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inside The digital electrician Creating a customer service culture Reimagining traditional trainingÂ delivery
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table of contents Average Net Distribution 31 901 CAB Audited as of March 2015
all about ME
maximise your membership
the digital electrician
next-gen satellites are all electric
meet a master electrician
and hit the pool. And that
around the corner.
MEA teams up with Careers Australia
As we bring out the bells
how to implement power factor correction 36
WELCOME TO THE SUMMEr EDITION OF THE MASTER ELECTRICIAN Summer has arrived! It’s time to slap on the sunscreen, fire up the BBQ means Christmas is just
and tinsel, we’re reflecting on the eventful year that has been and planning for the year ahead.
the interview – Michaelia Cash
In this edition, we look
your top 3 tech questions
achievements, and reflect
letter of the law
on all of the good times
and industry events in our
On page 32, we shine
the last word
as we take a look at our
at this year’s policy
had at our conference
Social Snaps section.
the spotlight on training, revolutionary new offering.
Turn to page 12 to find out how you can create
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General Enquiries Master Electricians Australia PO Box 2438, Fortitude Valley BC Queensland 4006 PHONE 1300 889 198 FAX 1800 622 914 EMAIL email@example.com WEB www.masterelectricians.com.au
Editorial Contacts & Contributors EDITOR Malcolm Richards ASSOCIATE EDITOR Elise Hodge ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES Janelle MacDonald PHONE 07 3252 4860 EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org DESIGN AND PRINT POMO 1300 762 865
46 Follow us @MasterElectrics on Twitter Become a Fan on Facebook www.facebook.com/ masterelectricians
Please note our office closes on Christmas Eve and reopens on 4 January, 2016.
www.masterelectricians.com.au or call 1300 889 198 The Master Electrician is printed on environmentally responsible paper sourced from FSC® certified forestry plantations. The paper is made with Elemental Chlorine Free pulps (ECF).
a thriving customer service culture within your workplace. And we lay down the foundations for 2016, as we get stuck into the digital side of things in a chat with three tech-savvy sparkies. Merry Christmas to all of our readers. See you in 2016!
Disclaimer: The statements and opinions expressed in this publication are offered solely in pursuance of the objects of the Electrical Contractors Association and Master Electricians Australia to provide an informative service to contractors in the electrical industry on legal, commercial and other issues and problems related to the industry. The Electrical Contractors Association and Master Electricians Australia are not aware that any person intends to act or rely upon such statements and opinions contained in this publication or the manner in which it might be possible to do so. The Electrical Contractors Association and Master Electricians Australia issues no invitation to any member or other persons to act or rely upon such statements or opinions or any of them and it accepts no responsibility for any of them. It intends by this provision to exclude, to the extent permitted by law, all liability for any such statements and opinions. The Master Electrician Magazine can be viewed online at www.masterelectricians.com.au
The Master Electrician
all about ME
Policy and advocacy in 2015 MEA has been very active on the advocacy front over the past year, with our representations to government resulting in several key wins for electrical contractors and the industry as a whole. Electrical safety continues to be a key priority for Master Electricians. In the lead up to state elections in Queensland and New South Wales, MEA made representations to all political parties calling for a commitment to increase installation of safety switches and implement systems to protect the public from faulty electrical equipment. Renewed efforts have also been made to push for expanded safety switch laws through our Switch Thinking campaign. MEA has made formal approaches to ministers in each state and territory for legislative changes that would see a safety switch on all capable circuits in every Australian home, with state managers meeting with several government representatives to discuss the need for urgent reform. www.masterelectricians.com.au
Following the Federal Government’s decision to abandon plans for a national occupational licensing system, MEA has been advocating for an automatic mutual recognition scheme that would adopt a best-practice approach to regulation, ensuring the highest standards are maintained for electrical occupations. Earlier in the year, MEA CEO Malcolm Richards met with members of the Productivity Commission to discuss what the electrical industry needs from a mutual recognition system. MEA also contributed a formal submission to the Productivity Commission’s review of mutual recognition schemes to further detail the priorities for industry licensing. With the growing number of product safety recalls, MEA has made strong representations to government and electrical safety
MEA’s advocacy on workplace relations issues has included contributions to parliamentary inquiries into workplace health and safety laws and the workplace relations framework. MEA has also actively represented members in the Fair Work Commission’s four-year review of modern awards. Our participation has included representations in the Contracting Power and Manufacturing Industry awards as well as Domestic and Family Violence and Parental Leave cases. These
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regulators to implement an electrical equipment safety system to protect consumers from faulty electrical products. Queensland State Manager Gary Veenstra has been part of the Queensland nonconforming products roundtable and NSW State Manager Jody McGann has met with the NSW Minister for Industry, Resources and Energy, the Hon Anthony Roberts, to discuss this critical safety issue and strategies for reform. MEA has also made a comprehensive submission to the Federal Senate inquiry into non-conforming building products.
CONGRATULATING MILESTONE MEMBERS Master Electricians Australia would like to thank a number of members for their loyalty to the association and commitment to the industry. Congratulations to this quarter’s 25-year member: • John Scates Electrical Contractors
representations will continue well into 2016, however members are strongly encouraged to contact the MEA Workplace Relations team to discuss their experiences as to how they have managed domestic violence in the past and how an additional 10 days paid leave for this purpose will affect their business. For more information on policy and advocacy, contact MEA on 1300 889 198.
Congratulations to this quarter’s 15-year members: • All Electrical & Refrigeration Services Pty Ltd • Energy Right Pty Ltd • Hitech Electrical Automation Pty Ltd • Barnes Electrical Service • Workshare Fire & Electrical
CONGRATULATING MILESTONE MEMBERS Master Electricians Australia would like to thank a number of members for their loyalty to the association and commitment to the industry. Congratulations to this quarter’s 25-year members: • Greaney Electrical Congratulations to this quarter’s 15-year members: • Online Electrical Services Northern Tableland • Hudnott Electrical • Doonar Industries • Rob Williams Clermont Electrical • White Switchgear
The Master Electrician
Help spread the word about safety switches MEA has long campaigned for the implementation of safety switches on every circuit of every home. Around five years ago, MEA launched Project Safety Switch, prompted by the tragic electrocutions of three young men while they were working on the previous Federal Government’s Home Insulation Program (HIP). Now, we’re rebooting our Switch Thinking report, and the good news is that your business can benefit. With the relaunch of our Switch Thinking report, MEA is giving you the tools to take things into your own hands. Your business can benefit from this new campaign through a range of tools developed exclusively for MEA members. We’ve sent out packs to you, our members, with all of the necessities, starting with an email template. The template can be used to email your database with a special offer. Simply open the template, fill in the bottom with your contact details or email signature, and send to your customers. We’ve even included a promotional code that will help you track the success of the campaign. Why not add a small special offer to entice your customers? Additionally, we’ve included letter templates, so you can jump on the bandwagon and send letters to your local Members of Parliament, encouraging them to support and participate in the Switch Thinking campaign. www.masterelectricians.com.au
We’ve also created a flyer that you can pop your contact details in and leave with prospective customers. And of course, we’ve included our Switch Thinking booklet 2.0 with all of the updated facts and stats. This is a lengthier document that you can distribute to customers or industry contacts. The best part is, you don’t have to spend time fiddling around with templates and designs – we’ve already created the content! Now, you can focus on targeting the people who you know the best – your customers. If every electrical business across the country played its part in campaigning for safety switches, collectively we’d be on the right track to ensuring safety switches would be on every circuit of every home in Australia. For more information about our Switch Thinking campaign, give us a call on 1300 889 198.
maximise your membership
Super is yours: Get involved Super is the investment you have when you don’t know you have an investment. And like any investment in your name, you have control over it. So before the year is out, have a look at your super account and do some thinking. 1. Ask yourself some questions • What do you want to achieve? Is it simply to get the best possible result in this financial year? Do you want to have achieved a certain account balance in, say, five years? • How much time have you got? Is your timeframe when you retire or do you want to chunk your investment timeframe in manageable five or 10-year blocks?
adding to it too. You need to think about whether you want to add from your before or after-tax pay (there are tax advantages). The Super Contributions Optimiser calculator at energysuper.com.au/ calculators can help you work out which type of contribution will give your super the biggest boost. You should also think about how else this money could be better used to improve your financial position, such as paying off debt. A chat with one of our advisers can help you weigh up your options.
You don’t have to know all the answers.
• What are you comfortable with? No one has control over the economy and investment markets, so how comfortable are you with the thought of your investment occasionally going down as well as up? 2. Have just one super fund Combining all your super funds into one account is a quick way to get the most out of your super investment. By doing this you’ll only be paying one set of fees, which could save you money. Ultimately the less you pay in fees, the more money you’ll have in your account. Before you do this, just check with the other funds that they won’t charge you an exit fee and that you won’t lose any benefits like insurance cover. 3. Think about adding to your super Don’t forget that you don’t just have to rely on your investment to grow organically: you can influence your super balance by
Call 1300 4 ENERGY (1300 436 374) to speak with an Energy Super adviser today.
