The President of SELECT has praised the “spirit of collaboration and co-operation” shown by the campaigning trade association and its members during the pandemic.

Donald W Orr said Scotland’s largest construction trade body had “played a vital role” as it helped contractors, the public and the wider construction industry overcome the dual impact of COVID-19 and Brexit.

His comments were echoed by Managing Director Alan Wilson, who said SELECT “is at the forefront of bringing about real and positive change” through its campaigning work on many issues.

The comments came in SELECT’s official Annual Review of 2020/21, which was released ahead of the association’s AGM this week.

The report highlighted the ongoing success of its long-running campaign for regulation of the industry – and also revealed that membership of SELECT had increased during the pandemic as professionals recognised the benefit of belonging to a successful trade association.

Donald W Orr

Mr Orr – who was re-elected President at the meeting on Wednesday June 2 – said: “When it comes to working together, the last year has shown the great advantages that collaboration and cooperation can bring.

“As well as our regular contact with colleagues at ECA and other trade bodies, I’ve been heartened that we have joined the new cross-industry alliance Actuate UK and hit the ground running on skills, building safety, carbon reduction and commercial issues.

“Another great example of working together is the wealth of work we have done via the Construction Industry Coronavirus (CICV) Forum. I’ve been hugely impressed by the huge amount of advice and information produced and how SELECT has helped it become a principal information hub for all COVID-related issues.

“Finally, I’m extremely pleased to see SELECT playing such a vital role in the work of EuropeOn, the organisation that represents electrical trade bodies across Europe.

“None of us could have known the uncertainty and upheaval that COVID-19 would bring, but I’m proud of how our association stepped up and adapted to every challenge. By continuing to work together, we can all help the construction industry recover, rebuild and face an uncertain future together.”

Mr Wilson echoed the President’s words, addingthat electricians will be indispensable in the battle to meet the Scottish Government’s renewables targets, providing the skills and expertise necessary to help the country achieve its net-zero carbon targets.

He said: “SELECT will continue to pursue the aims of our recent election manifesto, pressing the new government for regulation of the industry, improved procurement, fairer payment conditions and support for training to meet the growing green agenda.

“SELECT is at the forefront of bringing about real and positive change for our industry and

safeguarding the future of the people who work in it. We will continue to make it our mission to achieve the objectives in our manifesto and encourage others in government and across the sector to do the same.”

Among the milestones in the Annual Review, SELECT revealed that since its previous AGM in September 2020, along with sister organisation the Scottish Joint Industry Board (SJIB) it had:

  • Answered 6,405 telephone enquiries
  • Delivered 133 online training courses to 945 delegates
  • Issued 3,708 ECS Grade Cards
  • Registered 500 apprentices and adult trainees
  • Attracted 33,074 website visitors
  • Seen subscribers to the SELECTcerts digital certification service rise by 40%
  • Shared 74 updates via its dedicated COVID-19 hub
  • Produced 20 employment guidance documents
  • Processed 3,334 grading applications
  • Created 3,410 ECS Health, Safety and Environmental Assessments
  • Grown its social media audience by 45% on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Iain Mason, Director of Membership and Communications at SELECT, said: “This Review reflects a year in which we have been wholly focused on doing all we can to help our members, who in turn have been helping their communities by carrying out essential and emergency work safely and in line with government guidelines.

“The fact that our membership has increased from 1,243 to 1,250 firms during this difficult period, rather than falling away, suggests that businesses have recognised the benefits of belonging to a campaigning trade association that looks after its members’ interests.

“As a not-for-profit organisation, we will continue to put our members’ needs first and deliver the services and benefits they need to play a key role in the future of the industry in Scotland.”

Attended by more than 40 members and senior staff, the SELECT AGM was once again held online due to COVID-19 and featured a technical presentation by Dave Forrester, SELECT’s Director of Technical Services, on proposals for the upcoming Amendment 2 to BS 76171.

Mr Orr added: “My first year as President has been slightly unusual but I am very proud to have played a part in helping SELECT’s invaluable work prosper during this extremely challenging time.

“I also appreciate the hard work carried out by my fellow office bearers, branch members and SELECT staff as we keep progressing the work and reach of our trade association.

“I think we can all be very proud of everything we have achieved together – and know the good work will continue over the next six months into 2022 and beyond.”

  • The 2020/21 SELECT Annual Review can be downloaded here.