Phil Wilbraham appointed Chair of ECS Steering Committee

The Electrotechnical Certification Scheme (ECS) is delighted to appoint Phil Wilbraham, formerly of Heathrow Airport Limited, as the new Chair of its Steering Committee. Mr Wilbraham replaces Newell McGuiness, who took on the role of Chair in 2018.

Phil previously worked for Heathrow Airport for over 17 years where he led the completion of T2, T5, and delivering Heathrow’s third runway. Phil was previously Director of Civil Engineering with TPS Consult, where he was involved in private and public-sector schemes from feasibility stage through to design, construction and completion. He has also worked both overseas and in the UK as a civil engineer for DHV and Mott MacDonald.

The ECS Steering Committee sets the strategic direction, maintains and develops the training, qualification and occupational competence standards for individual certification across a range of disciplines. Representatives on the committee come from a range of organisations spanning the entire electrotechnical industry, including contractors and electricians together with representatives from Unite, ECA, SELECT, IET, Electrical Safety First and the HSE. This combined strength is a testament to the importance which is placed on the ECS and relevance of the decisions made by the committee to support the overarching objectives.

Phil said: “‘I am delighted to take up the role as Chair of the ECS Steering Committee and I look forward to working with the committee to continue to creatively develop the strategy that will deliver the ECS plan and more. I am keen to ensure that the safety of the built environment is at the heart of everything we do.”

During his term as Chair, Newell McGuiness oversaw a number of crucial developments for the scheme, which now has over 175,000 cardholders. ECS is at the forefront of technology and digital strategy for partner schemes and this will be vital to the continued success of the scheme as ECS becomes more embedded with clients, principal and electrical contractors to improve safety in the built environment. ECS has also been at the centre of an industry move to formalise training and qualifications, raising standards and recognising those who achieve these essential competence-based qualifications.

Andrew Eldred, Director of Employment and Skills at the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA), said: “The ECS Steering Committee is extremely fortunate to have secured Phil Wilbraham as its new Independent Chair. He brings with him an exceptional industry track record, knowledge and experience, which will prove invaluable in building on the firm foundations already set by Newell McGuinness.”

Unite National Officer Ian Woodland said: “Phil Wilbraham’s astute knowledge and awareness of the industry and its position in the wider business environment will be a huge asset for the ECS Steering Committee. We are delighted that he has taken on this role and confident that he will enable the committee to continue its progress in working towards its core objectives.”

The work of the Steering Committee has been extensive over the past two years. This has included:

  • Strengthening its reach and influence achieving buy-in from the wider industry to collectively raise standards and improve safety
  • Growing the scheme to over 175,000 cardholders representing over 55% of the wider electrotechnical industry
  • Introduction of smart technology solutions including MyECS, virtual cards and ECS Check for clients and the supply chain
  • Introduction of new qualification and apprenticeship routes in a number of sectors including fire, emergency and security systems, network infrastructure, panel building, cabling and jointing, sound engineering and related disciplines
  • Recognition of ECS Check as a Licence to Practice system in Northern Ireland under Procurement Guidance Note 01/16
  • More than 25,000 electricians becoming Registered Electricians, raising standards and encompassing CPD within their certification

In addition, work is continuing to promote the benefits and role of the qualified electrotechnical operative directly to Government Departments and as one of the exemplar schemes recognised by Dame Judith Hackitt as part of the review into competence standards following the fire at Grenfell Tower.

Jay Parmar, Chief Executive at the JIB, said: “There is still much to be done to bring through new qualification routes in specialist areas, and much work to encourage use of the scheme in the domestic sector, where coverage has always been low. The development of new competence-based qualification routes, and a greater focus of competence from Government, gives an opportunity to make significant progress in raising standards across the sector.”

More information on the work carried out by the Steering Committee can be found in the ECS Annual Review, which can be accessed here.

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