Up to 35,000 engineers have yet to register for the F-Gas qualification, with many set to work illegally as the deadline looms.
F-Gas registration company Refcom has seen 4,000 applications so far, while fellow organisations Quidos and Bureau Veritas, have had 400 and 200 respectively.
Steve Crocker, Refcom secretary, says: We have some genuine concerns over where this is heading, there’s an awful big number out there yet to sign up, and it’s extremely unlikely that everyone will make it. Without doubt people will be working illegally come deadline.”
This dramatic shortfall is echoed by John Ellis, of John Ellis Training, one of the largest F-Gas trainers, with over 700 engineers passing through so far.
“People have had a long time to plan for this, in fact we did our first session back in November 2008, however many aren’t aware of the certification, while various companies don’t know they need to be certified as well.”
Defra has responded on the subject, saying: “To ensure the industry has enough time for personnel to be fully trained there is an extension till 4 July 2011 for those who already have an existing qualification or who are enrolled on a course to obtain new personnel qualification that meets minimum requirements established by the European Commission.”
Refrigeration training consultant Paul Singh, who has trained 103 people estimates that only 7% of relevant engineers have the qualification. “More people need to be told they need to have it, there needs to be effective marketing. The message is quite clearly not getting through.”