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Regional news Spotlight on: West Midlands region Golden Decade of Sport presentation: (from left to right) Paul Wilkinson, Bromsgrove

Rugby Football Club minis and juniors chairman, Robert Chapman, director Chapmans Electrical, Steve Roberts of the ECA, and Mark Lynock from Chapmans Electrical

ECA this year developed and has been promoting in the regions. A very positive relationship

also exists with the RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors) in the region, with the ECA and the RICS working together to provide effective seminars to RICS members. In October, a seminar took place at the regional office on sustainable renewable energy, which was the first occasion at which the ECA Renewables Roadshow trailer took part. It shows renewable energy at work, with specialists available to explain how the technology works and the tariffs that are available. The ECA Renewable Roadshow is currently touring the regions, so watch out for it in your area.

Feed-in Tariffs being offered by the electricity service providers – a very keen interest in photovoltaic installations (PV).

Regional activity

Situated above the Chase Golf Club, the West Midlands Regional Office offers a well-appointed training room, which is frequently used by local member firms for board meetings and business meetings with clients. When the facility is not being used by members for business meetings, or for branch and regional meetings with members, it is being used for the

They are particularly proud of the Supervisor and Management courses that they have helped to organise this year

50 ECA Today Winter 2010

numerous training courses that the West Midlands team support each year. To the end of October, the training facility had been used for no less than 104 days. Steve Roberts is the West Midlands Regional Manager, supported by assistant Jean Billington. They are particularly proud of the Supervisor and Management courses that they have helped to organise this year, which, for those that want to go the extra mile, eventually lead to level 2 or level 3 qualifications with the Chartered Management Institute (CMI). And as Steve Roberts points out, these courses offer great incentives for members – as, on successful completion of the Supervisor or Management courses, they receive a full refund through the ECA Training Fund. This currently allows member firms to apply for up to £3,000 per year for training courses that meet the training fund criteria. This will rise to £5,000 per year in 2011. The West Midlands team are also involved in ECS invigilation, and carry out more than 2,000 ECS tests each year, some on member premises or on site, but the majority

at the regional office. In November, Steve Roberts was invited by member firm Chapman’s Electrical to attend a Digital Switchover seminar at West Bromwich Albion Football Club, a well-attended event for private and public sector clients. During the seminar, a cheque was presented to Paul Wilkinson, chairman of Bromsgrove Rugby Football Club mini and juniors, as joint sponsorship by Chapman’s Electrical and the ECA, supporting the Golden Decade of Sport initiative that the

Bob Rowley (left),

Birmingham branch chairman and Mark Lyncock, Mercia branch chairman

The future As the birthplace of the industrial revolution, the West Midlands was once known as the workshop of the world, and still today is recognised as the region with the highest proportion of manufacturing companies in the UK. Like others, the region has been hit very hard by the recession, but, says Steve Roberts, it has the skills and the ingenuity to work through the hard times and come out the other side fighting. That’s not to say that there won’t be casualties along the way, admits Steve, but he believes ECA members in the region have good, sound leadership skills and many are looking at new technologies to set themselves apart from other electrical contractors. With the recent government financial incentive for customers to install renewable technologies with realistic payback times, there is a real business opportunity for ECA members to become the main contractor – with the potential for far higher margins than general electrical installations. At the moment, the only missing piece of the jigsaw seems to be customer awareness of the many benefits and financial incentives available to them.

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