Thinking out-of-the-box – how can we tackle the skills gap that exists in electrical installation? | Schneider Electric

Thinking out-of-the-box – how can we tackle the skills gap that exists in electrical installation? | Schneider Electric

How can we divide and conquer to tackle the skills gap that exists in electrical installation? Steven Heathcote, Head of Channel Marketing at Schneider Electric, shares his thoughts.

On the brink of a new landscape where buildings must become more energy efficient, the UK is facing a major skills shortage in the construction industry. Specifically, there is a dearth of electrical installation experts who have the know-how to drive us into a greener age of energy, which could hold us back from any real change.

Indeed, the UK Skills Index has reported that just to keep up with the pace of demand, almost a quarter of the workforce needs to be qualified apprentices to bridge the growing skills gap – that’s 24,000 apprentices that must qualify year-on-year.

Obviously, training is key but there are ways we can ensure the specialist skills currently available are used efficiently – assigning them to the right tasks that best matches their skills sets. This may sound obvious, but one way to facilitate this is by using an easy, flexible, and scalable kit that is not too complex to install. This means assigning trainees or apprentices to basic tasks, whilst their more experienced colleagues are diverted to work on the complex jobs.

Thinking out-of-the-box

Leaders in the electrical industry are now providing out-of-the-box products aimed at light commercial use cases, including multi-storey residential buildings, schools and public buildings, and high-end property installations, which arrive ready-to-install.

This is ideal for the new wave of developing electrical talent to install and build their experience, whilst freeing up the time of experienced colleagues to focus on the more challenging tasks. And whilst the equipment is easy to install, this doesn’t take away from its reliability and functionality, removing the need for lengthy ongoing maintenance and fewer costly repairs.

One real-world example of this is Schneider Electric, which has outlined the tools and solutions to help the new age of electricians migrate to these commercially minded use cases. As one of the leaders in digital transformation, energy management and automation, the company has built a suite of easy solutions designed specifically for these kinds of light commercial applications.

Schneider Electric’s range offers contractors and electricians different options to help meet their electrical design requirements. It spans from entry-level, targeted at the new wave of electricians and contractors who are picking up a slew of new work in the wake of a revitalised energy landscape, to more established applications that are suitable for larger and more complex buildings.

Whatever the case, these products can become the ‘go-to’ tools for more established firms relying on ready-to-install applications that will ensure their workforce is efficient and consistent.

With these lines of products, electricians can fast-track their skillset by installing standalone solutions or using them as integrated components in modular assemblies, delivering reliable connections, peace of mind, and safe circuit protection. What’s more, Schneider Electric is also committed to delivering modern tools for energy management by including metering kits, allowing contractors and end-users to measure and regulate power consumption with ease.

Examples of these solutions include:

i-Line Panel Boards
Suitable for both industrial and commercial installations and compliant with building regulations, the units are prefabricated and can be mounted quickly. The i-Line panel boards are available in three categories (250 A rated, 400 A rated, and 630 A rated) and different pole variants to meet each size and specification needs. Furthermore, the i-Line plug-and-play system makes it simple to install and fit correctly with reliable connections so that the board is ready for cabling.

KQ load centre
The KQ product range is a well-established, 3-phase application distribution system that will cater for most installations. The KQ load centre with metering and integral control supports a modular and flexible solution that can be deployed as a single distribution board, or as multiple boards that make up a more complex system. Answering the call for scalability, KQ also has a comprehensive range of devices that support any number of applications.

PowerPact 4
Powerpact 4 MCCB panel and power boards are ideal for installations where space is restricted or where few outgoing circuits are required. These are durable and easy to install, offering superior protection from excessive current loads and short circuit faults.

Easy9 Compact and Multirow Consumer Units
Available in a range of sizes, from a compact consumer unit for standard household requirements to a multirow unit that supports higher-density circuits for larger buildings and properties, the flexible multirow units can scale to support even more devices within the range.

It is down to leaders in the electrical industry to provide easy and scalable products that help nurture electricians’ skills and ensure they have the knowledge and decision-making capabilities to deliver reliable, scalable products across smaller commercial and larger residential projects.

By entrusting in a specific provider like Schneider Electric, businesses and electricians can ensure a consistent quality of service across all electrical installations, which in time can help deliver a new wave of skilled tradespeople.

Get more details about Schneider Electric’s full product range here

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