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.
Watching Europe regain Golf's Ryder Cup you cannot fail to witness the emotional scenes displayed by the winning Europeans.
Of course winning an event such as the Ryder Cup will always spark emotions from the winning team but I believe the success and especially the margin of victory for Europe over their opponents USA comes down to a major factor, which is that Europe play as a team.
Yes, in golf, football, rugby and any team sport to succeed at the highest level there is no doubt you require individuals with the highest skill and ability but individuals with the highest skill and ability is not necessarily always a good thing if they don't have the fire and commitment to fight for and help other members of their team.
You can relate to this throughout any team sport at any level from kids through to world class teams and you can also relate to this in business.
As an employer with a growing team of electricians ideally I require a team who can carry out as many of the different skillsets and services required from an electrician but I would be foolish to believe every single electrician on my team can carry out all the different skills and services required.
Training and guidance is provided to each individual for them to gain new skills over a course of time but I must initially work with my team around the capabilities of the individuals.
And while training and guidance takes place I will be working and reminding each individual that they are part of a team, that when one person wins and completes a job that the end customer is happy about then it is a win and accomplishment for us all - for our team.
We win together and we also pull together when required. Team members digging deep and helping each member of their team to succeed the same way as they would do so for themselves is the ultimate goal for leaders in team participation.
So in your own world of team's whether that be in sport, business or work what more can you do to help out another team member say solve that problem, move the project forward, complete that task, give them a helping hand or provide support and motivation at your next game or match.
One for All and All for One.
Oh, and what a brilliant team effort and victory - well done Europe.
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.
I admit it’s taken me many years to realise but if you own a business or looking to progress your career this is the best investment of your time.
Celebrating with the boys #Stirlingmarathon
New PB 3h49m55s - 9 minutes faster than last year.
Thank you to all for the support and donations. #stirlingmarathon #stirling #scotland#running #ukrunchat #ukrunning
The response has been fantastic to our Stirling Electrical Services Apprenticeship Trials which opened for applications just last week.
We have an application form live on our website for suitable candidates to submit, so if you know anyone looking to have the chance to start their journey to becoming a qualified electrician please forward these details onto them.
The application form can be found at this link.
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.
This past week has seen an upsurge in calls for tighter regulations over electrical white goods after a recent study suggested faulty appliances could "cause 60 fires a week".
The issue has even been on the agenda of our local Stirling MP Stephen Kerr who, in his latest Stirling Observer newspaper column(see below), said he has been involved in looking into this matter at UK Government level.
MP Kerr's involvement and the awareness within the news media recently should be welcomed as the lessons learned after the terrible tragedy at Grenfell must be acted upon quickly.
I have been involved in the electrical industry for 25 years and while tighter regulations may indeed have to be introduced into the manufacture and warranty procedure of white goods, the lack of regulation is more widespread than just white goods - the whole electrical installation industry needs to be more tightly controlled and regulated.
You may be surprised to find that there is currently no legislation in place to prevent an individual with no electrical skills or qualifications whatsoever from placing an advert in the local newspaper advertising as an electrician, willing to undertake electrical work in homes and business premises.
The law (in Scotland) currently allows anyone to carry out most electrical work, with no mandatory formal checks to confirm that the individual has been trained and is qualified to the latest regulations.
A recent survey found that up to 2000 unqualified electrical businesses are potentially putting the safety of the Scottish public at risk - that figure is staggering and could be quite literally 'shocking'.
View the video and visit the link to read and watch the disbelief as members of the Scottish public who thought electricians were currently regulated were told that no such thing is in place.
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There are a few non-mandatory trade organisations databases including a building standards database in Scotland available for consumers to check if electricians are registered - these databases list the electrical individuals and companies who have up to date qualifications and are already committed to upholding the safety and carrying out work in accordance with the latest electrical regulations. More info for the public at SELECT website as well as at the Electrical Safety Council.
There is some hope though as Scotland's largest electrical trade organisation SELECT are determined to address the issue and improve public safety and have started a movement to regulate the electrical industry in Scotland. By making the job of an electrician a 'Profession' it would become an offence to carry out electrical work in Scotland when not qualified to do so. Did you know that a door steward in a night club has more legal and mandatory checks carried out on them than an electrician?
To give some context to the idea of regulation that affects the electrical industry, in December 2015 it became mandatory in Scotland for Private Rented Landlords to have electrical wiring testing carried out every 5 years and a short time before that date new fire safety regulations were introduced increasing the number of smoke/heat detectors installed within properties rented to private occupiers.
For the past few years at Stirling Electrical Services and at other qualified electricians in the Stirling area, we have been into many hundreds of private rented properties and because of the mandatory testing, landlords (including myself) have been 'forced' to increase the safety of the electrical installations with many life saving devices such as smoke alarms and RCD switches being introduced.
I say 'forced' because unless the mandatory testing regulation was in place then a large percentage of the rented properties would still have life-risking and fire-causing electrical problems present.
Having mandatory regulation works - the vast majority will adhere to it meaning safety to all will increase - and those that don't adhere to the rules should be punished.
Over the past year or so SELECT have been in discussion with the Scottish Government and as part of their campaign have submitted a report and evidence to support the idea of regulating Electricians.
An idea that would bring electricians and electrical work in line with gas engineers and gas work where tighter regulations already apply.
Listen below to a 2017 BBC Interview with SELECT MD Newell McGuinness about the campaign.
I have said for many years that to get a light or socket to work is relatively easy with a little knowledge, but to make sure the work involved (and the end result) is SAFE to YOU and YOUR PROPERTY is an entirely different scenario - and that is why only qualified electricians with up to date training and qualifications should be allowed to carry out electrical work in homes and businesses throughout Scotland.
If they do not have up to date electrical qualifications then it is time to stop - the kitchen fitter, plumber, joiner, man at the pub and even electricians who were qualified many many years ago but have no up to date training from carrying out most electrical work. For safety reasons electrical regulations change and are updated every few years and without up to date training and qualifications you cannot carry out electrical work to the current safety standards.
A regulated industry would also raise the standard of those electricians currently qualified as it would mean we would always be kept on our toes knowing we had to maintain our standards to remain on the mandatory register of electricians.
It is time for the electrical industry to be regulated as an equal to gas and while the current movement to increasing the safety of white goods should be welcomed I would like to make our local politicians aware of our current electrical industry situation.
As SELECT continue to have discussions with Scottish Government officials it would be reassuring to know that our own MSP Bruce Crawford is aware of the situation and I would also hope our Stirling MP Stephen Kerr would offer his support where he can - they, you and I all have homes and work in or visit business premises and it would be good to know that the person you ask to come into your property to carry out electrical work involving 230 and 400 dangerous volts of electricity is qualified and competent to do so - and that they have been audited by an official register before they come into your property.
It's time we stopped taking chances with electricity - the mandatory regulations in rented properties brought in so far have made a big difference so it's about time we went all the way and made sure the people carrying out all electrical work are trained and qualified to do so - surely life and fire safety are not worth taking a 'chance' on.
What are your thoughts on the plans to regulate the electrical industry - did you just presume the person who you let into your property to carry out electrical work was qualified, did you carry out competency checks on them beforehand ? Post your thoughts in the comments below.
Follow the campaigns latest news - https://twitter.com/regulate_SELECT
The images below are all real examples of dangerous electrical work or faults we have encountered in recent months.
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