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Your industry needs you

The next generation of apprenticeship standards for cooling and heat pumps are now up for debate. Get involved – your input could help define the future of the industry, says Miriam Rodway

The RACHP industry has been invited by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills to take the lead in a trailblazer pilot scheme to develop a new apprenticeship standard and assessment structure for the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump engineering technician.

Why does this affect you? The apprenticeship training sets the benchmark for competency for the future of our whole industry.

Whether you work in design, manufacturing, installation, commissioning, service and maintenance or sales, you will be affected by the work of the hands-on technician’s ability to do their job effectively.

For some years now, there has been a general concern that training standards are slipping – with less emphasis on a good working knowledge of the fundamental principles and too much emphasis on useful, but generic, building services practice such as health and safety, IT or plumbing.

It is time now for our industry to regain control of the standards so that they include appropriate and relevant knowledge, skills, behaviours, scope, assessment and qualifications. This means that everyone will have a chance to have their say including trainers, supervisors and students.

A small group of dedicated employers representing the trade associations BRA, HEVAC, B&ES RACHP Group, ARC and the Institute of Refrigeration have committed their expertise and time to seeing this through.

They will make sure that new RACHP apprenticeships will work for the sector in the future.

So far, more than 6,000 companies have been invited to take part in a consultation and 98 stakeholders involved.

Behind this is the independent technical expertise of the Institute of Refrigeration; the cross-sector standards set for all engineering trades by the Engineering Council; and the RACHP training provider network.

The output will initially be a two-page description submitted to government for approval in January.

This will be followed by details of quality assurance, assessment methods and updated qualifications, with rollout through registered training providers for introduction in 2017-18, when the current apprenticeship qualifications are withdrawn.

If you want to have a voice in the future of our sector and help to address the skills gap for technicians, look at www.ior.org.uk/trailblazer and show your support for this industry-led approach.

Contact miriam@ior.org.uk for more information.

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