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More electricians needed to satisfy new technology skills demand

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 2nd May 2019

The Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) co-funded by the National Electrotechnical Training (NET) have recently released the findings of the 2019 Labour Market Intelligence report. The report gives an overview of the electrotechnical sector and the skills required to work in the sector at present and in the future.

TESP, a not-for-profit industry partnership, was put together by the Joint Industry Board (JIB), ECA, National Electrotechnical Training (NET), Unite the Union and SELECT. The partnership was created to support electrotechnical employers in order to develop and drive the industry’s skills agenda.

Concerns expressed about bridging the skills gap

The research, undertaken by Pye Tait Consulting, expressed concerns about the sectors ability to attract enough high quality new entrants into the industry to bridge the skills gap. Approximately 450 electrotechnical organisations with 19,000 employees were contacted and their findings suggest the UK will need an additional 8,500 to 10,000 electricians and 4,000 to 5,000 new apprentices over the next five years to satisfy forecasted growth.

The predicted skills increase in the sector is being driven by future and emerging technologies such as SMART technology, Wi-Fi and EV technology, as well as changes to regulations (18th edition) and public policy in areas such as fire safety and energy efficiency.

Employers believe that skilled electricians will need to do additional specialist training to evolve their knowledge and skills in-line with these new technologies. However, the following core technical skills are still perceived to be of the highest need across the sector:

Electrical installation

Electrical maintenance and repairs

Risk management and health and safety

Those Employers that were interviewed said that more must to be done to address the need for professional development of existing workers but to also encourage more electricians into the industry. Currently there are insufficient numbers of apprentices being recruited each year to meet the projected demands and even if an additional 5,000 new apprentices qualified by 2023 there would still be a skills shortfall by as many as 7,500 to 10,000 electricians.

Employers believe better recruitment can be achieved through increased industry engagement with schools and colleges and through other routes into the industry, for example those looking for a career change.

An ageing workforce and difficulties recruiting younger people puts further pressure on the sector

At present the majority of the UK’s workforce is between the age of 25 and 49 with only 15% being under 25 in England and Wales and 24% in Northern Ireland and Scotland.

An industry action plan is now in development by TESP to address the issues and recommendations raised in the report. Activity has already started to forge closer ties between industry and schools and colleges as well as activities promoting industry-recognised qualifications and the development of new careers resources. The action plan will also address how to better support small and micro businesses in the industry, as well as sole traders.

Ruth Devine, chair of TESP and managing director of SJD Electrical, said: “The TESP survey – the first of its kind in over a decade – offers not only a useful snapshot of where the electrotechnical industry and its skills-base are now but also a vital insight into the scale of the challenges we face in the immediate future. The organisations which form TESP all have a crucial part to play in shaping and coordinating the industry’s response to these challenges, and the priorities for action defined in the survey report represent an important first step. Future success will, however, also hinge on the active participation and support of other stakeholders, including Government departments and agencies, clients, training providers, other sector bodies and of course individual businesses – especially the small and micro businesses who make up our industry’s core.”

The report, which is the first in the last 10 years, provides in-depth analysis of the skills needed in the electrotechnical sector. It reinforces our belief that now, more than ever, is a great time to train in this exciting industry to carve out a career which has plenty of opportunities available to those that want to learn.

If you are interested in finding out about the courses we offer please visit our course finder page our simply view all our electrical courses. Alternatively please call to speak to a Course Adviser on 0800 856 4448, who will be happy to help.

Categories: electricians, labour market intelligence report, technology skills demand, jib, skills gap, tesp

What is a cable safe zone?

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 10th May 2018

Prysmian the UK’s largest cable manufacturer with over 100 years of experience, recently asked our tutor Mark Longley MIET to write an article on what a cable safe zone is.

Mark has worked in the electrical installation sector for just short of 30 years as an apprentice, an electrician, a maintenance electrician and an educator. He has taught everyone from apprentices through to practicing electricians wishing to improve their knowledge. While working in education he has had the honour of working as a consultant and e-learning presentor for City & Guilds, including the e-learning educators Learning Lounge.

Marks article explains that a cable safe zone, simply put, is a space in which a cable can be installed in such a position that it is not liable to be damaged by impact, abrasion or penetration.

Current Wiring Regulations

The current wiring regulations sections 522.6.201 and 522.6.202 give more exacting guidance on exactly how cables should be installed to avoid damage and potential harm to the installer and/or resident.

Cable safe zone installations in ceilings and floors

522.6.201 of the wiring regulations state that a cable installed under a floor or above a ceiling shall be run in such a position that it is not liable to be damaged by contact with the floor or ceiling or their fixings. Taking this into account a cable passing through a joist within a floor or ceiling construction, or through a ceiling support (eg. under floorboards), shall be installed at least 50mm measured vertically from the top, or bottom, as appropriate of the joist or batten, or incorporate an earthed metallic covering which complies with the requirements of these Regulations for a protective conductor of the circuit concerned, such as armoured low voltage power cable, Afumex LSX™ or mineral insulated cables.

