Unite is strongly backing a consultation by the Scottish government which would make the term electrician a protected title.
If the Scottish government grants electricians protected title status it would be an offence for anyone who was not qualified as an electrician to describe themselves as such.
Unite believes that such a measure would dramatically reduce unqualified workers installing electrical equipment which would boost public confidence and safety.
Unite has been working with SELECT (Electrical Contractors Association of Scotland), Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) and the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) to get the Scottish government to introduce protected title status for electricians.
In response to lobbying led by Unite and employers the Scottish government is now undertaking a call for evidence which close on 15 February 2019, concerning the level of substandard electrical installations and the risks this poses to the general public.
“Introducing protected status for electricians would improve consumer protection overnight as the public would know that anyone who described themselves as an electrician was properly trained and qualified. It will help drive the cowboys out of the industry,” said Unite regional officer Scott Foley.
“It is important that as many people as possible complete the petition to demonstrate the strength of feeling to ensure that the Scottish government acts to introduce protected status for electricians,” he added.
“Electricians are highly skilled and undertake a four year apprenticeship to develop and enhance their skills. It is long overdue that their skills and abilities are properly recognised and cannot be undermined.”
Unite national officer for construction Bernard McAulay added, “This is an excellent and much needed initiative. If we can ensure that these measures are passed in Scotland, Unite is committed to campaigning for the whole of the UK to introduce protected status for all electricians to be graded as approved electricians through the industries recognised S/JIB bodies.”
An electrical apprenticeship in Scotland takes four years to complete. Once an electrician has qualified they have to undertake an additional two years as an electrician, collating examples of their work experience and then successfully completing a further examination — the advanced competence assessment — to be graded as an approved electricians.