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Australian industry association pushes career pathway

AIRAH, the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating, is pushing forward with creating career pathways for engineers working in building services and refrigeration.

Following AIRAH’s discussions and research with the HVAC&R industry, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will – as of May 14 – officially recognise “building services engineer” as a discrete occupation. The announcement coincides with the release of AIRAH’s Building Services Engineer (mechanical) – model career pathway.

AIRAH is also conducting research around the feasibility of the profession “refrigeration engineer” being recognised as a discrete occupation by the ABS.  

The ABS says Building Services Engineer will be listed as a specialisation under 233512 Mechanical Engineer in the release of ANZSCO Version 1.2, slated for May 14.

AIRAH CEO Phil Wilkinson, M.AIRAH, says the announcement from the ABS is the culmination of considerable work around developing a model career pathway for mechanical building services engineers. The work, Wilkinson says, was inspired by AIRAH’s “closing the skills gap” strategic aim.

“The term ‘mechanical engineer’ is a broad description that covers roles beyond the HVAC industry, whereas ‘building services engineer’ more specifically refers to mechanical services such as air conditioning, heating and ventilation,” Wilkinson explains.

AIRAH’s Building Services Engineer (mechanical) – model career pathway is now available from the “Careers resources” tab of www.airah.org.au

“The model career pathway defines job titles, roles, tasks, skills and knowledge requirements of mechanical engineers working in the building services sector,” Wilkinson says. “The development of the model career pathway is part of a process to help identify skills gaps in the HVAC&R sector in Australia.”

The pathway as its defined progresses through four stages: Level 1, the graduate mechanical engineer or engineering officer level; Level 2, mechanical engineer; Level 3, senior mechanical engineer; to Level 4, principal engineer.

The career pathway offers recommended tasks, as well as knowledge and skill requirements for each job title.

Also inspired by its strategic aim to close skills gaps, AIRAH is defining the skills and knowledge requirements of refrigeration engineers by requesting those who work in the profession to complete a 20-minute survey.

“The definitions will be used to examine the feasibility of formally recognising ‘refrigeration engineer’ as a discreet occupation, and its roles and tasks at different levels,” Wilkinson says.

AIRAH interviewed a sample of members to examine their job titles, roles, tasks, skills, knowledge and educational experiences. Four distinct roles were identified: “applications engineer”, “refrigeration engineer”, “senior refrigeration engineer”, and “principal refrigeration engineer”.

The survey can be accessed via http://tiny.cc/1210vw

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