Faraday Centre

A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Faraday Centre's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Faraday Centre is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Managing Director Barry Thomas
The Faraday Centre –
Wilton premises
The Faraday Centre is an electrical training and consultancy
facility that aims to ensure the safe and secure application
of electrical safety rules, regulations and procedures.
Managing Director Barry Thomas explains that they utilise
classroom-based presentations and practical hands-on training
on operational switchgear, motors, transformers, generators
and cables ranging from 230 volts to 33,000 volts. This range of
training solutions allows them to help other organisations avoid
accidents and improve their standards as a result.
We were established in June 1991 in a 375-square metre unit, with just one full-
time and one part-time member of staff, who worked three days per week. We
had just two clients on our books, but we have since grown into specialists and
industry leaders in our field.
Quality training solutions
All of our lecturers are qualified electrical engineers with many years’ industrial
experience. Some were redundant electrical engineers that we recruited when
Redcar Steel Works and Air Products closed their works. The lecturers are audited
regularly to ensure they remain abreast of current technology and without a
lowering of quality standards. By using interpreters, courses have also been
conducted in Russian and French.
Our training methods include the presentation of formal lectures by experienced and
qualified tutors. These are reinforced by the use of comprehensive technical notes
supplied to each candidate. PowerPoint presentations are used for clarification of
»Managing Director:
»Established in 1991
»Based in Redcar
»No. of employees: 35
»Services: Electrical training and
»4,000-square metre practical
and academic facility
»Winner of the prestigious
Association of Electrical and
Mechanical Trades for 2018
in the Skills and Training
category, which is nationally
recognised within our industry
Faraday Centre
Highlighting best practice
various points by means of diagrams
and text. To ensure that each candidate
receives personal training, class sizes
are limited to numbers of generally
12 or less. Practical exercises are
carried out on live electrical switchgear
utilising the high and low voltage safety
rules and procedures covered in the
These practical exercises are normally
restricted to a maximum of four
candidates or less. At the end of the
course, each candidate undertakes
an individual theoretical and practical
competence assessment. This is
carried out on the basis of one
assessing lecturer to one candidate.
The candidate receives no help from
the assessor during the competence
assessment. If the individual candidate
being assessed is not up to our
exacting standards, that person fails
the course.
We operate in the commercial sector
and do not rely upon candidate
funding by local, national or EU
government. After extensive research,
potential clients or candidates are
contacted by post, emails or social
media. This is complemented by
advertisements, telephone conference
calls, face-to-face meetings, seminars
and trade fair exhibits. All of the above
are carried out in the UK and overseas.
We are also approved by the following
bodies: Excellent Achievement and
Learning (EAL); International Maritime
Contractors Association (IMCA);
International Standards Organisation
(ISO 9001 & 14001); Royal Society
for Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA);
Accreditation Service for International
Schools, Colleges and Universities
(ASIC); Maritime and Coastguard
Agency (MCA) and numerous blue-
chip companies including British and
foreign government bodies.
Overcoming ongoing
Shortly after we initially commenced our
operations, the steel industry cancelled
all their training. This was a major blow,
Overview no. 1 of
installed switchgear
System electrical control
but within a few months an electrical
accident caused injury to an electrician,
which resulted in the steel industry
reinstating more advanced training
programmes. It had finally become
clear to senior management that good
training avoids accidents and saves lives.
One of the challenges we have faced is
recruitment and, importantly, the ability
to retain skilled and motivated individuals
capable of fulfilling specific posts.
Recruitment – including initial training
– is an expensive exercise, especially
since there is a national shortage of
electrical power engineers. It is not
practical for us to recruit apprentices
as lecturers, due to their lack of
knowledge and experience; however,
we have employed apprentices in
administration, accounts and marketing
roles. While recruitment will always
remain a challenge for a number of
businesses, we have been able to employ
a number of excellent members of staff,
who we value highly. This has included
people from Poland, the USA and the
Middle East, and we will continue to
be international in our outlook.
An additional problem is the continual
change in legislation and regulations,
as some are new laws while others
are amendments to existing laws.
Businesses exist to produce a particular
service or product and time spent on
familiarisation with rapidly changing
legislation is time not spent on winning
sales. Health and safety is quite rightly
a major issue, but many companies
have been confused by some of the
requirements. Confusion has grown to
the extent that the HSE introduced the
“Myth Busters” campaign, which has
been beneficial to employers.
The various forms of tax increases,
including pensions, have produced a
financial challenge to many companies.
As a result of the economic situation,
many companies have gone out of
business or cut back training budgets.
This is exacerbated by foreign training
companies and government-funded
colleges within the UK.
Future strategy
We have recently moved into new
premises, moving from a 1,400-square
metre unit to a 4,000-square metre
unit. This has been self-funded by
the company without any form of
government aid and has come at a
major cost, but we think it will be
worth it in the long run.
Our vision for the future is to continue
to expand our sales from £80,000 in
1992 to £2,500,000 in 2018/2019.
This can be achieved with the present
staffing level, but we require a
vigorous marketing and sales campaign
in the UK, the Middle East, Pakistan,
Australia and China. Our limited EU
business also needs to grow. The
additional sales can be achieved by
our sales team, however, by setting
up associated centres and partnerships
in Hull, Australia, Abu Dhabi and
Pakistan, we think we have expanded
our potential training capacity.
As our business grows, local hotels,
restaurants, taxis and shops will
significantly benefit as overseas
candidates come to our UK training
centre. The fact that we are able
to support local communities and
charities is something that we are quite
proud of. Think Safe! Think Training!
Think Faraday!
Good training
accidents and
saves lives
Overview no. 2 of
installed switchgear


This article was sponsored by Faraday Centre. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister