ECA unveils new charter to recharge electrical skills

ECA unveils new charter to recharge electrical skills

The Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) has unveiled a new charter to recharge electrical skills at a reception in the House of Commons.

The charter, supported by ECA Member businesses, parliamentarians and other stakeholders, aims to secure the growth of the skilled electrical workforce, which is significant in reaching the UK’s net zero goals.

Electrification, ranging from heat pumps, solar panels, energy storage and electric vehicle charging, has emerged as an essential component of the UK’s decarbonisation plans. Newer infrastructure for businesses, households and communities necessitates the expertise of a qualified electrician for installation and commission. 

ECA maintains the belief that to create more ‘green jobs’ in the future, it is a requirement to have an appropriately trained and thriving electrical workforce. It should commence with a solid foundation of trade competence, achieved through a multi-year electrical apprenticeship, and supplemented by specialised upskilling training in specific net zero technologies. 

To accomplish this in England, ECA believes three main changes are necessary:

  • Policymakers engaging directly with the electrical sector.
  • A 30% uplift in English electrical apprenticeship places, in addition to the 40% growth already achieved.
  • Restoring the severely broken skills pipeline connecting college-based education and employment in the industry.  

In a reception at Westminster on 27 November, leading parliamentarians such as Alan Whitehead, Minister of Shadow Energy, and various ECA Members called for the government to collaborate with the sector and reconsider the recruitment process by preparing electricians for the opportunities and challenges associated with a net zero world.

Leading ECA members such as T Clarke, NG Bailey, Dalkia and Clarkson Evans have joined the association. The initiative is geared towards placing qualified electricians at the heart of net zero efforts. It involves prioritising funding towards industry-endorsed pathways to qualified status, supporting small businesses in hiring apprentices, and closely monitoring the outcomes of classroom-based courses.

The charter was signed by the following attendees: Alan Whitehead MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, John Spellar MP, ECA Vice President Ruth Devine, CEO of JTL Chris Claydon, CEO of FETA Chris Yates, and many more.

Speaking at the event in Parliament, Andrew Eldred, Director of Workforce and Public Affairs said, “Competent, qualified electricians are indispensable for a safe and reliable transition to net zero. We already have a strong national skills base, and the growth in the workforce that is required is entirely achievable – but we need public policy to support and assist industry in achieving this goal, rather than obstructing or undermining it.

“The inconvenient truth is that a great deal of the public money currently being ploughed into classroom-only electrical qualifications and ‘green skills’ boot camps in England is going to waste. This money would be far better spent on training routes co-created and recognised by the industry, boosting up the nation’s population of competent, qualified electricians and then upskilling them to install and commission the technologies of the future.”

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