With 2020 set to be another busy year of activity, we get the back story behind the formation of the e5 Group, its purpose, and its founding members.
It’s fair to say that health and safety isn’t an issue to be taken lightly in any industry. Whether it’s plumbing, construction, automotive (or any other industry for that matter), it’s vitally important that health and safety best practices be observed, no matter how big or small the job is.
Ultimately, the safety of both workers and the public is of paramount importance and, as the craftsmen (and women) whose work it is we rely on to keep us safe in our day-to-day lives, those working in our core trades are essentially the custodians of their chosen sector. Many industries in the UK function well and to a high standard thanks to the hard work of skilled personnel, and also because of the stringent regulations and standards enforced.
Of course, to PE readers this may seem like teaching a granny to suck eggs, but the electrical industry (like many others) is one that simply HAS to work to the highest standards. In recent times, however, the industry as a whole has been subject to internal scrutiny regarding the enforcement and adoption of the regulations and standards that govern our entire sector, and the ensuing impact this has had on both the safety of electrical installations and the industry’s overall reputation.
These frustrations are understandable to say the least. The electrical industry is unique in the sense that non-compliant work and ‘botched’ jobs don’t just result in headaches for customers and the electricians who must redo the work, but there is also the very real risk that poor workmanship and ignorance of regulations will result in the safety of those involved being compromised. This is much truer of the electrical industry than it is of many others, with electric shocks and electrical fires both posing a serious threat to human life.
The general feeling from those time-served electricians who have followed a traditional apprenticeship route before entering into gameful employment in the electrical industry, is that the introduction of short-form (or ‘fast-track’) courses that allow previously unqualified electricians to become ‘competent’ in a much shorter time-frame, has eroded the quality of entrants working within the domestic market, in particular. Indeed, it’s rare that you’ll have a conversation with an electrician without the ‘P’ word coming up! The reality, of course, is that the current issues our sector faces run far deeper than that.
In previous times, frustrated individuals could often feel that they had no voice, or that their concerns were not being be addressed, due to the limited options available to communicate with companies. Nowadays, with the explosion of social media adoption within the electrical industry, YouTube ‘influencers’ popping up on a daily basis and the increase in networking and trade show events, it’s much easier to make yourself heard, especially when a collective approach is taken. The e5 Group is the ultimate testament to this…
Formed by a handful of electrical professionals with bags of industry years and experience under their belts, the e5 Group has one key aim: the continuous development of those in the electrical industry and of the industry itself.
Consisting of founding members Paul Meenan – an Asset Manager for Trenitalia c2C Ltd, Ryan Dempsey – the CEO and founder of The Compliance Workbook, David Watts – an electrical trainer and the founder of the SparkyNinja YouTube channel and training resources, Paul Skyrme – a machinery and electrical engineer and consultant, Dan Jackson – a business coach and consultant to the electrical and fire industries, and the latterly introduced John Ward – owner of Flameport Enterprises and the man behind the popular John Ward YouTube channel, e5 was founded upon a set of principles outlined by the Engineering Council and is in fact where the group’s namesake can be traced to.
“I started doing some research and came across a document called the ’Engineering Council’s statement of ethical principles’.” Paul Meenan says. “A very simple process, it asks people to apply the following principles (in the workplace): accuracy and rigour; honesty and integrity; respect for life, law and the public good; leadership and communication.
“I didn’t see that being practiced too much when I was on the tools and people were switching off because it was mainly about the money. You would have to battle to do the job right. It’s not just active ignorance causing the problems. Many electricians just don’t know that they’re putting lives at risk due to their failure to comply to industry regulations. We feel that not enough professionals know what to do in certain situations or who to turn to for help and guidance when they’re unsure of what to do. This is where we want to change things.”
You only have to look at the Avengers Assemble, or even pro-wrestling’s Four Horsemen, to understand that the strongest groups are often an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, and that is where the e5 Group’s real strength lies. Each individual comes from a different standpoint and area of expertise from within the electrical sector, and all bring different personalities and qualities to the Group.
One way that the Group has realised it can affect change is in the exchanging and sharing of knowledge, training and technical information for electricians – something made infinitely easier by the aforementioned rise in social media and digital platforms, along with live networking events. It’s safe to say that e5 has risen to that particular challenge spectacularly, with the individuals in question putting in the miles, hours and graft to voluntarily deliver CPD, training and technical knowledge to electricians around the country. Lest we forget, for those individuals to feel empowered and informed enough to present content around compliance and regulations, hours of personal CPD and research must be undertaken first. Moreover, its all available to recipients for free, making the group fully inclusive to any trade or organisation.
“It’s important that we bridge the current knowledge gaps in order to create a safer workplace, and one in which ethical considerations matter over anything else,” says Ryan Dempsey.
“Our industry is in danger of having its reputation damaged further by malpractice and negligence, so we’ve basically decided to use the Engineering Council’s code of conduct to direct and support our decision making process. More than that, we’re a bunch of lads and lasses who are going to help each other out, use our technical knowledge, our skills, and our expertise to support each other when we need help.”
Although its still relatively early days in the life of e5, the past year has seen a noticeable momentum shift in the Group’s activities, interest and popularity. The hours of research, preparation, filming, cutting and recording that the Group puts into its podcasts, videos and seminars, have ensured that a growing number of grateful eyes and ears are now open to its content and comment. A very successful outing for the Group at November’s Sandown Park ELEX show was the icing on the cake for what has been an extremely productive 12 months.
With 2020 now upon us, there’s no sign of a slow-down in the world of e5, with some exciting activities and initiatives in the offing for this coming year. Despite its growing popularity, however, the Group and its individual members will never lose sight of its core objectives.
Paul Meenan concludes: “We want to make it clear that we’re not out to create another scheme or CPS for that matter, but instead are focused on individuals who want more support than is currently on offer. want to put our minds together, identify everything that needs to be improved objectively, and highlight that to the necessary authorities. It’s like with anything, if businesses lose the hearts and minds of their membership or the people who look up to them, there is no business at all.”
A refreshing and welcome movement with a positive message and goal, it’s safe to say the e5 Group is here to stay.
To access the Group’s podcasts click here.
To watch E5’s Youtube videos click here.
THE E5 VALUES