, tech and training worth £20,000. To register your place at this year's event, visit screwfixlive.com. For more from Screwfix, click here.