Master Electricians has chosen Energy Super as its superannuation fund of choice. Energy Super is the super fund dedicated to members in the electrical, energy and allied industries. Electricity Supply Industry Superannuation (Qld) Ltd (ABN 30 069 634 439) (AFSL 336567) is the Trustee and issuer of Energy Super (ABN 33 761 363 685). A Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) is available from energysuper.com.au or by calling 1300 4 ENERGY (1300 436 374). Advice contained in this article is general in nature and not specific to your particular circumstances. Before making an investment decision or acting on this advice, you should consider your financial situation, the PDS, and whether Energy Super is right for you. If you need assistance, talk to one of our financial advisers. To obtain a copy of the PDS, call us on 1300 4 ENERGY (1300 436 374) or visit energysuper.com.au. Any information or advice included in this article – including over-the-phone advice – is provided by ESI Financial Services Pty Ltd (AFSL 224952), a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Super.
The Master Electrician
feature business feature
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The digital electrician When you’re in business and navigating the world of social media, cloud-based technologies and marketing strategies, there are a number of challenges to overcome. But, if handled properly, the end results are indisputably worth it – an improved bottom line, greater customer interaction and increased brand recognition.
At MEA, we love incorporating all things digital, and we enjoy
seeing how our members are using the latest tools to connect with their customers and improve their business’s day-to-day operations too. That’s why we want to tell you a bit about three of our members who are taking these tools to the next level – and seeing impressive results.
After watching social media gain prominence in business operations around the world, Aaron Cluff, Chief Executive Officer of Brisbanebased Platinum Electrical & Air, incorporated it into his business’s marketing strategy to complement his existing marketing channels and give a human voice to customer communication. Aaron says the Platinum social media success story can be traced right back to when the team took their first steps in social media by creating a Facebook account. www.masterelectricians.com.au
“Taking a course in social media was prohibitive for us in terms of both time and cost, so we decided to use a platform our management and staff were most comfortable with, and went with Facebook,” Aaron says. “From there, we needed a more in-depth knowledge of social media, and did a lot of research into communication strategies in general. “We then applied what we had learned to Facebook.” After careful analysis, Aaron realised it was more about what was posted, rather than the time it was posted. Fans reacted well to posts that engaged them in their everyday lives, not just their dealings with the electrical industry. “Our most-liked post since creating the account wasn’t even related to our work, it was for State of Origin,” Aaron says.
9 “We changed our profile picture and cover photo to support the Maroons, and our fans loved it.” The channel provides Platinum with a chance to use a much less formal voice than in their traditional marketing activities. At the same time, they use fun and engaging posts to plant the ‘Platinum idea’ in the minds of their users. “We try to get into their mindset; they’re sitting at home, on the train, waiting for the bus, and they’re sitting on Facebook,” Aaron says. “Essentially, it’s about getting them to think of you in their down time so they think of you at the right time; when they need you.” Aaron has one piece of advice for other electrical contractors who are ‘umming and ahhing’ about taking their businesses online. “You don’t need to jump in and use all social media platforms at once. Take it slow and develop a strategy that works for you.” Electrical contracting company Beel Electrical has been servicing Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula since 2009. Owner-Manager Ben Beel considers himself a bit of a techno-whiz, and has always used digital tools where possible in his business. After building a successful website and Facebook channel, Ben says he turned his sights to an ecommerce solution that would make his business more efficient. “It took some trial and error before settling on a system I liked but we’re using an app called Service M8 that was created here in Australia, and was specifically designed to help small trades businesses,” Ben says. The app allows Ben to create a job when a call comes in, schedule it to a staff member for a later date, or mark it as urgent and send it
Platinum Electrical & Air CEO Aaron Cluff
“You don’t need to jump in and use all social media platforms at once. Take it slow and develop a strategy that works for you.”
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Beel Electrical Owner-Manager Ben Beel
Response Fire and Electrical Owner Greg Allan
to the closest available van. Then, staff simply open the app and all of the job information is accessible. They can also click a button to navigate to the job site via their mobile phone’s GPS, and send a text to the customer to let them know they’re on the way.
Aaron and Ben aren’t the only ones making their services more effective and efficient. Since establishing Perth-based Response Fire and Electrical in 2009, owner Greg Allan has consistently grown the business’s marketing activities. One unique digital tool that the business uses is video marketing, which Greg says engages his customers and generates conversations with potential customers.
“We’ve often had customers say, ‘thanks for the text, I was about to pop down to the store, so I decided to stay’. It’s a great way to help make sure that someone is home when our staff arrive, saving us time at the end of the day,” Ben says. As a business owner, saving time is one of the major factors in choosing to use a digital job management and invoicing system. “Having the ability to track my vans from the office helps me assign jobs, so we can make sure that we’re servicing as many customers as possible on any given day. It also means I don’t have to go home at the end of the night to a three-hour pile of paperwork,” he says. The second factor in using the system is financial. Now, the threehour pile of paperwork is completed by staff during the day, leaving him more time after work for his personal life, and helping to improve the business’s finances. “We find that not only have we improved our systems, but overall we’re much more efficient. That means we can take on more jobs and grow the business organically, just by using this system,” he says.
“If we can reach people in a different way, that’s great for our brand. Our humour and advice keeps us top of mind for potential customers, so that when they do need a sparkie, they give us a call.”
“Video marketing allows us to show our personality to customers, and connect on a level that’s not common to come across in the electrical industry,” Greg says. “We use a lot of humour in our videos, and it really shows. Our customers are often saying that they found our video, or that they’ve shared it with their network.” In the past, Greg has used professionals to create videos, but now he takes things into his own hands, simply using his smart phone on a tripod. “We like to keep our information videos informal – it’s about having a chat with the customer, not speaking perfectly to a script. “If we can reach people in a different way, that’s great for our brand. Our humour and advice keeps us top of mind for potential customers, so that when they do need a sparkie, they give us a call,” he says. While many contractors want to kick-start their digital footprint, they aren’t always able to fork out the hefty fees that come along with professional help. That’s why MEA’s Digital Business Kits have been formulated by professionals, but offered to contractors for free. Because in the end, social media and ecommerce shouldn’t be difficult, risky, and cost you an arm and a leg – you just need to source the right advice. For more information, visit digital.masterelectricians.com.au
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feature employee spotlight
Creating a customer service culture There is nothing more energising and motivating than to hear that because of your team’s efforts and belief that ‘great customer service really works’, your customers trust you so much that they are eager to tell others about what you do.
Before you know it, you are being
talked about on the bus ride home, between parents picking their children up from school, between mates at the pub, within company business meetings, and even on social media websites. What they are saying is: “You have to contact so and so, they will look after you.” “Their customer service is excellent.” “They are really supportive.” www.masterelectricians.com.au
“It was done so well.” “I will definitely come back again.” These customers do this as they hand over your business card or contact details. There you have it – you’ve got yourself a customer advocate! It’s how your team interacts with your customers that makes them feel and say what they think to others about your business.
“It’s the simplest touch that means so much in creating a customer service culture within your workplace.”
What would it be like to hear your team say the following words? “Our customer service rocks.” “I really enjoyed talking with that customer.” “Let me get on to this straight away.” “It’s great to see you again.” “The customer was so happy with my work.”
“Customer relationships, just like any trusting relationship, need to be built on a foundation of trust, honesty, integrity, empathy and reliability. So why not build your customer service charter or customer service delivery based on team values and behaviours built around these same principles?”
“Thank you for choosing us.” It’s the simplest touch that means so much in creating a customer service culture within your workplace. I hear this and experience this within my team every day at the Australian Adult Learning Institute.
“How do I know I can trust your organisation?” “The last lot said they would do what you say, and they didn’t!” “They couldn’t even get my name right.”
Let’s look at some easy steps in building a customer service culture.
“I could never get through to the person I needed to talk to.”
Like any sound and solid structure, the foundations need to be well prepared, using the right planning, resources and time. Likewise, so do the foundations when building a team of people who are leaders in customer service delivery.
“They made the whole process of completing my qualification so hard, and I can’t get the documentation I need from them to prove that I have completed my studies.”
Ask yourself this, when was the last time I experienced great customer service and how did I feel? Now ask yourself, what was it they did that made me feel the way I did? Finally, ask yourself, who did I tell about this? Customer relationships, just like any trusting relationship, need to be built on a foundation of trust, honesty, integrity, empathy and reliability. So why not build your customer service charter or customer service delivery based on team values and behaviours built around these same principles? Trust, lead and empower your employees to deliver customer service excellence. Recently, at our institute, a customer was brought to tears of joy. A phone call was received from a person enquiring about a nationally recognised qualification that is offered by our institute. During the initial discussion, it was established that they had received dreadful customer service from a previous training organisation. The questions, concerns and statements mentioned to the AALI team member from the customer were purely directed around what they had not experienced, and the trust that had been broken with them by the previous training organisation. We always make our decisions based on what we have experienced in the past. If the customer service with one organisation is dreadful, as consumers we are wary of any organisation that offers the same product or service.
