A massive thank you to all our team plus friends, family, suppliers, delivery drivers and our postman who all donated towards the Macmillan Cancer Support Coffee morning recently held at our Stirling Electrical/Alarms office.
22 years ago today (8th October) my business life began with an electrical job at Smiths Restaurant in Stirling.
It's been a long journey since then with so many ups and downs and so many wins and losses where every day there is another lesson to be learned.
Thank you to all who have supported me and Stirling Electrical Services Ltd. (SES) over the past 22 years, especially my very supportive wife.
My new podcast is now available where I will discuss business, fitness and family.
Hopefully I will provide some words of wisdom along the way.
The podcast is available to listen and subscribe to on a host of popular platforms including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.
Full details are on my new podcast page.
It is Scottish Apprenticeship week and at Stirling Electrical Services we are pleased to offer our support and commitment to employing and training apprentices.
Every one of our existing skilled team members are either currently an electrical apprentice or our qualified electricians including myself have all progressed to full electrician status via the recognised electrical apprenticeship scheme in Scotland organised by SECTT.
The value of apprenticeships should never be underestimated and in my opinion apprenticeships should be more widely encouraged within secondary education.
Each one of our electrical apprentices have to train for at least 4 years combining college theory and practical learning work as well as gaining on-site experience working alongside our qualified electricians.
I fully support the drive this week to increase awareness highlighting the important role that apprentices can play within businesses and the long term benefits they can bring.
Right from the very beginning of Stirling Electrical Services in 1996 I have always been keen to employ apprentices within the business.
So during this important Scottish Apprenticeship Week I am pleased that we have made a double Apprentice commitment.
Firstly we have this week employed a 3rd year electrical apprentice who unfortunately was made redundant at his previous company in late 2017.
Qualifying as an electrician after 4 years of apprentice training can set people on the road to a rewarding career and with 3 years apprenticeship training under his belt it was important to take this apprentice under our wing and help him train and study over the coming months to allow him to prepare for his final electrical exam.
Secondly we are also committing to employing a new 1st year electrical apprentice during the Autumn college intake with a commitment to employ them for the duration of their 4 year apprenticeship training. We will announce more details around May this year regarding how people can apply.
Apprenticeships are crucial for the electrical industry, fast track electrical training courses are a waste of space and I would argue even dangerous for the electrical industry.
For those that are considering an apprenticeship especially in the skilled trades then don't let anyone including school careers advice put you off from becoming an apprentice. If you turn up with an attitude to put in the hard work and commit to learning your trade then an apprenticeship can be a worthwhile long-term career move.
It should be rather embarrassing for an electrical business to be plunged into darkness but like tens of thousands of other businesses across Scotland we have been closed and left in the dark for the past few days due to the heavy snow.
With snow falling and the unprecedented red weather snow warning looming we took the decision to close last Wednesday at 14.30 and as the snow continued to fall and aided by the windy conditions the roads deteriorated quickly so for safety reasons travelling was a no go meaning we were also closed on Thursday and Friday.
I can't remember another time in nearly 25 years of business that we have had to totally close for a full working day but the safety and wellbeing of our team members comes first.
Some of our team have been out and about this weekend clearing snow from our office car park and we plan to flick the ON switch on Monday and have our services operate near to normal as possible.
We had to cancel many jobs last week and will review our job schedule over the coming days and look to reschedule those cancelled jobs as soon as we can.
It has been a frustrating past few days for us all whether in business or parents having to make alternative plans due to schools being closed and I ask that our customers show us a little patience over the coming week as we look to turn the lights back up to full brightness as soon as possible.
Below some photos of our office snow clearing work.
2018 is already shaping up to be a busy year for us and we are looking to expand our team with a number of job vacancies available ranging from Electrician, Security Engineer and Pat Tester.
If you know anyone who can match these skills or who currently work at other local companies but may want a new direction and challenge then please pass on our details.
More information at: http://www.stirlingelectrical.co.uk/recruitment
Our security system team are featured in the October 2017 issue of Professional Security Installer Magazine.
Interview with Scott McLean - Stirling Alarms
Do you use a distributor or buy direct from manufacturers?
For intruder alarm products we mainly go through the manufacturer RISCO but for other products we use our network of electrical distributors.
Is third party accreditation beneficial to you?
Most definitely. We have been an accredited member of SELECT (The Electrical Contractors Association of Scotland) since 2005 for our electrical work. When we rebranded our security division in November 2015 as ‘Stirling Alarms’ we had no hesitation in applying for NSI membership. Just three months later we were accredited as Systems Silver and in August 2017 we were delighted to achieve NSI NACOSS Gold level. We pride ourselves in our customer service and being a member of these highly reputable accreditation bodies gives our clients the reassurance of our technical ability and good business practices and standing.
What would be a typical project for you?
