An Antrim company has been praised by Finance Minister Simon Hamilton MLA for backing the SparkSafe Licence to Practice initiative.
A procurement pilot, which began last month, requires electrical contractors tendering for specific Government construction contracts to ensure that, if successful, only electrical workers that are Licensed to Practice will be deployed on site.
The six-month pilot has been developed to stamp out unqualified operatives describing themselves as electricians and also to improve electrical safety standards.
Representatives from Blackbourne M&E in Antrim were among the electrical contractors at a certificate presentation event last last week for electrical contractors involved in the pilot
Mr Hamilton said: “It is essential that the quality of electrical installation work on all contracts, not just the public sector, is delivered to the highest possible standards. The Licence to Practice pilot is a great opportunity for the construction industry in Northern Ireland to raise the bar further and move beyond current UK best practice.”
At present firms and individuals wishing to join the SparkSafe Licence to Practice pilot can apply through the Ballymena-based Electrical Training Trust (ETT) to obtain registration based on their qualifications, experience and skills.
Mr Hamilton added: “It is vital that we continue to attract our young people to apprenticeships and retain them by raising the status of electrical operatives in order to revive the local economy via the construction industry.
“Not only does this initiative raise the status of this particular area of the industry, it coincides with the Construction Industry Forum for Northern Ireland’s (CIFNI) objective of encouraging training and skills development to underpin a sustainable construction industry.
“I would like to wish the ETT every success in the introduction of the SparkSafe initiative and I look forward to seeing the results of this pilot.”