The customer was listened to and shown genuine empathy in regards to the horrendous customer service they had experienced. Based on the AALI team member’s genuine empathy, industry experience, availability of the right resources, and tools on hand, they proactively reassured the customer – who enrolled into the qualification of their choice there and then without any further question or concern. Once the customer had been officially enrolled as a student, the AALI team took the responsibility of compliantly organising the required documentation to be sent to AALI from the previous training organisation. Persistently, we contacted this organisation and through vigilance and perseverance, we had a result, we were able to solve a problem for our customer with next to no effort for them at all. Regular punctual contact ensued over the coming months; we offered support and guidance to the customer, who was appreciative and grateful for what they were receiving and experiencing. Judgement day came, and it was decided that the customer was now qualified and was to be awarded a well-deserved national qualification. “Hi, it’s Kev from the Australian Adult Learning Institute. I just thought I would call you and personally congratulate you on the successful completion of your Nationally Recognised Qualification.” “Thank you, Kev.” The Master Electrician
14 “Please look in your inbox and you will see a copy of your qualification and I will organise for the original to be express posted to you immediately.” The customer was gobsmacked and burst into tears. After they composed themselves, they said: “Thank you so much, your team has been awesome and now that I have this qualification I can get the job that I have always wanted. I am going to tell everyone about how great it was to complete my qualification with AALI and how excellent your customer service is.” This feedback was shared and celebrated within the team at AALI. It’s the personal touch that means so much, and when it comes to customer service delivery you must always keep your promise. To deliver customer service excellence is about going above and beyond to ensure the customer’s expectations are met and exceeded. For customer service delivery or service recovery to be effective and to promote customer advocacy, it is integral that you have the right people, processes, structures, providers, technology and contingency plans in place. Ensure that you recruit and train the right people who are customer service driven and are prepared to go above and beyond to assist customers. These people will become the driving force of your customer service culture. When the behaviour is right, skill and knowledge are easy to impart. Make sure your staff always have immediate access to the right technology and tools for the trade so that they can seamlessly do their job without missing a beat. When your staff experience delays
due to poor technology, slow response rate, wrong tools, or no tools at all, your customer experiences the delay, inconvenience, and your business’s brand is instantly damaged. Ensure that your workplace or business representation promotes customer service excellence, as this is the first impression of your business and is lasting.
Kev Bailey Smith
Accept critical feedback from your customers as a gift and always thank them for bringing it to your attention and act on this as a priority. Catch your staff doing something right and reward and recognise customer service excellence in a way that will motivate individuals and teams and generate a passion for customer service excellence. Have contingency plans in place should any component of your service infrastructure, technology or customer service delivery fail. And always remember that without customers you do not have a business. This article was written by Kev Bailey-Smith, CEO of the Australian Adult Learning Institute. For more information, visit www.aali.com.au
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feature impressive project
National Excellence Awards WA Finalists roundup As we went to print for this edition, our National Excellence Award winners were just being unveiled. We’ve seen a terrific line up of state winners go on to this year’s finals, and were blown away by each team’s ingenuity, creativity and ability to think outside the box in order to meet their respective briefs. We’ve taken a look at three projects from our finalists in WA – the first of the states to reach judging ahead of the national gongs – to find out what made their award-winning projects. Atlantis indoor playcentre earns Aurora Electrical its second state award It’s heaven on earth for children. Every day, as many as 90 screaming, excited children pile into Atlantis Play Centre, at Clarkson in WA, where they can pretend to be pirates, mermaids, evil sea witches or grungy rock stars at themed party rooms, challenge each other to be first on the podium as they climb into mini race cars, slide down giant slippery slides and climb aboard a massive raised platform filled with every kind of fun thing to do that a child could dream up. The Atlantis Childcare and Indoor Play Centre has also earned Bilbra Lake electrical firm Aurora Electrical, under the guidance of Director Brendan Balcombe, the Western Australia Master www.masterelectricians.com.au
Electricians Australia (MEA) Commercial Project of the Year title – the team’s second state win in two years. “The finished product really was an outstanding demonstration of all aspects of our business – a strong design, excellent quality in workmanship, and the safe delivery on promise and schedule for our client,” Mr Balcombe says. The Aurora team faced enormous planning and logistical challenges every step of the way during construction of the 1800m2 two-level centre. Delivering a 580m2 electrical fit out of the childcare centre, a base build and general fit out for 18 tenancies, as well as the upper and lower carpark, complete with under-croft and area lighting, was no easy task.
“Coordinating with the builder, finding electrical solutions to suit the ever-changing builder’s scope due to fit out and tenancy changes, then the staging of works coupled with the irregular site boundaries, made every decision an important one,” Mr Balcombe says. The brief was to create a landmark building with reciprocal uses that could support the surrounding community, with the electrical component delivered under a design and construct model. With an overall cost of works of $7 million, and an electrical component costed between $650,000 and $750,000, there was little more than a year from start of works to completion, with stage one to be handed over in just six months – meaning the team had to be one step ahead at all times. “It was an amazing feat to complete the entire design construct to our high quality standard and the staging of the works, particularly in such an incredibly tight time frame,” he says. The team of just five apprentices and three fully qualified electricians also had to install electricals for the centre’s full commercial kitchen. “The staging of works coupled with the irregular site boundaries meant that every decision was incredibly important, but we had a terrific Project Manager, and our management and administration staff were on the ball every step of the way,” Mr Balcombe says. “This was particularly evident when it came to making sure all of the long lead items such as switchboards and lighting packages were available on time,” he says.
“It was an amazing feat to complete the entire design construct to our high quality standard and the staging of the works, particularly in such an incredibly tight time frame ...”
Geraldton electrical firm takes two out of six categories at prestigious state awards An electrical substation and power station installation at a remote mine site located 380 km north-east of Perth and a sleek and contemporary home in Geraldton don’t have too much in common. However, each one’s innovative and complex electrical installations have earned S & K Electrical Contracting Pty Ltd, under Director Steve Villier, top gongs at Master Electricians Australia’s (MEA’s) State Excellence Awards, with S & K winning both the Industrial/ Mining Project and the Residential Project of the Year Awards WA. The owners of the Mummaloo mine site – Top Iron Pty Ltd – were expecting to export up to two million tonnes of iron ore per year, so S & K took on the installation of an 11kV Power Station and 33kV substation at the new site, with a total electrical cost of $850,000 including earthworks, electrical installation, plumbing, fencing and testing and commissioning. The Master Electrician
S & K Managing Director Steve Villier said 15 crew members worked three weeks on, one week off to complete the seven-month project, alongside a large number of staff working off the job. “Because it was a power station, we had to liaise with Western Power/Network Authority, surveyors, other trades on the site and the site safety representative. The Department of Mines and Petroleum were also closely monitoring works,” Mr Villier says. The project that won the team their second gong however, was in stark contrast to a dusty mine site. On a single level sprawling a whopping 776m2, the almost milliondollar Strathalbyn residence was no ordinary build. With an electrical cost of around $65,000, including smart wiring for audio visual and communications systems (including a multi-point intercom system with gate-locking facilities and remote access), LED downlights and strip lighting throughout, data points in all rooms, and external power and lighting (including to the sprawling pool and shed), the 15-month project came with a number of challenges. www.masterelectricians.com.au
“The owner was very much involved during the build of the home and often made changes, so being able to accommodate those while working in with other trades, and consulting with the architect and builder, coupled with being available as and when required at short notice, wasn’t always easy,” Mr Villier says. “The manning requirements fluctuated at various stages, with the maximum crew on site at any one time being six.” Steve and the S & K team are no strangers to winning, after taking out the Commercial Project of the Year for the Geraldton’s Eastern Breakwater project at last year’s national titles in Queensland. “Any award is so greatly appreciated, and it’s especially great to be recognised by a panel of your peers and to stand in front of the other nominees and collect the awards.” For information about all of our award winners, visit www.masterelectricians.com.au
industry chatter Welcome to Industry Chatter where we ask three members from across the country about everything from their business beginnings to their favourite gadgets and their top business tips.
Co-owner of Steve Allan Electrical
Founder and Director of GESA Electrical
Director at Zero Industries
Angle Vale, South Australia
North Hobart, Tasmania
The super-organised, globe-trotting business owner juggles running her and husband Steve’s busy electrical firm with being a top mum to three young children.
The sparkie known for spending hours doing his hair has gone from being an apprentice in his home country of Germany more than 25 years ago, to running a busy electrical firm on the other side of the world.
Travis runs a thriving business after recognising and addressing a ‘missing link’ in the safety side of the electrical market, and is utilising social media to start conversations with customers.
Let’s get into it How long have you been in the industry? Sharon: We are in our seventh year of electrical contracting, currently in our fourth year as an Accredited Master Electrician.
and electrical commercial supervision to domestic jobs, data, antenna and security. Today we serve mainly commercial maintenance and high-end domestic projects.
Garry: I’ve been in the industry since 1987 and have an extensive background ranging from power stations, over substations
Travis: I started my apprenticeship in 2001 fresh out of high school. Once finished, I was given the opportunity to take over a
small electrical business, as the owner had been given a position as a teacher in the TAFE program. I immediately jumped on the opportunity. When did you start your own business and what was the catalyst? Sharon: Steve and I started the business in late 2008. The catalyst for this was
returning to Townsville in 2007 from a long stint in the U.K with our first child on the way. We both realised that we wanted the flexibility and freedom to work on our terms, to be there for our growing family whenever we needed or wanted to be. In 2009 we began trading, the same week our second child was born! I can still remember the late nights invoicing and feeding the baby at the same time! Cups of coffee together into the late hours of the night discussing jobs, strategies and possibilities, all whilst marvelling at our children’s growth and development. The start of our business brings back the fondest memories and in my opinion was the best decision we ever made.
