The Skills for Growth White Paper (BIS, 2009) drew attention to the lack of intermediate technical skills in the UK population and to insufficient recognition and status at technician level. In order to understand more about electricians within this scenario, in 2010, a collaborative group of organisations began discussions and in 2012 formed a Technical Advisory Panel and Steering Group (TAPS). The organisations were: The Institution of Engineering and Technology, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation, SummitSkills, Unite the Union, The Joint Industry Board for the Electrical Contracting Industry, Electrical Contractors’ Association and the Engineering Council.
As collaborative partners, the TAPS team focused their attention on one particular technician segment, ‘electricians’, and agreed collectively to commission a research study. The study aimed to gain insight and understanding from a participant sample group of 268 qualified electricians, contractors and final-year electrical apprentices working in domestic, commercial and industrial roles within the UK regarding their thoughts and perceptions about professionalism and recognition as electricians. In addition, insight was sought from 30 employers of electricians who were also interviewed. The Gatsby Charitable Foundation sponsored the research.
The research study was completed in autumn 2012 by a commissioned research agency, 2Europe Limited. Following detailed analysis, the findings, conclusions and recommendations were prepared for inclusion into this final report.