In what is being seen as a critical juncture in the campaign by Scotland’s electricians for professional recognition, an MSP has formally raised a motion addressing the issue in the Scottish Parliament.
The move, by Jamie Halcro Johnston, Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP for the Highlands and Islands, is the latest step forward in a determined campaign by SELECT for official recognition of qualified and competent electricians in the interests of public safety.
SELECT, the trade body for the electro-technical trade in Scotland, has already been instrumental in establishing a government working group which has been investigating how protection of title can be introduced for electrical professionals, which will help safeguard the public.
The motion, which recognises the training and experience which properly qualified electricians require to hold, is supported by Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSPs Jackson Carlaw, Annie Wells, Jeremy Balfour, Tom Mason, Peter Chapman, Donald Cameron Miles Brigg and Liam Kerr, Scottish Labour Party MSPs, Jackie Baillie and Neil Findlay as well as the leader of the Lib Dems in Scotland, Willie Rennie, and Lib Dem MSP, Mike Rumbles.
Mr Halcro Johnston said: “Recognition of the vital role that qualified electricians play in safeguarding all parts of Scottish society is long overdue. These are highly-trained, competent and qualified professional people whose contribution to modern life is immense.
“This is also a public safety issue. Protection of title will help to weed out those who, despite being untrained, pose as qualified electricians and it will help ensure the safety of homeowners across the country.”
Newell McGuiness, SELECT Managing Director, said: "This is a crucial step in our hard-fought campaign for recognition and we are optimistic that the motion will make MSPs aware of the importance of the issue.
“The Government’s own statistics have shown that 69% of all accidental fires in Scottish homes are caused by electricity and unqualified workers pose a distinct and continuing threat to safety in Scottish homes.”
Mr Halcro Johnston’s motion asks Holyrood to note the calls supporting the principle of the regulation of electricians and points out that, while more than 100 regulated professions exist in the UK – including gas engineers – there is no protection afforded to electricians.
It asks Parliament to appreciate that improperly-installed electrical work creates a significant risk of fire as well as other harm to householders and that the installation of electrical work by unqualified or only partly qualified individuals carries a safety risk.
It goes on to highlight a SELECT survey which suggested that 93% of householders would expect someone claiming to be an electrician to be properly qualified and that 89% were not aware of how to check qualifications.
Finally, it asks for acknowledgement of calls for the Scottish Government to consider how the Parliament’s powers over protection of title can be utilised to reassure the public of the safety of electrical work in domestic and non-domestic premises.
SELECT's 1250 member companies account for around 90% of all electrical installation work carried out in Scotland. They have a collective turnover of around £1 billion and provide employment for 15,000 people.