Home Opinion “We’re faced with a shortage of skilled professionals”

“We’re faced with a shortage of skilled professionals”

Marie Parry, Group Marketing Director at Scolmore, offers her opinion on the smart technology revolution and how the wholesaler is a key player in educating the installer and making it profitable for industry.

We are in the midst of a revolution and it’s not just a smart homes revolution, but something much bigger, with the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the Internet of Things and smart technology making it a very exciting time for anyone involved in the electrical industry.

Whilst the advances in technology continue to make an impact and create a faster paced industry, they also bring their challenges.

On the one hand, technology is already an integral part of everyday life for many, in business, recreation, and in our homes, with the evolution of the smart home continuing to gather momentum. Yet as an industry we are faced with a shortage of trained skilled professionals and for many electricians, smart home integration is unfamiliar territory.

Such is the pace of development that it is proving difficult to keep up with the raft of new products and solutions that are coming on board and this is where wholesalers should be seeking the knowledge and expertise of their suppliers.

As a group, we have always put great emphasis on the importance of training and development as part of our service to customers. We want to ensure that our customers are given every opportunity to understand how the products work and how they can be utilised when working on a project.

We offer a range of training opportunities designed to keep customers up to date with the latest products, technologies and legislation, including a course aimed at contractors and wholesalers looking to expand their knowledge of home automation.

By arming themselves with latest information on products, technologies and legislation, wholesalers are in a prime position to add value to their customers. With contractors under increasing pressure to complete projects within tight deadlines and budgets, wholesalers can be advising them on products that will deliver faster installation, for example.

Thinking smart
As smart technology continues to develop, we are seeing more and more home automation integration with security systems. Those electricians who have embraced the opportunities to develop the security side of their business will be at an advantage as the integration of security and home automation continues.

However, despite the fact that they are already in possession of the necessary skills to diversify into the various aspects of security – CCTV, access control and fire safety – many electrical installers are still reluctant to do so, believing that this is a specialist area. As a result they are missing out on the potential that the security sector, estimated to be worth £2bn, can offer them.

Our fire and security division, ESP, has long been trying to educate the market that security should not be seen purely as a specialist area, especially in today’s environment, where the advancement in technology is helping bring to market products and systems that are easier than ever before to install and operate.

ESP provides free, in-house training programmes, which are aimed at electrical wholesalers and contractors who would like to add fire and security equipment to their product portfolio but feel they do not have the core knowledge to do this with confidence.

The future
Everything possible needs to be done to encourage more youngsters into the industry and to educate them about the prospects that this sector can offer them – taking them from on-site sparky to board room Director. There are a number of schemes targeting apprentices and we are pleased to have a key role to play in the annual NICEIC and ELECSA Apprentice of the Year competition, which is all about encouraging and developing the talent of the future.

For more information on Scolmore and its training programmes, visit: www.scolmore.com

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