“I realised the learning curve going from a young tradesman to a business operator quickly.” Travis Stewart
Garry: Our company, GESA Pty. Ltd., turned 10 this year. We came to the point where we thought, ‘If we do not try, will we ever turn back and wonder what would have happened?’ You must take risks if you want to move forward. Travis: I started electrical contracting in 2005 at the age of 19; I realised the learning curve going from a young tradesman to a business operator quickly. Then earlier this year I created an entirely new business with a clear directive to help the industry become aware of safety and
“In 2009 we began trading, the same week our second child was born! I can still remember the late nights invoicing and feeding the baby at the same time!” Sharon Allan
embrace it, making it simple for them to understand. The reason was the missing link between traditional consultants and the electrical contracting community. I believe that many contractors consistently receive incorrect information that leave them liable for remedial work, they then unknowingly pass that to the client. The decision to start anew with one clear direction – making safety simple to understand and to help people become aware of compliance issues in their workplace. What role do you think social media plays for electrical contractors in the modern business world? Sharon: Social media is a critical element for the success of electrical contractors in the modern business world. Used effectively, social media is a fantastic platform for contractors to not only advertise and promote their business but to showcase their company achievements, projects and employees as well. It can create a relationship with the public/ potential customers before a relationship has even been made, which is a great starting block to create business and build from it, as words spreads. It is a wonderful tool for connection and recognition which can be very difficult to achieve in a time where people are so busy and not often
available for ‘old fashioned networking’ and is also an inexpensive method to achieve recognition without having to outlay money on costly advertising. Garry: Properly used, social media is great. We use it to inform our followers about current projects and jobs we have done as well as to showcase our clients. One of the first reference points we bring to the attention of new clients is our Facebook page, we encourage them to like it and show it to their friends. At the end of the day, their jobs can be our new showcase and who does not like to show off? Travis: We recognise that there are a lot of opportunities for the electrical contracting community to start interacting with their clientele through social media. Some forward-thinking electricians have already begun using business social media sites, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, to present their brand. It is great, but that presentation doesn’t use the full potential of social media. In other industries, social media is used to start a conversation with customers. How do you balance the pros and cons of business social media? Sharon: Like any aspect of the business, social media has its pros and cons. In my view, if you treat it like you would an
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“Properly used, social media is great. We use it to inform our followers about current projects and jobs we have done as well as to showcase our clients. One of the first reference points we bring to the attention of new clients is our Facebook page ...” Garry Nau
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“ We came to the point where we thought, ‘If we do not try, will we ever turn back and wonder what would have happened?’ You must take risks if you want to move forward.” Garry Nau
interaction with a person, you can’t go too far wrong. Keep it tasteful, keep it useful and informative, don’t over use it, don’t ignore comments, and observe and evaluate the response you are getting before continuing. Garry: I suggest to try to keep to business during work hours and private after hours. Not an easy act, but we are improving. Travis: Social media provides many upsides – it greatly enhances your network
and network opportunities with decisionmakers and peers and may also serve to inform and educate prospects on common electrical issues, and to start a conversation. A potential downside is that for you to reap the full benefits of social media, you need to be active: provide regular status updates, blog posts, relevant industry news. For some electrical contractors, this may be too much to handle, but there are some great tools and people out there who can help you manage your social media profiles. How do you think the role of the next generation of electricians will differ from this generation’s, amid an evergrowing demand for technological innovation in the industry? Sharon: I think the next generation of electricians will most definitely have an advantage from this generation in terms of technological savvy and prowess. They have been born into a technology-based world where change and upgrades are expected and desired.
I have no doubt they will embrace the ever-growing demand for technological innovation. They may, however, struggle without the good old basics of customer service and relations and the actual manual skills required to get a job done if they are too dependent on the use of modern technology. Garry: In this industry you’ll never stop learning and no one can know it all. The next generation will continue to network
“A potential downside is that for you to reap the full benefits of social media, you need to be active: provide regular status updates, blog posts, relevant industry news.” Travis Stewart
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with like-minded people, in modern ways. I recommend they outsource or share if they can too. Travis: Naturally it will change as the new generation is much more accustomed to using social media for sales, marketing, and customer support (e.g. online helpdesk). At Zero Industries we see that the use of social media depends on our customers’ appetite for it, and we aim to be among the first to bring the convenience of it to our clients. What motto do you do business by? Sharon: Work hard, work smart and work safe. Garry: Good enough is not good enough – it is either perfect or needs improvement. That is why our motto is: GESA – the technicians that set the standard. Travis: Safety simplified. We help electricians and their customers to simplify their compliance work and foster safe work environments for all.
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Next-gen satellites are all electric You would be hard pressed to find someone who isn’t fascinated by space. Now, a fresh wave of innovations are reaching the stars, creating greater efficiencies and adding years to the lifespan of spacecraft designs.
The world’s first all-electric propulsion satellite, built by Boeing for Bermudabased ABS, is now operational after an on-orbit handover earlier this year. The revolutionary communications satellite, dubbed the ABS-3A, is now in full use, www.masterelectricians.com.au
being operated by ABS, a Bermudabased satellite network that provides internet, phone and TV services across the world. And the 702SP (small platform) satellite is paving the way of the future. Unlike conventional satellites, which have commonly used propellant systems that
burn chemicals of one kind or another to get from place to place, the ABS-3A uses a xenon-ion propulsion system to achieve thrust. While the electric propulsion isn’t as powerful as chemical propellants when it comes to producing thrust, it can be up to
“While the electric propulsion isn’t as powerful as chemical propellants when it comes to producing thrust, it can be up to 1,000 times more efficient than chemical propellants.”
1,000 times more efficient than chemical propellants, which is why it’s suitable for long-range and long-duration space missions. The high efficiency of electric propulsion will also enable spacecraft to reach higher speeds than a chemical propellant. Although the ABS-3A won’t be heading anywhere in a hurry, as it is a mainly stationary satellite connecting the Americas, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Its use of the electric propulsion system will enable the ABS-3A to adjust its altitude and position in orbit. CEO of ABS Tom Choi says the ABS-3A satellite and its sister satellite offers the flexibility ABS needs to grow its fleet. And it’s just the beginning of the all-electric satellite fleet with the ABS-2A soon to join when it launches in early 2016. The ABS-2A design has been finalised. The design features 48 transponders and five dedicated high powered Ku-band beams. The ABS-2A will serve South Asia, South East Asia, Russia, Sub-Sahara Africa and Middle East and North Africa regions. “We believe Boeing’s innovative portfolio can help us to affordably grow now and in the future,” Mr Choi says.
The ABS-3A and ABS-2A’s ion propulsion system’s efficient use of fuel and electrical power mean the spacecraft can travel farther, faster, and cheaper compared with any other available technology – and the satellites’ operations can be extended beyond the usual expected spacecraft design life of 15 years. While the ABS-3A is the world’s first satellite to make use of a completely electric propulsion system, it’s certainly not the first spacecraft to incorporate electric propulsion – spacecrafts have been using electric propulsion since the 1960s! For more information about the ABS-3A, visit www.absatellite.com
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meet a master electrician Name: Stephen Coveny Company: Local Electrical and Solar Services State: Victoria Status: MEA member for 5 years
If you can brave the pre-dawn Victoria chill and head on down to the Hopkins River on any given day, you may see local sparkie Stephen Coveny, who reckons that an early morning fishing session is the best way to kick off any working day. Born in Wagga but now a long-time Warrnambool local, Stephen’s love for the environment led him to start Local Electrical and Solar Services in 2010 – a business dedicated to energy efficiency and renewable technology. Lisa Carter chats to the avid fisherman about work, marriage and renewable energy!
It’s quite unusual to go fishing on a Monday morning, isn’t it? How does it help you get ready for the day ahead? I mentally plan my day while out there casting a line – a luxury I couldn’t enjoy when working as an employee! Before long I am back at the office and answering emails and enquiries. I am usually on the road by mid-morning and attending jobs until late afternoon. Because the worst day’s fishing is still better than the best day’s work! You told me that Warrnambool fishing is some of the best around? Warrnambool has excellent freshwater, estuarine, beach, and ocean options – it’s the perfect mix of fishing! There are plenty of local lakes and rivers to catch trout, perch, or chinook salmon, and the Hopkins River is one of the best fishing spots in the state. It has excellent bream, estuary perch, salmon, and mulloway fishing. The beaches and ocean are productive year round with salmon, snapper, squid,
Stephen Coveny holding one of the fish that didn’t get away.
tuna and sharks like mako, school and gummy all regular catches. I love it so much that Local Electrical and Solar Services is actually a silver sponsor of the annual Shipwreck Coast Fishing Classic, one of the largest fishing competitions in Victoria. Your wife of 22 years shares your passion for the water – is that one of the secrets to a long and lasting marriage? My wife is very tolerant, so maybe that’s the key! I always say that marriage is all about give and take – at any one time, one person gives and the other one takes! The south-west is making a name for being central to the Victorian renewable energy belt, and is setting a massive investment in wind power to service the state’s needs, with Warrnambool at the heart of it all – what sets it apart? Agriculture, including dairy, sheep and forestry, is still at the core of Warrnambool’s economy, but renewable energy really is
a key opportunity here. Because it’s on the south-west Victorian coast, we are in a perfect spot for solar energy generation, but we also have a unique blend of natural resources such as wind, wave, gas and geothermal, so we’re pretty well located to be the renewable energy hub of Victoria in the future. Why did you decide to start your own business in 2010 – Local Electrical & Solar Services – and where would you like to see it grow in the future? After 35 years working for others in the electrical industry, I decided it was time for a new challenge. My passion has always been for renewables and energy efficiency technology, so I decided it was time to follow that passion. After completing a Certificate III in Business Management in 2010, I launched into Local Electrical & Solar Services and haven’t looked back! But another dream of mine is to see technological advances in sustainable energy production being utilised in the third world where they can really make a difference.
