Unqualified electricians must be regulated before there’s a tragedy

People’s lives are being put at risk from electrical work carried out by unqualified or incompetent ‘electricians’ the Managing Director of Scotland’s largest construction trade association, SELECT, has told national radio.

Speaking on the popular Thomas Nagy Electrical Show on Fix Radio, Alan Wilson says: Rogue tradespeople “pose dangers not only to themselves and people they might be working beside, but more importantly to the end user”.

Lack of regulation currently means anyone can claim to be an electrician and carry out electrical work in Scotland – a situation which SELECT says puts people at risk of injury and death and has led to its ongoing campaign for the title ‘electrician’ to be protected.

Mr Wilson says: “To call yourself an electrician – to have the word ‘electrician’ on your business card, in an advert in the local paper or on your van – you should have to go through a proper apprenticeship and keep your qualifications up to date, Sadly, this isn’t always the case.

“I would rather be on the front foot and be criticised for trying to prevent something happening than explain to somebody’s children or widow, ‘I’m sorry your loved one died. We were thinking of regulating the industry, but we just didn’t get around to it’.”

During his guest spot on the UK radio station for tradespeople on 2 September, Mr Wilson also said that unqualified individuals practising as electricians was not a good look for an industry trying to attract new recruits.

He says: “If you’ve done your four or five years’ of training and you then become a qualified electrician, and yet somebody down the road just puts the title ‘electrician’ on their van and has no qualifications and no training whatsoever, how galling must that be for a newly qualified person?”

He also pointed out that are currently around 117 protected titles, all protected by law and whose professionals must be registered to use them.

“Nurses, doctors, teachers and even night club bouncers are protected,” Mr Wilson explains. “If you want to shoe a horse, you have to be regulated – it’s a protected title. You can’t call yourself a farrier unless you are a member of the scheme and have been through training.

“You can’t go off to your local stables and say, ‘Give me a shot of that – I’ll put that shoe on that horse.’ But yet you can come along and wire my house.”

SELECT is seeking the introduction of protection of title for the profession of electrician alongside partner bodies, including The Scottish Joint Industry Board, Unite the Union and the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust.

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