David Warr has taken over as LEIA President for 2020 from David Sharp, who we would like to thank for his support and guidance in 2019.
It is a pleasure to be taking over as LEIA’s President, and I am very much looking forward to the year ahead. There are two key areas I believe we should focus our attention on:
1. Recruiting, training and retention of skilled engineers
The labour market in our sector is tight and the industry has been growing for some time; putting demands on our members. We are not alone; our sector faces similar problems as others with recruiting enough sufficiently technically skilled people. This is putting a focus on, among other issues, the training of skilled engineers. I believe that the industry needs to be giving new starters proper training, and this needs to be based on a grasp of engineering fundamentals and good work skills, and supported by the employer – every trainee should have a mentor.
I have been involved in setting up our industry trailblazer apprenticeship scheme as Chair of the Lift and Escalator Industry Trailblazer Group. This is now an essential component for training the next workforce. Our industry has some great examples of apprentices (myself included!) who many have progressed through and helped their companies to grow, and many start their own. 2020 is the year that we need to spread the message about the benefits of apprenticeships across the industry and actively support our trainees to develop.
While training skilled engineers is a long term task, we need to retain trainees after they have their NVQ both to make sense of the effort training them and to allow them to carry on their training towards being skilled engineers. We need the industry to commit to working together on this issue.
2. Use of new technology
Remote monitoring and fitting of sensors to monitor performance is likely to become more widespread and we need to look to use this technology to do the things it does best – monitoring those things which an engineer can’t easily do and so allow maintenance engineers to focus on maintenance while on site. For example, CCTV to monitor floor levels and the flow of people entering / exiting a lift car. This would help owners and maintenance companies combat spurious injury claims – often associated with claims about tripping on sills or being hit by closing doors.
This is something we should continue to work with HSE and other stakeholders in the industry to ensure that we get the benefits of new technology to enhance maintenance.
I look forward to working with you all this year.