Page 5: Electrical contracting
The Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) and SELECT (the Trade Association for the electrical, electronics and communications systems industry in Scotland) work to improve industry standards by:
- promoting high quality work
- creating opportunities for advanced training
- participating in standards setting bodies.
ECA members employ over 30,000 people and support 8,000 apprentices in their craft training. SELECT members employ 12,000 in Scotland and support 2,400 in craft training. The electrical installation industry provides services to many industry sectors, including building, engineering, offshore, medical and electronics - from plugs to power stations, from fibre optics to factories, from scanners to satellites. The Associations serve the whole electrotechnical industry, including electrical installation, safety & security systems, information technology, telecommunications, electronics and control systems.
Association membership indicates to customers that a contractor is operating within strict quality controls. All members have to meet demanding criteria before being accepted, and are regularly inspected. They must have insurance and abide by codes of conduct. The Associations encourage recognition of the skills in electrical installation work and press government to introduce regulations that enhance public safety and consumer protection. They are heavily involved in schemes to promote training programmes and qualifications that meet national standards. They also promote the electrotechnical Modern Apprenticeship which leads to a National Vocational Qualification (NVQ3) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ3) in Scotland.
Further information about these Associations can be found at www.eca.co.uk and www.select.org.uk
Financial services: BSA
The Building Societies Association, (BSA), represents an important sector of the financial services industry. All of the UK’s 65 building societies are BSA members, and 15 million adults have building society savings accounts. The BSA has been a major promoter of the principle of mutuality whereby financial institutions owned by their member-customers are likely to offer a good deal because they do not have external shareholders in search of dividends.
- helped establish the All-Party Building Societies and Financial Mutuals Group, where interested politicians meet to discuss issues related to mutuality
- has developed proposals to enable building societies to offer better services to their customers (often involving changes in the laws governing building societies)
- works closely with UK universities to produce research reports - eg
- on savings, mortgages and mutuality
- co-operates with the Financial Services Authority to create better industry regulation and improved customer service.
The BSA has discussed with the government and many others ways of tackling key social issues, including:
- social exclusion - e.g. helping individuals who, being without accounts, have difficulty in paying bills, accessing cash, and insuring their possessions
- provision of a service in areas where the large banks have closed their branches
- finding the best ways to advise people having difficulty repaying their loans.
Further information about the Building Societies Association can be found at www.bsa.org.uk