One of Scotland’s most revered electrical associations is marking its 100th anniversary as it seeks an injection of new blood from the industry’s younger professionals.
The centenary celebrations of The Edinburgh Electrical Society will take place on 12 November at the Charwood restaurant, exactly 100 years after the first meeting of what was then known as The Electric Club.
Since its inception in 1919, the society has organised hundreds of meetings, site visits and other events in pursuit of its simple objective to “afford members an opportunity to increase their knowledge of the practice and theory of electrical engineering”.
However, speaking to CABLEtalk magazine, the society’s treasurer, Ian Dale, has raised concerns about its long-term future as participation has fallen away. From a high point of 360 members in 1952, membership has dropped to 38 currently, with an average of 15 attending lectures during 2018/19.
Seen throughout much of its history as a prime opportunity for professionals to keep abreast of latest industry developments, membership of The Edinburgh Electrical Society was the “done thing” throughout much of its history. But despite its long track record for attracting high-calibre speakers, its future is now under a question mark.
“Continuity is the main consideration,” Mr Dale said. “Younger people have other ways to gain knowledge and feel part of the industry. “And they often work long hours which means they don’t have the time to attend meetings and visits.”
Despite these difficulties, secretary Alex Lumsden said the society continues to track the latest developments within the sector. Earlier this year, for example, members were briefed on the TEV Project, a design for a highway lane that charges electric vehicles as they drive to combat range limitation.
Mr Lumsden said it is fascinating to hear first-hand from those working on such projects, particularly amid the rapid rate of development now taking place within the electrical industry.
“We’re really keen to continue,” he added, “but we need the input and enthusiasm of younger people.”
Guest speaker at the Centenary Celebration dinner will be Alan Wilson, managing director of electrotechnical trade body SELECT. The Edinburgh Electrical Society features in the latest issue of CABLEtalk, the stakeholder magazine for SELECT.
Decisions about The Edinburgh Electrical Society’s future are expected to be made at its next annual general meeting, due to be held in April 2020.