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Skills for the future

There are a significant number of benefits the Institute can offer technicians as they work through their apprenticeships. Miriam Rodway reports

Following the Institute of Refrigeration’s support for employers in developing the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship programme, there has been an increase in the number of applications from service engineers to join as technician members already this year.

The new apprenticeship is redesigning the training that new entrants to the sector receive, with a much stronger emphasis on fundamental principles, which will prepare them to work with any of the wide range of existing and forthcoming new refrigerants on the horizon.

Colleges and trainers are also being encouraged by the Institute to prepare for the new requirements and each college is to be invited to nominate a member of staff as an Institute of Refrigeration representative, who will gain access to technical publications, updates and all 200 of the existing Service Engineers Section practical bulletins.

These bulletins are already used by many of the colleges as teaching resources, as they cover both good practice and fundamental topics.

For example, the bulletin on Understanding How to Use Pressure Enthalpy Charts has a question-and-answer section, and those covering Introduction to key refrigerants have simplified tables of properties and lists of safety considerations.

In return, the colleges will be required to keep the Service Engineers’ Section panel of technical editors updated with areas of the new curriculum, where they require additional practical guidance or information from manufacturers and suppliers on new technologies, which is channelled through the section.

Each college will also be invited to host a technical update talk from industry representatives, so that students can meet employers and find out more about changes in the wider industry. 

As part of this initiative, students who have successfully completed a Refrigeration, Air Conditioning or Heat Pump Apprenticeship will, from September 2015, be offered membership of the Service Engineer’s Section, to support them during their first year of learning on the job, having left the college environment.

This will give them access to all of the new technical bulletins issued by the IOR Section.

These will cover key topics during the coming months such as R22 phase-out obligations for end-users, air conditioning efficiency guidance, recovery of refrigerant, R32 handling, compressor technologies and so on.

They will also find out how they can access some of the updated Guidance Notes and Codes of Practice that the IOR Technical Committee is preparing to publish this year on topics such as Refrigerant Pumps, EcoDesign Legislation, Oil Contamination and Changes Expected to EN378 in 2016.  

Both existing and new service engineers will be encouraged to gain Engineering Council registration at Engineering Technicians (EngTech), which is available to IOR members of any grade. Anyone who holds a recognised Apprenticeship Qualification will find it easier to meet the necessary criteria.  Engineering Council Registration of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning engineers provides recognition for their skills across all engineering sectors, and also shows their own personal commitment to ongoing professional development, which membership of the IOR can provide.

Cold store code revision published

After a substantial review the IOR has now republished its Cold Store Code of Practice.

The Code includes three sections: Specification, Design and Refrigeration.

This brings together the material which was previously published in two separate documents, into a single, substantial item which is a key resource for anyone involved in the practice or consultancy of cold store design.

The first section on specification is a completely new addition that aims to help designers work with clients on clarifying requirements.

The Code includes a comprehensive list of references and legislation which may affect cold store construction, design, maintenance or operation. It includes a series of templates that can be downloaded as Word documents for operators or installers to complete or customise.

It’s available to download now from the IOR website with a discount for IOR members.

Are you an international networker?

A plan to set up collaborative networks outside of the UK and within under-represented sectors of the industry is being prepared by the Institute.

Members are being invited to join a series of Working Groups to look at what the Institute can offer individuals in other countries or whose interests are related to refrigeration, but might not see themselves as directly involved in the RACHP sector or consider joining organisations such as the IOR.

If this is an area you can offer some time to, we would be very much interested in talking to you.  Current working groups are focused on schools, careers and membership engagement.

We are also looking for volunteers to trial a new promotional website for schools based on refrigeration science. Groups are open to both members and non-members. More details on how you can get involved are available from Miriam Rodway, Secretary at the IOR – www.ior.org.uk.  

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