A leading Swansea businessperson, and current president of the Electrical Contractors’ Association (ECA), has spoken of his hopes that business will flourish in South Wales due to developments over the past year, in addition to new commercial opportunities on the horizon.
Dave Kieft, who is also ECA Wales spokesperson and managing director of Swansea-based RDM Electrical and Mechanical Services, comes to the end of his year-long ECA presidency next month (May 2017).
One of the key themes for Dave Kieft’s presidential term has been to raise the profile of the engineering and electrotechnical sector, while promoting the ECA across the UK. Wales alone has around 250 ECA member businesses, with combined annual turnover of around £150 million.
The recent signing of the Swansea Bay City Deal by the UK government presents a significant commercial and social opportunity for businesses in Wales. The deal is expected to provide a £3.3 billion boost to the local economy over the next 15 years, and support almost 10,000 jobs. The proposed £1.3 billion Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon could also provide considerable further opportunities for businesses.
According to Kieft: “The future looks much brighter for construction, engineering and manufacturing organisations in South Wales, and businesses should take advantage of the mechanical and electrical, and the many other, opportunities that the city deal will offer.”
However, to realise these commercial opportunities, the sector needs to bring more young people into engineering. To boost awareness of both the career opportunities, and the excellent talent that already exists in the engineering services industry, the ECA recently launched its ‘Power Players’ initiative. Power Players aims to identify and promote the contributions of talented younger professionals across the industry.
“It’s now absolutely crucial for our collective future prosperity to communicate the considerable benefits of a career in engineering to young people, their parents, teachers and careers officers.”
Many clients and industry figures have noted that the ECA’s profile has risen over the past year. In addition, Kieft has been one of the main drivers in bringing together a number of engineering sector bodies, with many agreeing to work in partnership to promote the value of engineering services to clients and government.
“By partnering with others, we can ensure that the interests of the entire sector and our suppliers, and the benefits of what we have to offer, are communicated to government and other stakeholders with a strong, single voice”, he concluded.