For many 2016 was a successful year and we were delighted to see our members retaining a positive outlook as shown in our major surveys throughout the year, including one on the implications of Brexit!
However, as we start 2017, I have already been reading in the media how our industry is going to face strong headwinds driven by the uncertainty created by Brexit; the already evident increases in material prices caused by the fall in the value of Sterling; and the challenges brought about by the shortage of high quality skilled people. Add this to the challenges of running businesses in an ever more complex environment, often in non-collaborative supply chains, and you could be forgiven for wondering why anyone does it at all.
But the great thing about ECA members is that they retain their positive outlook and they continually invest in their businesses – and particularly in their people. This is not only laudable, it is very good business logic, because there are more than enough commercial opportunities out there for well run businesses. For instance, only this week I was reading about how construction new orders are at an 11 month high, the growth in energy management services, and just take a look at the increasing role of electricity in the development of many sectors, including road and rail transport, and energy generation, storage and distribution.
As regards keeping ahead of the changes, we will be working throughout this year to make sure that our members are kept informed – usually before others – about the important future trends and opportunities. This applies to those brought about by changing government policy and market changes, and by technological developments, including of course the upcoming changes to the 18th Edition of The Wiring Regulations.
We are also committed to developing even stronger links with the wider industry and have as a result updated the different ‘associate’ relationship opportunities that will add value and opportunity to ECA members.
We will also be improving access to our regular communications, helplines and regional support teams. This includes running numerous free roadshows and conferences around our branches and regions, giving members the opportunity to learn something valuable for their own businesses development, network with other businesses and to contribute to ECA representational positions which we use to positively influence national standards and policy. We will also be segmenting our communications and forums further, to reflect the varying needs of different sized and specialised businesses.
I am continually asked to communicate the breadth of the services and value ECA can offer to its members. The challenge is that there is so much variety and depth to this support, but I hope this leaflet will help to highlight some of the benefits and services available.
To find out more and get 2017 started properly, I would encourage you to actively engage with us and your fellow contractors, to access the fantastic value that is available to you, and to help us to influence, so that together we can achieve our aim of leading our industry and our member-organisations to future growth and prosperity.
Happy New Year and I wish you all every success for 2017.