New ECA President Mike Smith, the 103rd president of the ECA, is Estimating and Sector Director at SES Engineering Services. Here he outlines the agenda for the year ahead
Having been involved with the ECA at branch and regional level for more than 20 years, I am extremely proud and honoured to take on the role of President of this great organisation and will make sure that the themes that affect us all, from the very smallest to the very largest contractor, can be dealt with in a collective way.
I started off my career as a qualified electrician, serving a four-year apprenticeship and, as well as being a professional manager and an ECA executive, still consider myself very much an electrical engineer. This background enables me to see the issues facing our sector from the point of view of the installer, as well as the way in which they affect the wider industry at both national and international levels.
There are several important themes I will be focusing on during my tenure as president:
Brexit, law and standards
Firstly, Brexit, and how it is going to affect our sector and the wider construction and services industries. The complex task of ensuring European-based legislation and standards make a useful transition into a post-Brexit UK context will require a huge amount of work. The ECA has got to be at the forefront to ensure the best possible outcome for our industry. We will be working closely with other bodies in the electrotechnical sector to ensure we are speaking with one voice to government on this crucial issue.
Skills, funding and attracting talent
It is imperative that we continue to do all we can to develop a highly skilled and motivated workforce, recruiting high-calibre trainees and apprentices to our sector. To achieve this, we need to communicate effectively the fantastic opportunities the electrotechnical sector offers young people. Some great work has already been done to work with government on this agenda, but we need to build on that to ensure that sufficient funding and placements are available for trainees in our sector.
Collaboration across the industry
Promoting greater collaboration within the engineering services industry is another important area to focus on. It is crucially important that we explore how, together, we can become more profitable, more efficient, boost productivity as an industry, and provide greater client satisfaction. We also need to raise the profile of electrical and mechanical contracting and its vital position in the supply chain and project decision-making process.
Despite the political and economic uncertainty that lies ahead, you can be assured that the ECA will engage with government on our sector's requirements and provide members with the latest information they need to ensure their businesses are well prepared for the challenges and to grasp the opportunities that lie ahead.