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Another batch of faulty cabling pulled from Queensland shelves The Electrical Safety Office Queensland’s (ESO Qld’s) recent discovery of yet another batch of faulty, imported cabling has added more fuel to the fire for the industry’s calls for government to take swift action on inadequate legislation that allows dangerous, sub-standard cabling products to end up on our shelves. The latest cabling products to fail to meet Australian standards – the fourth in just two and a half years following the Infinity, Olsent and Ecables recalls – has been manufactured in China by SKL Australia Cabling’s ‘parent company’, Shanghai Mining Cables, and imported by the Brisbane-based company. A serious issue has been identified with the insulation and sheathing PVS compound of the electrical cable that may lead to a reduction in the insulation integrity, causing it to break down prematurely, potentially leaving live wires exposed in much the same manner as with the Infinity recall last year. The products include SKL-branded TPS twin and earth cable with the marking ‘2013’, sold or distributed by SKL Cables Australia Pty Ltd, of sizes 1mm² to 16mm², configurations which are PVC sheathed and PVC insulated, however at the time of going to print, further testing was underway on additional batches. The products must be removed from sale and electricians must cease installation of this cable immediately. www.masterelectricians.com.au
This latest discovery is yet another warning to all those in the industry, that until our governments take action to increase the certification requirements for imported products, any cabling product that has not been fully tested and certified as meeting
Australian standards should be left on the shelf. Further information is available by calling the Electrical Safety Office on 1300 362 128.
Affected products included: SKL brand model No. VVF2C1E001 1mm² thermoplastic sheathed and insulated cable marked with the year 2013 SKL brand model No. VVF2C1E105 1.5mm² thermoplastic sheathed and insulated cable marked with the year 2013 SKL brand model No. VVF2C1E205 2.5mm² thermoplastic sheathed and insulated cable marked with the year 2013 SKL brand model No. VVF2C1E004 4mm² thermoplastic sheathed and
insulated cable marked with the year 2013 SKL brand model No. VVF2C1E006 6mm² thermoplastic sheathed and insulated cable marked with the year 2013 SKL brand model No. VVF2C1E010 10mm² thermoplastic sheathed and insulated cable marked with the year 2013 SKL brand model No. VVF2C1E016 16mm² thermoplastic sheathed and insulated cable marked with the year 2013
Legrand consults with industry to deliver Excel Life innovations Following extensive research and development, including a structured consultation program with contractors and end-customers, Legrand has delivered a suite of new innovations to its Excel Life range. The Legrand team has visited a significant number of electrical contractors on site in New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia to gain critical insights to design a range that meets all application and installation needs. Participating contractors were engaged in three or four rounds of faceto-face interviews to provide feedback on the way they work, their product needs and frustrations, and new Legrand prototypes.
of installation and quality proved to be top priorities, as well as safety and aesthetics.”
CEO of HPM Legrand, Tony Berland, says the company is paving the way of the future.
According to architect Adrian Light from One20 Group, one of the key design philosophies is honesty in the design.
“Legrand is committed to working with industry to deliver ongoing innovation. This is not just something we say; it is something we do,” Mr Berland says.
“We like to express (the space’s) services and see where things are going,” Mr Light says.
“Involvement from a wide selection of Australia’s electrical contractors has delivered deep insights into the industry’s needs. The value-price relationship, ease
Legrand also consulted with leading architects and developers to identify their design needs. “Demand for thinner profiles continues to grow as designers seek a seamless integration of electrical fixtures into interior designs. Contemporary, high-gloss finishes also continue to be popular.”
“We don’t like to necessarily hide the structure. Excel Life fits well into that philosophy because it makes the powerpoints and light switches another design element.”
Using these insights, Legrand has conducted a total review of its Excel Life range and launched one of its most significant updates. Excel Life is now the most comprehensive range on the Australian market, delivering faster, easier and safer installation for residential, commercial and medical applications. In addition to product innovations, Legrand has also released Product Environmental Profiles (PEPs) for key products to assist contractors on projects where measuring environmental impact is a key deliverable. Val Abolins from Sekisui House says the quality of the Excel Life product means there is no negative feedback. “The quality is there to sustain durability, longevity, functionality – it ticks every box for us,” Mr Abolins says. For videos and more information, visit www.excellife.com.au The Master Electrician
Summer storm safety With storm season well and truly upon us, it’s important to take the time to make sure your clients are ready. There are a number of simple steps home owners can take to protect personal safety, preserve electrical equipment, and deal with potential damage to the home’s electrical system but they don’t always have the know-how. As an electrical contractor, it’s time to put the word out to your clients, and let them know what they should and shouldn’t do during an electrical storm. While the states’ electrical regulators have issued a number of warnings on how to be prepared for the big wet, MEA has compiled its very own simple seven-step checklist just for you to share with your clients. 1. Put safety first Talk to your clients about the importance of not attempting DIY repairs if their property suffers storm damage, including their home’s electrical system and any electrical appliances affected. www.masterelectricians.com.au
2. Protect the system Tell your clients about the benefits of having lightning protection installed in their switchboards to protect all appliances. A small investment in surge protection could save clients thousands of dollars in replacing electrical items down the track. 3. Go offline before the storm Remind your clients to unplug all sensitive appliances, such as computers and TVs, and disconnect the telephone and TV antenna before the storm arrives. 4. Don’t connect during the storm Warn your clients to refrain from using equipment directly connected to electricity, including the stove, during a severe storm. 5. Be wary of wires Ensure your clients are well-aware of the dangers of electrical wiring during a storm – make sure they know to stay
far away from wires, which can often be concealed by fallen trees. 6. Call an electrician before your energy distributor Most people aren’t aware of the internal repairs most houses will require after a serious electrical storm, and tend to call their energy distributor to switch the power back on. Remind your clients that they need to contact you, the electrician, before the distributor is called out, as the electricity distributor will be unable to assist until wiring is fixed. 7. Be confident in your contractor Make sure your clients know they can call on you, a Master Electrician, to help them when faced with damage from an electrical storm. For more information, visit www.masterelectricians.com.au
Lighting Council Australia publishes an introduction to lighting controls The peak body for Australia’s lighting industry has prepared an introductory guide outlining the benefits of lighting controls. Lighting Controls Introduction explains the part that lighting controls systems play in achieving an energy efficient lighting design; increased comfort, safety, convenience, health and well-being of building occupants; aesthetic appeal of building interiors and exteriors; and installation cost reductions, building flexibility, maintenance improvements and compliance with building regulations.
Lighting Council Australia CEO Bryan Douglas says using lighting controls can cut energy bills, reduce greenhouse emissions and make a lighting system flexible and convenient to use.
pre-determined illumination levels and only when occupied. Overriding such systems is possible.
“For example, using a light level switch to control external building lighting will mean that external lights are not left on in the day time,” Mr Douglas says.
“Research is starting to affirm that productivity benefits and increased learning outcomes can result from varying lighting intensity and colour due to reinforced circadian rhythms.”
“Occupancy sensors and automatic light dimmers can switch or dim lighting automatically so that spaces are lit to
For more information and to download the Lighting Controls Introduction, visit www.lightingcouncil.com.au
Senate report pushes for higher standards for training providers A Senate committee into the operation, regulation and funding of private vocational education and training (VET) providers has called for stronger safeguards for students in the vocational education sector – a move welcomed by Master Electricians Australia following the launch of Master Electricians Training (MET). The final report, handed down on October 15, recommends that, given the evidence of rampant abuse among rogue providers, accelerating costs and doubling of bad debt, the government launches an immediate review into the operation and regulation of VET FEE-HELP.
Other key recommendations include limiting provider access to VET-FEE HELP so that only providers with the highest reputation for quality have unfettered access to the scheme; that the government, where there is evidence to do so, provides a brief to the DPP to launch prosecutions against providers engaging in or benefiting from fraud and take steps to recover monies lost; stronger regulation of brokers or marketing agents, and for the enforcement of action against RTOs providing inadequate training to students. MET partner, training provider Careers Australia, has been an active participant
in the Senate Inquiry process in order to ensure the best possible outcomes for students and industry across the vocational education sector. The Master Electrician
MEA teams up with Careers Australia to reimagine traditional training delivery Under an Australian-first agreement, Master Electricians Australia has partnered with Australia’s leading provider of vocational education and training to deliver a revolutionary training offering to MEA members and the wider electrical industry – Master Electricians Training (MET).
As an electrical contractor with a need for best-practice coupled with a busy schedule, you would be well aware of just how crucial the right training is for your staff. MEA has a longstanding history of providing world-class training for its members, something www.masterelectricians.com.au
we’ve been able to continually improve by listening to you – our members. As a part of our commitment to evolving with the industry’s changing needs, it seemed like a natural progression to partner with Careers Australia. Together, we’ve created a brandnew, revolutionary training system that is all about you.
So, what does this mean for you as an electrical contractor, and what does this mean for your staff? The highlight of the revised training offering will be a flexible new apprenticeship model, which has been developed by Careers Australia in response to feedback from the industry about the impact of traditional training on business operations. MET allows contractors to choose the courses they want their staff to undertake as well as the way those courses are delivered. But crucially, they also get to decide when. Keep staff on the tools when it’s busy, and get them learning when it’s not. MEA Chief Executive Officer Malcolm Richards says MET is completely reimagining the way staff undertake their training. “Many members have flagged the disruption their businesses suffer when they lose apprentices to the classroom for weeks at a time as a major efficiency challenge, so we’ve listened to those concerns and are now delivering what we believe will be a far more time-efficient solution,” Mr Richard says. “For far too long, businesses in the trade space have been forced to accept a take it or leave it system, so we decided to tip that approach on its head by partnering with Careers Australia, to deliver the most modern and flexible training solutions possible.
“Many members have flagged the disruption their businesses suffer when they lose apprentices to the classroom for weeks at a time as a major efficiency challenge ...” “Careers Australia has a proven track record of changing the landscape of education through its delivery methods, so by teaming up, we can meet the needs of busy electrical contracting businesses with a range of content and delivery methods including online learning, classroom options in every state, or a combination of both – it all comes down to what you, and your staff, find the most convenient,” he says. As a MET user, you will also have access to a significantly expanded range of training products for other areas of your business with options available for all staff members – not just your tradies. “The expanded service offering includes a full suite of management courses, as well as post-apprenticeship training and refresher courses in areas such as instrumentation, solar panels and hazard management, so electrical contractors can invest in themselves and their staff, and therefore the future of their businesses,” Mr Richard says. The Master Electrician
34 “Your staff will now have access to the same world-leading student support tools and resources – designed to ensure trainees complete their work as quickly as possible and get back on the job working for you – that Careers Australia has delivered to more than 2,500 businesses Australia-wide.” Careers Australia Managing Director Patrick McKendry says MET is a first-of-its-kind service offering with the potential to revolutionise the way industry bodies provide training to and for their members. “By working in industry, rather than parallel to it, MEA and Careers Australia are making the national training system relevant to the rapidly-changing workplace and the nature of work for this current generation of young and old Australians and for many more generations to come,” Mr McKendry says. “We believe the best ideas, the greatest innovations in skills come from industry and the workplace and that’s why we are embedded in it. “And while this is a first for industry, we believe it signals the start of a shift to this kind of training partnership model for a range of industries right across the nation,” he says. Mr Richards says you won’t have to break a leg to afford it, as training will continue to be provided at a reduced cost to members. “MET is a win for electrical businesses, employers and trainees, who will now receive the best training available in Australia, delivered at a time and place that suits them,” he says. To find out more information about Master Electricians Training, visit www.metraining.com.au
IP65 weather proof lighting sensor for the great outdoors. Durable enough to withstand Australia’s harsh conditions, the PW15 boasts an IP65 rating, making it ideal for outdoor entertaining, carparks & carport areas, and just about any other outdoor application. Order now from all leading electrical wholesalers. PH 1800 225 063 www.masterelectricians.com.au
Excel Life powerpoints
Olympus Series C videoscope
As part of the Legrand commitment to ongoing innovation, the new Excel Life single and double powerpoints have been meticulously engineered to deliver a product that is faster and safer to install than any other powerpoint on the market.
Machtig LED Illumination, in partnership with Sengled, are making LED lamps that are smart in more ways than one. PULSE by Sengled is a smart bulb that combines the energy efficiency of a dimmable LED light with the high-quality audio of JBL Bluetooth speakers to provide the ultimate wire-free home entertainment experience. You can link up to 8 bulbs on one system for ultimate sound!
Building on more than 100 years of optical and 40 years of endoscopic inspection experience, Olympus has developed the Series C videoscope, which is designed to provide quick and easy inspections in difficult-to-reach areas.
Contractors now have 10 reasons to try the new Legrand Excel Life powerpoints. These include the product’s smaller footprint for easier and faster installation, oversized mounting screw holes for greater flexibility and heavy duty and captive terminal screws that never get lost. Guided cable terminals draw in up to 4 x cables into each terminal with ease and the raised insulation barriers and inbuilt child safety shutters provide protection for added peace of mind.
Its advanced image processors can operate in much lower light levels than its competitors and resolve the finest detail such as corrosion, burrs and small defects or cracks. The videoscope combines Olympus optical and precision device expertise to allow an operator to inspect areas that have access ports down to 6.2mm and captures the clearest possible image by combining eight brightness settings, glare reduction, high intensity LED and light sensitive CCD camera chip technologies.
The Sengled Pulse is easy to install – like any other LED light bulb, it simply screws in to your E27 or B22 standard lamp bases. Adjust both lighting and sound from almost any Bluetooth enabled device, including your smart phone, tablet or Bluetooth TV. For more information, visit www.machtig.com.au
For more information, visit www.excellife.com.au
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How to implement Power Factor Correction within a business to help reduce energy costs Whether you’re aware of it or not, there are thousands of businesses around Australia that would benefit from installing Power Factor Correction (PFC) equipment at their sites. Recent changes in southeast Queensland, and to a lesser degree rural Queensland, have put Power Factor Correction back on the agenda, and in a big way.
Recent demand tariff changes by Energex and Ergon
Energy have meant that larger energy consumer’s power bills may have increased. The recent switch from a “KW demand” to a “KVA demand” means that if customers are running at a poor power factor (which almost all businesses are) there will be a noticeable increase in the power costs associated with these changes.
Inefficient electrical systems tend to use a large quantity of ‘reactive’ power (kVAr), which represents the power lost in the operation of inductive equipment such as transformers and electric motors. This invariably increases the total power load represented by your KVA – and reduces your overall energy efficiency, or ‘Power Factor’.
The representation of the relationship between kVA, kW and kVAr. kW/kVA = Power Factor.
Quality Energy’s QETD 200kVAr Segregated Power Factor Correction System.
Power Factor is the ratio between your KVA or total power load, and your KW, or the actual power working for your business. Power Factor is measured on a scale of between 0 to 1.0 inductive, and 1.0 to 0 capacitive. With 1.0 representing optimal energy efficiency.
look at how to counteract these additional charges and do as much as possible to help reduce costs.
You can understand that if a customer had demand charges of 300KW at a Power Factor of 0.7, they are now being charged at the new level of 429KVA. For businesses all around Australia, this can equate to thousands of additional dollars each month. Now that you know a little bit more about how Power Factor is calculated and what affect it can have on energy costs, you can
“The recent switch from a “KW demand” to a “KVA demand” means that if customers are running at a poor power factor (which almost all businesses are) there will be a noticeable increase in the power costs associated with these changes.”
By installing Power Factor Correction equipment you are minimising wasted energy, improving plant efficiency and ultimately saving you, or your customer money. Power Factor Correction equipment can also rectify many overloading issues and gives you the option to expand your plant without upgrading transformers or supply equipment. Everywhere you look around Australia, there is a high demand and need for Power Factor Correction. It’s just a matter of being informed enough to know the right questions to ask, and to identify if a business could benefit from PFC equipment. People call PFC ‘the new solar’, but with typical payback periods of anywhere between six and 30 months, Power Factor Correction is a solution that needs to be seriously looked at it more ways than one. Luke Stratford is the Managing Director of Quality Energy. Quality Energy is leading the way in the design, manufacturing, installation and maintenance of Power Factor Correction Systems throughout Australia and New Zealand. For more information, visit www.qualityenergy.com.au The Master Electrician
Michaelia Cash Minister for Employment, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash is barely three months into her new role, but is already attracting the attention of employers in the trade space all over the country.
You have been a commanding parliamentary performer since election to the Federal Parliament in 2007, and haven’t wasted any time shaking things up in Canberra since your appointment to your current role in September. How will you represent the collective needs of the employment sector? Both the government’s and my primary objective is to create an environment that is conducive to getting as many people into gainful employment as possible.
With a take-no-prisoners approach to creating fairness and integrity in trade unions by weeding out rogue operators, her commitment to strengthening the government’s response to domestic violence and increasing women’s workforce participation, and her impressive courtroom history practising employment and industrial law with Freehills – one of the largest commercial law firms in Australia – the Senator for Western Australia is proving she’s a force to be reckoned with.
Since the Coalition was elected, there have been 336,000 new jobs created, with nearly 163,000 new jobs created this year. The employment growth we have seen in Australia since then is four times the rate Australia experienced in the last year of the Labor Government, a significant positive shift.
Lisa Carter chats with Ms Cash about her long-term goals in the portfolio.
We know where the jobs will be created in the years ahead and so we are placing our energies and resources in backing these areas of growth. We are putting in place the policies that reward hard work, encourage innovation and take advantage of the opportunities that Australia is very well positioned to capitalise on. That is why we have invested significantly into such programmes as the $6.8 billion jobactive programme which in its first three months of operation has been responsible for 69,000 job placements. We are backing small business – the largest employer in the country and the engine room of the economy – with a comprehensive $5.5 billion Small Business and Jobs Package encouraging enterprises to grow. There has been much research on the need for Australia to improve its economic competitiveness to remain part of the global marketplace. We need to concentrate our efforts in areas that we have, or can create a competitive advantage if we are to increase individual prosperity and create more jobs as we seek to unlock our potential economic growth. Given the importance of the Chinese economy to our growing services sector, I am also convinced that the passage of the ChinaAustralia Free Trade Agreement is vital in helping unlock the full potential of jobs driven by trade with China. The same applies to all of the Free Trade Agreements that we have signed since coming to office in September 2013 – free trade equals jobs, growth, opportunity and wealth generation and I find it personally bemusing that in 2015 we continue to have some small yet vocal minorities who remain stridently opposed to trade liberalisation. Having a job enables you to meet new people and interact with others, and gives you a greater capacity and purpose in tackling life issues, so it is vital that we provide the policy framework that allows more people to get into stable, long-term employment. You’re already hard at work on your commitment to lifting female participation in the labour market and reducing gender gaps, and lifting youth employment – what steps are you taking?
