Contractors need HR overhaul, warns minister

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

This was the message from
Minister for Transport  John Spellar to
the Electrical Contractors Association centenary conference.

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

Delegates were told that over
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 Government
plans to overhaul Britain’s transport infrastructure through hi-tech solutions
that will involve a major restructuring of the rail system and motorways, and
stressed that 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 attitudes.

“That is why the three ‘R’s – recruitment,
retention, respect for people – are so vital.”

The minister believes
addressing the industry’s attitudes to people issues and long-term planning can
rectify the situation.

He continued, “The poor record
of the construction industry on HR and training seriously damages its image as
an employer and discourages potential recruits of all abilities from joining
the industry or remaining within it.”

“The industry needs to take
action today to ensure the workforce is equipped with the right skills to meet
this demand.”

By Phil Boucher

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