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Help with new standards

The government wants employers to provide input into the standards for apprentices– and here is the industry’s chance to help, says Institute of Refrigeration secretary Miriam Rodway

The government is calling for employers to get involved in owning and leading future apprenticeship standards.

The Institute of Refrigeration is co-ordinating this work on behalf of the cooling sector, with representatives of ACRIB, the BRA, B&ES RACHP group and additional employers.

It will be working with a wide range of employers over the next few months to propose a brand new set of apprenticeship standards that could replace existing apprenticeships by 2017.

The help and input of the industry is essential to driving these forward.

An IOR discussion paper is available on the ior.org.uk website and we invite everyone to submit comments on the principles of how refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump technician apprenticeships should work.

Anyone with an interest or involvement in RACHP is invited to consider and respond to this based on their experience of training new entrants and the range of job activities they need to be involved in.

We would particularly welcome input from recent trainees, current students, trainers and supervisors.

The IOR is an affiliate member of the Engineering Council, which sets professional engineering standards, and therefore is well-placed to look at the full range of requirements for individuals preparing to work in the sector.

This will include key requirements and attributes as well as principles of assessment.

The discussion paper proposes that the vocational entry-level becomes known as RACHP Engineering Technician, and that the vapour compression cycle becomes the core of both the qualifications and training.

A new occupational standard should help technicians to feel equally at home in any of the three major areas of refrigeration, air conditioning or heat pumping.

The standard needs a qualification that is of a suitably high level – reflecting the fact that engineers commonly work alone, on site, away from the office and without the close supervisory support that may otherwise be available – thus the proposal is an advanced level occupation starting at National Level 3 (the current qualifications start at Level 2).

More details can be found on the discussion paper at www.ior.org.uk.

A final summary of the industry’s requirements will need to be submitted to the government in early 2015 so it is important that as many views from a wide variety of businesses in the sector are included.

Anyone interested in the future of training and skills in the RACHP sector can join an Apprenticeship Stakeholder Group, so that they are kept informed progress in this area.

Please contact me at the IOR (miriam@ior.org.uk) with your feedback or to be added to the stakeholder group.

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