We need to provide the flexibility that the 21st century workforce requires so we are working towards implementing reforms to Australia’s childcare system, supporting women out of the workplace to become job-ready and supporting small business to generate more jobs.
in me at a very young age. I have been criticised by some who claim I am a workaholic but I would say that hard work and maximum effort has simply been a way of life – and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
We are also looking at how tax reform can drive changes to our tax system, leading to practical outcomes for Australian women’s employment.
My father’s political role as a minister and later as president of the Legislative Council in Western Australia introduced me to politics at an early age. I learnt that you can either talk about change or be part of the change process.
Furthermore, we need to encourage more young women to pursue science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) based education as this will be where many of the jobs of the future exist and where there is currently an underrepresentation of women. I am also keen to work with other Ministers to help more young people into work through the government’s new $331 million Youth Employment Strategy announced in the 2015–16 Budget to address youth unemployment. It was also an important topic raised at the recent G20 meeting in Turkey where it was agreed there was an international need for a renewed commitment to creating economic growth and job creation, especially for young people. Politics is in your blood! How have your father’s, the Hon George Cash AM’s, experiences affected the way you have approached the often merciless world of politics? My parents brought my siblings and I up with a very simple philosophy – to achieve you work hard and to achieve more you simply work harder. There were never any excuses made for me and to this day I am very glad that a strict work ethic was instilled
What are the lessons you’ve learned as a highlyaccomplished lawyer, that now serve you well in Parliament? I learnt never to presume something to be a fact and that research is critical to properly understanding an issue prior to making any suggestions for change. I learnt never to go into court without being properly briefed and having appropriate contingency plans that could be put into action, as the evidence presented changed the circumstances of a case. I also learnt that contributing to solving problems as part of a proactive team usually achieves greater success than excluding others from assisting in seeking solutions to issues. What will be the biggest benefit to SMEs in the construction industry to reviving the Howard Government’s Australian Building and Construction Commission (ABCC) and the registered organisations legislation (which subjects union officials to the same potential penalties as directors of ASX 100 companies)?
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The government has said that for too long, there has been no deterrent in the construction industry for doing the wrong thing. A re-established ABCC is aimed at changing the culture of unlawfulness, which will be of interest to anyone in the construction industry who plays by the rules and wants to see an end to the thuggery and intimidation posed by a fringe minority. The recently-released Fair Work Building Industry Inspectorate Annual Report further confirmed the disturbing reality that has been obvious in the building industry for far too long. The independent regulator, courts and police have all expressed their serious concerns about select rogue unions’ complete contempt for the law. Lawlessness in the construction industry has a very high economic cost to Australia and Australians. It results in higher infrastructure costs, delayed projects, lost jobs, lost opportunities and stalled growth. It is completely unacceptable and is a serious issue that needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. On that note – you showed incredible fortitude back in June when you took the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union to task for its defence of officials who’d exhibited appalling behaviour towards a number of women. How will you tackle the task of holding rogue operators to account?
There is no question that there has been a long list of appalling behaviour on the part of numerous high-ranking CFMEU officials, including allegations of violence and intimidation against women. Such allegations clearly demonstrate the need for the parliament to pass the Building and Construction Industry (Improving Productivity) Bill 2013, reinstating the ABCC watchdog. Unfortunately, Labor and the Greens continue to obstruct it in the senate. Obviously, any recommendations made as part of the findings of the Trade Union Royal Commission will be seriously considered by the government. We must end the ingrained culture of fear and intimidation because the social and economic importance of the building and constructions sector cannot be underestimated. You were born in Subiaco, which houses one of the most celebrated AFL ovals in the country. It’s considered the ‘home’ of Australian Rules. So – West Coast Eagles, or Fremantle Dockers? I am primarily a West Coast Eagles fan and while we didn’t perform to the standard that I think anyone would have expected in the recent grand final, I would still argue we are “flying high”. I do have a soft spot for the Dockers and back them at every match – except the Derby!
your top 3 tech questions
Our hardworking technical team at Master Electricians Australia HQ help thousands of our members every year navigate a range of different issues. From interpreting standards, regulations or legislation to advice with technical, safety or compliance matters, our guys know it all! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions the tech teamÂ receives. 1. Wiring Rules Q: When the Wiring Rules call for the equipotential bonding of reinforcing steel rod inside concrete structures, is this classed as electrical work or can anyone do it? A: It is classified as electrical work. The same requirement would apply to all forms of earthing including main earth electrodes or bonding of a steel framed domesticÂ dwelling.
2. Date of initialisation Q: When completing a new installation, do I need to record the date? A: Yes, clause 8.4 of the Wiring Rules requires the date of initialisation to be recorded for future reference to verify the work was compliant at the time of completion. 3. Redundant low voltage cables Q: What is required when disconnecting
redundant low voltage cables that will be left in place in an installation? A: Clause 22.214.171.124 requires the redundant cables to be insulated at each end as applies to live conductors. The information above is specific to each question and may not apply to all such instances. If the application is different or has some similarities then please consult our Technical Hotline for further advice on 1300 889 198. The Master Electrician
letter of the law
What’s in a name? Registering a business name is one of the first steps of setting up a new business. However, there is confusion about what entity should have the business name and what protection it offers. The consequences of getting it wrong can undermine your asset protection and business structure. The risk We recently had a client who was sued by one of their customers. The client’s structure was set up so that one company owned the assets of the business, and another company ran the day-today operations. However, the business name was registered in the name of the asset-holding company instead of the trading company. This meant www.masterelectricians.com.au
that the customer sued the company for hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of assets, instead of the trading company which had no real value. In this case, the claim was relatively minor and the insurer picked up the bill. It was also arguable that the customer was suing the wrong company. However, it highlights the importance of correct business name registrations. An asset-holding company should
be insulated from risk, and should not have proceedings brought against it in the first place. Who should hold the business name? In most circumstances, it is an offence under the laws governing business names in each state and territory to carry on a business without being the registered holder of the business name. Therefore, generally business names should be registered in the name of the entity that carries on the business (that is, the trading entity). With the exception of franchisors and franchise-like arrangements, usually the asset-holding entity does not carry on the business and should not be the registered holder of the business name. To do so might expose the assets of the business name holder to risk, and the trading entity might be committing an offence. More importantly … who owns the trademark? Many people register the owner of the business name as the assetholding entity, because it owns the trademark or other IP behind it. However, business names are not property. Registering a business name means you are just registering who has the right to use the name. The Business Names Register is for the protection of the public, so that customers and the public know who they are dealing with and who they can sue. So usually your asset-holding entity should not be the entity that is the registered holder of the business name. Although it is generally not possible to register a business name if it is already taken, a business name registration does not give you exclusive use of your brand. If you register the business name and someone else already holds a trademark covering that name, you could well be sued for infringement of trademark. In addition, the trademark owner can stop you using the business name. To protect your brand name from competitors, and to avoid disputes over which entity owns the intellectual property in the brand, you should consider registering a trademark for the brand. The trademark should be held by the asset-holding entity and the trading entity should have a formal, legally documented right to use the name under licence. The terms of the licence should include permission to register a business name and that the right to use it immediately comes to an end if the trading entity becomes insolvent.
“Registering a business name means you are just registering who has the right to use the name. The Business Names Register is for the protection of the public, so that customers and the public know who they are dealing with and who they can sue.”
For further information, or if you wish to meet with one of our lawyers, please contact: Gold Coast Sean Diljore P (07) 5553 8400 E email@example.com Thomas Rittson P (07) 5553 8400 E firstname.lastname@example.org Brisbane Jolynda Turner P (07) 3223 5907 E email@example.com Ian Heathwood P (07) 3223 5942 E firstname.lastname@example.org Mackay Suzanne Brown P (07) 4963 0820 E email@example.com Surat Basin Gilda Clarke P (07) 4668 9800 E firstname.lastname@example.org The Master Electrician
Does your business have a technology plan? The way we do business is progressing at an ever-increasing rate and all businesses are looking for that competitive edge. Jason O’Dwyer, MEA’s Manager of Advisory Services, takes a look at how businesses are integrating the latest mobile technology.
What seemed to be science fiction 20-30 years ago is now
an integral part of our lives. Who would have thought Star Trek could accurately predict the future, or that entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs would make science fiction a reality? Most of us recall Captain Kirk asking Lieutenant Uhura, with her Bluetooth ear piece, to make contact with the Romulin’s in the late 60’s or Jean Luc Picard walking around the deck of Star Trek Next Generation with a mobile device that looks very similar to our tablets of today while defending against the Klingons on the starboard bow. According to the Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey 2014, smart phone penetration has reached a staggering 76 per cent in Australia. This eclipses the UK and US who have rates of 70 per cent and 58 per cent respectively. Smart phone users have some interesting habits. Deloitte’s report shows us 68 per cent of people look at their phone up www.masterelectricians.com.au
to 25 times a day, those over the age of 45 look at their phone only up to 15 times a day and 46 per cent of all users will look at their phone within 15 minutes of waking up. Smartphones are an ever-increasing part of our lives – for employees and employers alike. Many small businesses have already taken advantage of this phenomenon, and have started adopting mobile technology. But what are the issues to consider for those businesses just starting down this road? MEA provides information on our free Digital Business Kit site to assist these businesses. The information provided aims at demystifying the jargon around the technology and rapid advancements. However, to ensure the success of this strategy, businesses should engage with their employees. The more hi-tech your business gets, the more hi-tech employers need to be. That said, bring your employees along for the journey –
don’t assume knowledge or attitudes of employees, as some may well be late technology adopters. Design your technology plan but before implementing it, engage all staff and investigate and plan for issues that might well be identified in the following areas:
• What issues do employees identify? • Privacy? • Encroachment into personal time? • Blurring the boundaries between work and home?
