Call for new tack to boost electrical skills

The electrical contracting industry must change its approach to training,
recruitment and retention if it is to overcome the serious skills shortages
that it currently faces.

This was the message from Min- ister for Transport John Spellar to the
Electrical Contractors Association’s Centenary Conference.

He stressed that the sector must ensure it has the necessary skilled
workforce if it is to help deliver the next 100 years of technological

Delegates were told that more than two-thirds of electrical companies find
it difficult to recruit apprentices and a fifth of companies have electrician
vacancies they find impossible to fill.

Spellar outlined the Government’s plans to overhaul Britain’s transport
infrastructure through hi-tech solutions and stressed the proposals are heavily
dependent on the skills of electricians.

He said, "The key to delivering radical improvements in performance
lies in bringing together the right people, the right skills and the right

"That is why the three Rs – recruitment, retention, respect for people
– are so vital."

Spellar believes addressing the industry’s attitudes to people issues and
long-term planning can rectify the situation. He said, "The poor record of
the construction industry on HR and training seriously damages its image as an
employer and discourages potential recruits from joining the industry or
remaining in it."

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