Cable safe zone installations in walls

For walls, the ruling is slightly different. The wiring regulations state here that a cable installed in a wall or partition - at a depth of less than 50 mm from a surface of the wall or partition - has to either

i. be installed in a zone within 150 mm from the top of the wall or partition, or within 150 mm of an angle formed by two adjoining walls, or partitions. Furthermore, where the cable is connected to a point accessory, or switchgear on any surface of the wall or partition, the cable may be installed in a zone either horizontally or vertically, to the point accessory or switchgear. Keeping the safe zone close to the accessory will help act as a clear indicator for homeowners and others as to where potential cables may be located. Where the location of the accessory, point or switchgear can be determined from the reverse side, a zone formed on one side of a wall of 100mm thickness or less, or partition of 100mm thickness or less extends to the reverse side, alternatively

ii. needs to comply with regulation 522.6.204. The aforementioned regulation relates to a cable incorporating an earthed metallic covering, such as Prysmian LSX.

Walls are the most common place that homeowners and other tradespeople will encounter the risk of cable penetration by drills etc. This risk should be greatly reduced when the cables are installed within the regulations outlined above.

Protecting your cable installations

522.6.203 states Irrespective of its buried depth, a cable that is concealed in a wall or a partition, where either the internal construction includes metallic parts (such as dryline partitions) other than metallic fixings such as nails, screws etc need to be provided with additional protection. The protection should come in the form of an RCD having the characteristics specified in Regulation 415.1.1 or comply with regulation 522.6.204, which again relates to a cable incorporating an earthed metallic covering.

For more information on cable safe zones, or to get a copy of the wiring regulations to ensure best practice, please click here.

The new 18th Edition of the wiring regulations is due to be published this July with changes coming into effect in January 2019.

If you are interested in an electrical training course, please visit our Course Finder page or speak to one of our friendly course advisors on 01293 529777.

Categories: electricians, cables, safe zones

150,000 Construction Jobs To Be Created In The Next Five Years

Posted by Elaine Hammond on 8th February 2018

construction jobs on the rise

Despite the gloom around Carillion and Brexit, it is predicted that 150,000 jobs are set to be created in the construction sector over the next five years.

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) predicts that 15,350 carpenters and 9,350 labourers plus jobs for other trades will be needed as more homes are built.

The Federation of Master Builders reported that 48% of small and medium sized companies were also struggling to hire electricians and plumbers, with a further 46% finding it difficult to hire plasterers.

Chief executive of the Federation of Master Builders Brian Berry said: “Skills shortages are skyrocketing and it begs the question, who will build the new homes and infrastructure projects the government is crying out for?”

“The government has set itself an ambitious target to build 300,000 homes every year in England alone.”

“More than two-thirds of construction SMEs are struggling to hire bricklayers, which is one of the key trades in the building industry. This has increased by nearly 10% in just three months which points to a rapid worsening of an already dire situation.”

“What’s more, nearly as many are facing difficulties hiring carpenters and joiners. These figures are the highest we’ve noted since records began a decade ago.”

“As a result, the wages for these increasingly scarce skilled tradespeople continues to rise sharply; that’s a simple consequence of supply and demand.”

“On the domestic front and in the longer term, to ensure we have an ample supply of skilled workers in the future, the government must continue to work with industry to set the right framework in terms of T-Levels and apprenticeships.”

For the fourth year in a row employment is set to grow

Industry experts have forecast that output within the industry will also rise by 1.3% annually creating 158,000 jobs in the next five years. Infrastructure remains the strongest sector with an annual growth of 3.1%, with housing output also expected to grow.

However, it is also expected that commercial building will stagnate over the next five years, as investors are holding back due to the level of uncertainty with regards to England leaving the EU.

Despite this the CITB predict that for the fourth year in a row employment will grow by an average of 0.5% until 2022, which would equate to a massive 2.77 million people working in the construction industry, slightly below the peak reached in 2008.

The CITB Policy Director Steve Radley said: “Though growth is slightly down on 2017, it’s looking more balanced with housing and infrastructure both expanding significantly. And the range of job opportunities is growing. While we need to bring in lots of people in the trades, the fastest growth will be for professionals at 7.8 per cent and for managers and supervisors at 5.6 per cent.”

“By 2022, employment will be in touching distance of the heady 2008 peak so we face a massive recruitment and training challenge, which is likely to get harder after Brexit. So while we can take some comfort from weathering the recent storms, it’s vital that we make the investment in skills today that will shape our own destiny for tomorrow.”

Federation of Master Builders State of Trade Survey Q4  2017

Categories: jobs, electricians, construction

Warrington Apprenticeship Taster Week

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 2nd August 2016

Are you looking to start out as an electricians mate or apprentice? Not sure if it is the right career for you? Well to help we are hosting our first free apprenticeship taster event at the brand new Warrington training centre. The training week will take place between the 10th and 14th October. For more information visit this page.

We understand that choosing the right career path can be difficult and committing to a 3 year apprenticeship can be daunting if you’re not 100% sure. That’s why we are giving 16 – 19 year olds the opportunity to get a real feel for the electrical industry and the training to expect on an apprenticeship or electrical training course.

The course will run from Monday 10th – Friday 14th October. 

Throughout the week you will learn:

• Background to electrical contracting

• Different career paths

• The basics to electrical science

• Basic health and safety regulations

• Basic wiring regulations

• Hands on electrical installation skills on a domestic level

• Take part in a practical workshop

Our tutors will provide theory work as well as give individuals the chance to try their hand at some basic installation. You will also be given background information to electrical contracting, advised on the different ways into the industry and given a brief overview of electrical science. At the end of the week individuals should have a clearer idea of whether or not a career in electrics is for them.

For more information on the taster week contact a course advisor on 01293 529 777. Places are available to those aged between 16 – 21 years old. Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.  

Categories: apprentice, electricians, electrical training, apprenticeships