Locally we are seen as a go to company for faults, maintenance and testing so we are involved in a mixture of repairing and servicing older security systems as well as our installation service for homes and businesses where we install a mixture of smartphone controlled and monitored/police systems. Our CCTV installs have also increased recently especially for the domestic market where we install a mixture of HD and IP systems. Our well-established electrical service and customer base also gives us an opportunity to increase our security system business.
Do you think there is a skills shortage in the industry? Any trouble recruiting?
In our industries it is important to employ engineers with not only the required technical skills but also excellent customer service awareness and this helps us focus in on individuals when recruiting. Making sure every person works for the whole team and not just solely for their own best interest is crucial and we look to employ for the long term so we can be selective when choosing candidates.
Are there any common requests from customers that give you problems? (ie impossible expectations).
A high number of our security system installs now come with apps on smart device and computers. While setting up these apps initially to the system at the time of install is relatively straightforward our aftersales support is increasing due to apps updating and not functioning correctly or the customer changing settings and not operating the apps correctly. All of this is out of our control but we are expected to return to site and help repair and change their phone or tablet settings as part of the original job.
What is the security industry’s biggest myth?
Some people believe our engineers are able to gain access and work on any existing intruder alarm system. If we are contacted to service and takeover a system that was installed and coded by others, we will do all we can to help but sometimes it’s just not possible.
What will be the impact of smart/home automation on the security sector?
While business opportunities in this market have already begun for installers including ourselves and it is something we are excited about, the surge in consumer retail outlets selling smart security/home automation goods has taken off and the amount of off the shelf poorer and cheaper DIY systems may have an impact in our domestic market when it comes to pricing and trying to sell professional equipment that installers know is trustworthy and reliable.
What would make your job easier?
Customers giving design specification and type of equipment more weight in they’re decision making over cost. Each install is different and we prefer to discuss and meet with the customer and give them design options which we believe to be in their best long term interest but other companies will quote with minimal equipment and less specification to win the job. We may lose out on some occasions but we believe our method is the correct way to do business.
What is your ultimate/fantasy electronic security product?
For the home environment integration between many smart home devices. Intruder, CCTV, Home Automation all voice, touch screen and smartphone app controlled. Voice activation with Apple Siri and especially Amazon Alexa is starting to play a big part in home automation and will only increase. It is possible to do all this just now by combining various systems but over the coming years systems for the mainstream will start to merge giving many security functions all within one app and system. Activation and control with voice and facial recognition will soon become a big part in our everyday life and it will be interesting to see how these are developed and integrated into security products
Will England ever win the football World Cup again?
If they do then I will hopefully not hear about it for a while because I’ll be at the top of Ben Nevis with 5 Million other Scots with no TV or Phone signal making sure we can’t hear the commentators ;-)
Seriously though, England on most occasions will always be in the latter stages of tournaments so the chance of going all the way and winning will always be close to achieving.
If you won £25,000 what would you do with it?
I plan to invest it all back into my company and team of course…. until my wife finds out.
We've been featured in many local newspapers and industry publications over the past few weeks as news spreads about our NSI NACOSS GOLD accreditation.
Professional Security Magazine Article
Our team held a coffee morning at our office today in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support - proud of our team's effort and baking raising over £200.00 for the charity.
Praises Ring Out For Stirling Alarms
Stirling Alarms has secured a second prestigious industry medal in less than 2 years of trading.
The Fallin based firm, which offers alarms, CCTV and access control systems across Forth Valley, has been awarded gold status by the UK’s leading approvals and certification body, the National Security Inspectorate. The accreditation is the highest accolade that can be achieved in the security industry and builds on the company’s achievement of a silver medal in February 2016.
Stirling Alarms was launched in November 2015 by established local business Stirling Electrical Services, which celebrates its 21st birthday next month.
Owner Scott McLean said: “We’ve been in the electrical business for over 20 years now, but lately we’ve been making a big noise in the field of home and business security with the creation of Stirling Alarms. We created the division in response to a surge in customer demand for high tech alarms that can be controlled and maintained from anywhere in the world using a smartphone or computer. We’ve been quick to embrace this new technology and our highly skilled team are experts in the latest equipment and intelligent systems. We’re proud to have passed NSI’s rigorous audit and to have achieved gold so quickly. We have our staff to thank for their hard work, dedication and commitment to delivering the highest standards of service.”
Stirling Council Leader Scott Farmer presented Stirling Alarms with their gold medal on Friday. Commenting on the firm’s success, Councillor Farmer said: “It’s fantastic to see such a long-standing business expanding and thriving. I’m really impressed by the work Scott and his team are doing, especially their investment in the next generation through apprenticeships. Local businesses are crucial to Stirling’s economy. We must continue to support an environment that helps companies grow and create more skilled jobs locally.”
Notes to editors:
Further information about the award can be found at Stirling Alarms and Stirling Electrical Services.
For further details on NSI gold accreditation see www.nsi.org.uk
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