Who is SparkSafe?
Sparksafe LtP is a not for profit charitable trust. The organisation was founded in 1998 and continues to be overseen by a volunteer Board of Industry Trustees. We are comprised of a small team of dedicated professional trainers, assessors, administrators, and auditors, supported by a former ECA Branch Chairman and JIB Electrician.
Why do we exist?
Sub-economic bidding, poor gatekeeping and decline in the sector standing prompted industry stakeholders to counter these conditions by developing a unique online Licence to Practice system. We exist to halt unregulated workers entering the supply chain and to bring client focus on the benefits of employing Licenced electrical workers.
What’s the big idea?
We have designed an online system that connects the competency of individual electrical workers by Licence type to specific contracts. Output of the connection process is displayed online via a Workforce Composition Report. Compliance with the requirements of the system is policed by onsite auditing, with a pass/fail audit compliance report provided directly to the client. The system supports the procurement objectives of responsible Clients, who wish to oblige Main Contractors to only sublet work to registered Electrical Contractors, who only employ Licenced electrical workers.
Who owns the system?
The system has been developed by and is presently in the ownership of a registered electrical charitable trust. During the period, various unsuccessful attempts have been made to inform and persuade leading national electrical industry stakeholders to adopt and share the electrical Licence to Practice system.
Is it a scam?
The system is currently being used to meet social procurement and sustainability in construction objectives on circa one billion pounds worth of UK public sector construction projects. A scrutiny period of two years, including the use of a pilot program, was used to test the effectiveness, authenticity, and value for money of the system and those who operate it.
SparkSafe is a not for profit charitable trust. We have no shareholders, and we do not pay dividends, bonuses or operate profit related pay schemes. Our trustees are unpaid volunteers who are committed to personal and corporate ethical business standards. The electrical worker licence fee is circa 13p per day. We use the income to authenticate qualifications, police the system through on-site audits and communicate with stakeholders about the need to identify and reward competency.
Despite best efforts from all concerned, we have been unable to achieve a consensus with the leading national bodies on the use or adoption of the system. Adding to the fragmentation of the industry by introducing another system has received our very careful consideration. Nevertheless, we have been encouraged by the interest of responsible clients and other stakeholders to continue with our efforts in making the benefits of the system available throughout the UK.
Copying may be a form of flattery, but it is also fundamentally and ethically immoral. We have produced disruptive ideas to counter the universal failings of personal and institutional fixed mind thinking. Our efforts and contribution are motivated by a desire to open the industry to essential reformation and modernisation.
Have your say, look beyond the PR and find out the truth of what’s going on in the Industry. Probe, investigate, ask tough questions and demand answers from SparkSafe and others. Are the existing gatekeeping arrangements effective? Why has the industry become unattractive to school leavers? Is the industry sufficiently protected from the entry of unregulated workers into the supply chain? Why are profits and wages so unstable? Remember silence is often interpreted as acceptance of the status quo.
During the period, we have listened carefully to workers, owners, and clients about the good and bad in our sector. Celebrating individual and corporate achievements is vital. However, feedback strongly suggests that existing entry and control systems for individual workers within the industry are out of sync with the current demands. As a consequence, the sustainability and reputation of the industry are undermined.
Our vision is to achieve positive transformational change of the industry by equipping responsible clients with an inclusive online gatekeeping system that exclusively favours contractors who only employ Licenced electrical workers.
Present attempts at reform appear weak, uncoordinated and reactionary. We also think the current pace is too slow. Negative conditions on the ground are running ahead of the established control measures. As a consequence, the industry is losing and not gaining control over its difficulties. Skill shortages, low productivity levels, and an aging workforce are embedded and problematic across the sector.
Our ethos is aimed at ensuring open access to an Electrical Licence for all competent electrical workers. To achieve this, we accommodate the interests of workers who choose to possess an occupational skills card and those who do not. We rely on the national occupational standards together with approved modern and legacy qualifications to inform and shape our thinking around competency.
We encourage you to play your part in overcoming the barriers and weaknesses that presently hinder the development and perception of the industry. Many of our problems are self-inflicted and have been brought about by past complacencies and lack of opportunity to be heard. So, why not join in the conversation. We are open to hearing and learning from stakeholders who wish to rethink the future direction of the trade.
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