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ECA Skills Shortage Warning

Speaking after her inauguration as the first female President of the ECA, Diane Johnson gave a stark warning about the skills shortage in the UK:

Diane warned that the country was sitting on a ticking time bomb and warned about the future consequences of failing to develop home grown talent. She said: “All too often the valuable role of our tradespeople is ignored. When we are no longer able to call on a qualified

electrician, plumber or joiner, for example, to carry out essential work in our homes and businesses, because they are in such short supply, it will be too late. I worry about what the landscape will look like in 10 years and who will be teaching our future captains of industry.

“For too long now the emphasis in the UK has been on University education rather than on-the-job skills training, with the craft route often seen as a lesser option. But I have young graduates

knocking on my door with increasing regularity asking for the chance to learn a trade as their degree has proved almost worthless in the job market.

“What people often forget is that qualified tradespeople will often go on to set up their own businesses and become employers themselves. Without this natural pattern of events taking place the future looks very bleak.”

New NICEIC Solar PV course

NICEIC has introduced a new Solar PV course to support its Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) for Installers. The course provides electrical contractors with valuable knowledge and skills about this important energy generating technology. The new course will cover the majority of small scale systems currently being installed in the UK and provide an overview of the design, installation, commission and service of Solar PV systems.

“NICEIC is at the forefront in promoting microgeneration and we encourage all electrical contractors to get involved with this growing sector,” says Wayne Terry, NICEIC’s Head of Energy and Environment. “NICEIC’s new Solar PV course provides an excellent way to acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to maximise the revenue generating opportunities microgeneration offers.” More details at

HSE fine for electric shock incident

A Staffordshire company has been fined a total of £3,000 after one of its employees suffered a serious electric shock from one of its machines. The Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

prosecuted an engineering company after one of its workers was taken to hospital suffering from burns to his legs, chest, fingers and wrist. The steel fabrications company pleaded guilty

to breaching Regulations 4( 2 ) and 6 ( a ) of the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. The worker was helping to manually load the

saw before his colleague cut a length of metal handrail. He was not involved in the operation of the machine, which wasn't even switched on at the time, yet he still suffered an electric shock.

Following the hearing the HSE inspector involved said:

"Ben Roberts was very lucky as faulty wiring and electricity can kill. Every year there are around 1,000 incidents reported to HSE involving electric shocks or burns, around 30 of them fatal.

"One of the main causes of incidents involving electricity, as it was in this case, is the use of poorly-maintained equipment.

"The cable was too long, allowing it to droop onto the workshop floor without any protection, where metal filings were present. The design of the machine was not suitable for the conditions of the workshop, and in many respects this was something just waiting to happen." 5

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