• What is the age of the workforce and what is their readiness to accept technology?
• Conduct risk assessments and SWMS for using phones/tablets in different scenarios.
• Interview staff or survey them about their current smartphone or tablet experience:
• Implement and familiarise your policy on internet social media usage.
• How are they currently using their smartphone? • How old is it? • Are they an Apple or Android user (according to Deloitte, 45 and overs prefer Samsung over Apple products)? • Is the device 3G or 4G enabled?
• Consider options for training staff on new technology – different employees learn in different ways. • If staff are reluctant to use new software, consider conducting small group sessions where staff can be taught how to use the devices. • Pair employees with a mentor; utilise your more tech-savvy staff (new dog teaching an old dog a new trick).
• Can they download an app? • What apps are they comfortable using? • Would they consider moving to a BYOD (bring your own device) system? • Are they familiar with terminology related to smart phones (cloud, app, etc)? • Do they have any concerns or misgivings about smart phones? (e.g. “You’re just doing this so you can track me, spy on me or look at my personal information.”)
Keep in mind that a large hidden cost to business is turnover. In many cases, you will have made a major investment in your employees by training and skilling them. If you introduce a change such as this, the employee may feel resentful, left behind or isolated and may leave. Take these few steps to make sure you are considering your employees to ensure you understand their handle on the latest mobile technologies. Ensure your business has a technology plan in place and reap the rewards of a more efficient and cost-effective business model.
Your top three workplace relations questions Q: Does sick leave rollover (accumulate) each year? A: Yes, sick leave (i.e. personal/carer’s leave) accumulates year to year. If an employee does not use all of their sick leave, the balance will rollover, continue to accrue and there is no cap on the accrual. If employees are not receiving accumulated sick leave, an adjustment should be made in your payroll system to account for this. Q: Do I pay out an apprentice’s annual leave at the end of their apprenticeship if they are staying on as a tradesman? A: No. This is a common misconception in the industry. If an
apprentice is going to continue to work for your business, it is continuous employment and their entitlements such as annual leave and sick leave simply rollover. As such, there is no new ‘probation period’ and the apprenticeship period counts as service. This also means that all outstanding leave entitlements will attract the tradesman pay rate if the leave is taken after the completion of the apprenticeship. Q: Does an employer have to pay for an apprentice’s TAFE fees? A: Yes, the electrical modern award requires employers to reimburse an apprentice (unless there is
unsatisfactory progress) all fees paid by the apprentice. The amount the employer has to reimburse is offset by any amount the apprentice has already been reimbursed from a government payment. If there are no incentives or reimbursements available to the employee, the employer is liable to reimburse the full amount of the fees. Alternatively, the employer can pay these fees directly to the TAFE/college. These fees must be reimbursed within six months from commencement, at each stage of the apprenticeship, or within three months of the RTO commencing the training, whichever is the latter. TAFE fees also extend to payment of prescribed textbooks for the course.
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Master Electricians out and about Thanks to our members who attended our recent events. We had a great time at our 2015 Electrical Industry Conference in Kyoto, Japan. Over four activity-packed days, MEA members networked with other electrical contractors, wholesalers, suppliers, and their families, learning from each other’s experiences, as well as the experiences of our esteemed speakers. See if you can find yourself in these pics, and check out our upcoming events in the calendar.
The kids didn’t miss out on the fun!
The girls enjoyed dressing up in their colourful kimonos.
Guests enjoyed a traditional Japanese welcome, as they were entertained by geisha.
The men were right into traditional Japanese culture, donning kimonos while cracking open the sake!
Our sparkies were treated to a lesson in ‘finding your Zen’ by the deputy priest at Taizo-in Temple.
Everyone had their party faces on as they enjoyed the final night’s celebrations. There sure were some creative costumes!
This activity session brought out the inner Samurai in our sparkies!
Everyone had a blast in Kyoto – even our CEO got into the spirit!
The Laughter Specialist and MC for our conference, Scott Williams, had everyone in stitches!
From the get go, our sparkies were ready to immerse themselves in Japanese culture.
Sparkies and their families were treated to a traditional Japanese feast.
Smile for Instagram! #MEAconference #livefromkyoto
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Our Western Australia excellence award winners proudly holding their trophies, standing alongside the Hon. Kate Doust (second from right).
The five members of our Western Australia judging panel.
Our industry forums are always informative – but the highlight has got to be enjoying a beer with good company.
Our WA Women in Contracting award winner, Kimberely Marshall from ComSpark Pty Ltd (left), celebrating her win with guests.
The boys from Horan & Bird, F & S Parisi Electrical and Lex Electrix put on their best faces for the camera.
Lance Cislowski and Nev Steemson looking chuffed, as they are presented with prestigious life membership awards in Bundaberg.
Got a snap to share? Congratulations to Eric and Steve Elvery, who were presented with a 50-year membership award at a recent Bundaberg forum.
Send ‘em through to: email@example.com
events calendar Snapshot of MEA member events and webinars taking place this SUMMER Contact your State Manager to find out more
Masterclass events focus on soft skills and practical business topics in an intimate and conducive environment. These events will run nationally throughout the year and members will need to register their attendance in advance.
Forums are stand-and-deliver events which cover technical topics generally from a supplier or sponsor. Forums will run nationally throughout the year and members will need to register their attendance in advance.
The Exchange is a series of events that will answer the most requested needs of our members; to directly connect them with partners who can make a difference in their business. Set up in a ‘speed dating’ style, Exchange events will be hosted by three Master Electricians Australia brands: • The Electricians Digital Business Kit
The Excellence Awards is a nationally run awards program that recognises the hard work and talent in the electrical industry. There are a number of project and individual awards which vary with the nomination criteria and some of the individual awards open to non-members. Each state battles it out at the state award nights and then the winners travel to the national awards night that is held in a different location each year.
The annual Electrical Industry Conference is held both domestically and internationally and is a fantastic opportunity to network with other members, industry leaders and key industry suppliers while enjoying an action-packed itinerary and absorbing the local culture and attractions. This industry event of the year is open to members and non-members.
• Women in Contracting (WiC)
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The golf days are almost tradition in Queensland – a year can’t go past without each of the branches getting together and enjoying a day of golf, laughs and industry networking.
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Saturday 21 Novem ber 2015 6.30pm for 7pm –10pm Royal Inte rnational Convention 600 Gre gory Ter Centre, race Bow en Hills, $150 QLD $170
• Apprentice Club
Women in Contracting The Women in Contracting (WiC) event series will be launched nationally in 2016 where each of the states will enjoy a variety of events that focus on women in the industry. The events will encompass three major pillars to ensure the ladies walk away with a variety of informative and helpful information to continue all of their great work and also ensure they build valuable networks amongst each other.
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Please complete this form and fax back to 1800 622 914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org m.au Master Electricians Association Limited ACN 163 222 642 Industrial Organisation of | Electrical and Communication Employers ABN 40 669 s Association Queensland 256 171 | ARBN 605 005 123 Member’s liability is limited
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the last word
Master Electricians Training (MET): We’ve listened and we’ve delivered You’ll no doubt have read here or in other industry publications that we’ve launched a new training system for business owners called Master Electricians Training (MET) – an expanded offering designed for the electrical industry with more courses and more flexibility than anything we’ve attempted before.
We’ve put the facts and stats under the microscope, and have now seen firsthand how it’s managed to build such an impressive track record for meeting the needs and changing landscape of industry education, and how it’s achieved some of the best student success rates in the country.
As a registered training provider, we’re committed to evolving our apprenticeship model to keep step with a changing industry, so we place enormous weight on your feedback to know what’s working, but also what’s not.
And we’ve found Careers Australia’s delivery methods – on or off the job, on campus, online, or a unique blend of any of those – to be a near-perfect solution for problems you’ve flagged.
One of the biggest gripes we’ve heard is about how much damage you suffer when your apprentices have to down tools and disappear into a classroom for weeks at a time. How many times has your staff’s block training hit right before your team needs to deliver an electrical installation in record time? Or when you’re already short because someone’s on holiday, broken a bone, or taken parental leave for a new baby? You’ve told us it’s frustrating, costly and causes you grief, so we’ve listened and we’ve delivered, making flexibility and choice the cornerstones of MET by partnering with Careers Australia – one of the biggest training providers in the country.
The highlight of the system is the flexible new apprenticeship model, but MET actually goes even further. You’ve told us you need simple and cost-effective ways to upskill your staff, so we’ve included a full suite of management courses to cover all areas of your business – not just for your on-the-tools tradies. MET users also get access to Careers Australia’s world-leading student support tools and resources, which have been designed to help trainees finish courses promptly, and get back on the job working for you. We’ve also listened when it comes to your business’s bottom line, so we’re offering
MET to members at a discounted rate. We believe it’s a win for trainees, employers and electrical businesses, who will now receive the best training available in Australia, delivered at a time and place that suits them.
MALCOLM RICHARDS CEO
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Published on Dec 15, 2015
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