Earlier this year Kevan Parker was announced as the new Managing Director of NICEIC & ELECSA (Certsure). We caught up with him to find out what life is like in the hot-seat of two of the most recognised brands in the industry.
Kevan was officially appointed Managing Director of Certsure in April, stepping up from his position as Director of Certification & Operations, where he led the team of engineers who carry out more than 30,000 inspections each year on behalf of NICEIC and ELECSA.
“It was an honour to be asked by the board to take the helm,” he says. “The NICEIC brand has been around for more than 60 years and is a brand that’s associated with standards and technical excellence. That’s something I’m keen to take forward.”
Having now had more than six months at the helm, Kevan is settling into the new role and driving plans for the future.
He says: “It’s been a whirlwind few months with a lot to take in, but we’re at the start of a process that will take the organisation and the industry forward.
“Our customers come to us because of the prestige that comes with being NICEIC or ELECSA registered and the support we provide. It sets their business apart, so it’s important that we maintain and continue to improve our brand qualities through delivery of quality certification.”
Kevan continues: “The industry is evolving, and the regulatory landscape post-Grenfell will mean change is inevitable, which is a positive thing for all stakeholders. I’m a firm advocate of continuous improvement. As businesses or sectors develop, so should the standards and procedures that underpin them.
“We await the outcomes of the Government’s consultation on changes to the building safety regulation system and what that might mean for the installation industry. It’s my job to ensure we’re ready whatever the outcome and that our model, which has served the industry well over the last 60 years, is still fit for purpose.”
So does that mean large scale changes are coming? “Not necessarily,” replies Kevan. “There is much debate about a need for individually assessed competence or a license as the way forward. I’m not convinced that works for all sections of the electrical industry, but I’m certainly open and flexible to change.
“We must also understand, however, that for many electrical contractors the Qualified Supervisor (QS) model fits their needs; it allows them to service their clients and train the industry. It’s been the benchmark for our industry for more than 60 years, and the model is approved by Government and adopted by all Competent Person Scheme (CPS) operators.”
He adds: “We need to create a journey to help those in the industry to aspire to be recognised, via assessment, as fully competent and to ensure that competence is maintained and developed throughout their working lives.
“Yes, it can be tweaked and adapted, but whatever changes take place we must ensure that technical standards, consumer protection and ongoing professional development through assessment are at the core.
“We also need to be clear that any change is customer driven and doesn’t place an additional cost burden on contractors. The industry already has the appropriate processes and checks in place. It’s now down to those organisations to work together and develop a way forward post-Hackitt.”
Also on the horizon is the introduction of five-yearly electrical safety checks in the private rented sector in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The proposed regulations are currently sitting with policy makers in the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), but it is expected to become law in 2020/21.
“Mandatory electrical checks are something we have long campaigned for and that we welcome in the future,” says Kevan. “We’ve seen the positive effect such a policy has had in Scotland and will continue to work with others to ensure the policy has a similar impact in England.”
Elsewhere, and away from political matters Kevan has spent a large part of his time on the front line meeting with contractors. He also opened NICEIC & ELECSA’s Live South event in May.
“To see more than 400 electricians in a room, committed to updating their professional knowledge, demonstrated to me the dedication our contractors have to providing the best possible service.
“It’s too easy for others to say that electricians aren’t interested in learning new things or upholding standards, but from the people I met and spoke to that day this is clearly not the case.”
He concludes: “One of our key priorities as an industry is to develop individuals and organisations that operate with integrity, maintain and promote professional development and keep up-to-date with regulations.
“From the people I’ve been lucky to meet so far, there’s a will and desire to improve as individuals, or as a business, and that’s something we should all look to build on.”
For more information on Certsure visit: http://certsure.com/