The Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) marked its recent AGM (May 2021) with a new team at the top and a ringing affirmation of the vital importance of apprenticeships to the future of the electrical contracting industry in Scotland.
The annual meeting of the proactive training provider elected Scott Foley (right), Regional Officer at Unite the Union, as its new Chair, with John Noble (left), Managing Director of John Noble Electrical Contractors, elected as Vice-Chair.
Mr Foley said: “I am extremely honoured to take the Chair and will endeavour to devote my best efforts to reinforcing the benefits of the Modern Apprenticeship in Electrical Installation [SCQF7] and the Final Integrated Competence Assessment [FICA].
“SECTT has a vital role to play in bringing on the talent we need to ensure the viability of the industry in the future, and it is particularly encouraging that 500 apprentices were taken on in 2020-21 despite the ravages of the pandemic. Great thanks are due to employers for their unwavering support and their continued faith in today’s young people.
“If we want young people to be the professionals we would like them to be, we have to give them the tools to do the job, and SECTT has demonstrated over the years that it is uniquely positioned to deliver on that front.”
Mr Noble, a previous President of campaigning electrical trade association SELECT, said: “I am also delighted to take on this role with SECTT. We live in an interconnected and rapidly changing world and it is clearer with each passing day that the future is electric, with renewable energy, electric vehicles, heat pumps and battery storage.
“The apprentices of today are the people we will need tomorrow as the country transitions to net zero carbon. Properly trained and qualified professionals will reassure customers, improve safety, boost consumer confidence and keep Scotland safe.”
The meeting, which was held virtually on May 26, was also attended by Anne Galbraith, SECTT CEO, Gillian Proudfoot, SECTT Finance and Office Manager and all six SECTT trustees – three from Unite and three employers. Jamie Davidson, Partner at Henderson Loggie, also presented the 2020 accounts and audit findings.
Afterwards, Ms Galbraith said: “Apprenticeships are more important than ever and we have demonstrated that FICA is the industry standard required to become an electrician. The course programme is exciting, dynamic and interactive and embraces the new and emerging technologies which will play an important part of the Scottish Government’s green agenda.
“Every aspect of being an electrician is safety critical and the FICA is now rightly regarded as a badge of honour. The SJIB Grade Card also gives customers the confidence that the electrician has been fully and comprehensively trained.
“Passing the FICA is a step on the journey, with more learning to do on the job. But it is also the necessary stepping stone to a longer and more rewarding journey – a fulfilling, long-term career as a professional electrician.”
SECTT was established in 1990 by SELECT and Unite the Union to manage the SJIB Training Scheme and today runs the only industry approved training scheme for electrical apprenticeships in Scotland, managing apprentices throughout their training from the first day at college to becoming a qualified electrician, and beyond.
During the pandemic it offered an employment lifeline to apprentices made redundant by the fallout from COVID-19 and loaned computers to electrical apprentices and trainees to allow them to continue their studies remotely.
Along with the SJIB, it also stressed the importance of preparing the next generation of electricians through the Pre-apprenticeship Programme to provide a succession of confident and well-equipped apprentices to help rebuild the post-COVID landscape.
The body has been a consistent advocate of the practical encouragement of young people and the value of meaningful training and has achieved major success in recent years, not least in establishing a new perception of the next generation of electricians by emphasising their skill, dedication and professionalism as well as the competence, confidence and maturity required to achieve their qualified status.