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The Future of Building Services Engineering Tops Agenda at Industry Event

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The future of the electrical engineering and building services sector in Wales was the theme of a major event held over the weekend (9-11 September) in Llanelli by the Electrical Contractors' Association (ECA).

Over 50 ECA member companies attended the South Wales Conference at Llanelli's Stradey Park Hotel, to hear about the latest business opportunities linked to the “Internet of Things”. The conference also showcased some of the latest technology, with products from manufacturers including AICO, Schneider, Thorn and LEDVANCE.

l-r-previous-welsh-eca-presidents-mr-alun-pearson-and-mr-ken-baynton-with-david-kieftThe ECA has nearly 300 member companies across Wales, with combined turnover of around £150 million. The weekend conference and presidential gala dinner was hosted by David Kieft, ECA President and Wales spokesperson, and co-owner of RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services, based in Swansea.

David Kieft said:

“The turnout at this prestigious event was fantastic and the weekend provided the ideal opportunity for ECA members to come together, network and look to the future of the engineering contracting sector.”

As well as focusing on technology, the conference also discussed some of the implications of the UK's landmark decision to leave the European Union. The ECA is working closely with the UK government on this issue, having recently surveyed its members on what they believe are the most important issues as the UK heads for Brexit.

Dave Kieft added:

“Although Brexit brings both challenges and opportunities, fundamental business issues such as capacity and prompt payment have not gone away simply because we have voted to leave the EU. If anything, Brexit means it's time for us to push even harder to resolve these major issues.”

Introducing talent to engineering

A central point at the conference was the need to attract more talented young people in Wales into the engineering sector. As part of these efforts, this October, the ECA will also be partnering at ‘Skills Cymru', an event which aims to attract some 10,000 students to Cardiff and promote a range of vocational engineering careers in building services engineering.

Dave Kieft continued:

“The underlying theme of my presidency is to raise the profile of the engineering sector. In some respects, it's surprising that our industry should need to raise its profile at all, considering we provide career opportunities for tens of thousands of people, roll out new building and infrastructure technologies, and account for up to 40 per cent of turnover in construction alone.”

Industry recognition

In addition to active engagement with today's cutting edge technology, the ECA also has a long established heritage, based on quality and safety. Reflecting its more recent heritage, one important conference attendee was 90-year-old Ken Baynton, who has been associated with the ECA since 1973. Mr Baynton, who was the first Welsh ECA president in 1998 and has held other important regional positions, was honoured at the event. During the association's 115 year history, there have been three Welsh ECA presidents, all of whom attended the 2016 conference.

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