Interview with the ECA(SA) president

December 10th, 2013, Published in Uncategorised articles

Michael Straton

On 14 November 2013, at the ECA(SA)’s annual general meeting, Michael Straton of Straton Engineering in Port Elizabeth was elected the association’s new president. In an interview with Vector’s, Straton said the association’s first organisational goal was consolidating and improving its service to its members.

“It is important that we recognise our members while constantly encouraging members to participate in and contribute to the branch activities of the ECA(SA), as this is the lifeblood of any member driven organisation.”

Straton says the ECA will focus on four core services to members in the year ahead: training, labour relations, technical and contractual matters.

He says the main challenge facing the ECA today is to keep members informed and aware of changes in the industry. The ECA’s staff will continue to focus on the core mandates given to it by its members.

“Delegates of the association are well-placed to represent members at all levels to ensure that the voice of our members is heard in all forums where we influence and assist in shaping policy. These forums include the SABS, Electrical Bargaining Council, JBCC and the CETA.”

He says the ECA is “actively seeking membership in the SMME sector as this will help develop the industry and South Africa.” The association plans to do this by concentrating on its four core mandates to members.

On the availability of work, Straton says employer and employee numbers in the local electrical contracting industry have increased by 10,17% and 11,09% respectively between December 2012 and December 2013, which points to good growth. ECA member numbers in Gauteng, he says, “have reported exceptional growth”.

Turning to traning in the industry, Straton points out that ECA members employ over 70% of the South African electrical contracting workforce.

“We recognise the vital role we play in ensuring that the correct industry-focused training is delivered to our members. Skills development is extremely important for continuity and keeping up of standards in the industry, and the ECA has consequently applied again to the CETA for further funding to train more apprentices and Elconops.”

He says the R10-million contract with the CETA to fund apprentice and Elconop 2 and 3 training was subject to many delays but is back on track thanks to concerted intervention by both the CETA and ECA representatives.

“We are pleased to offer much-needed opportunities for employees to improve themselves through training and are excited that additional skilled workers can be provided to the industry.”

Training as a member service, he says, will be a point of focus in 2014 and the ECA is rolling out institutional training for apprentices and Elconops 2 and 3 in the first quarter of 2014 as part of the fulfillment of the R10-million contract with the CETA.

When asked whether the ECA plans to make its members more aware of counterfeit, sub-standard and non-compliant product, Straton said the SABS, NRCS and Customs and Excise have a legal mandate and the power to ensure that the product reaching our shores does comply.

“The ECA is open to associate members who are suppliers to the industry. These associate members do inform members of defective or counterfeit product at quarterly branch meetings.” And his message to his members?

“The ECA is a member focused and driven association which takes seriously  its four core member services – training, labour relations, technical and contractual. It is through initiatives such as the Presidential Excellence Awards that the ECA continues to build and guide the industry.

“We recognise members as our entire focus. Continued promotion of excellence in the industry is raising the profile of our members who are recognised as the ‘go to’ professionals in the electrical contracting industry. Key to continued growth and excellence by our members is a strong training programme.”