The Australian Refrigeration Mechanics Association (ARMA) has launched a mentorship program for HVAC&R mechanics. The initiative pairs experienced technicians with those who are keen to learn. It is suitable for trade-qualified workers and apprentices.
According to ARMA CEO Kim Limburg, the idea came from ARMA president Mike Gilmore, and was seen by the team as a positive way to deal with a shortfall of skills in the industry.
“Mike is passionate about mentoring apprentices and young people already in the trade,” says Limburg. “With many older refrigeration mechanics leaving the RAC industry, we are keen to progress mentoring programs around the country.”
ARMA has been critical of current training schemes for failing to provide the best solutions for the HVAC&R industry. Limburg believes mentorship is an important way of helping the trade rebuild its skills.
“The decline of training quality in Australia can and does leave young RAC tradespeople exposed to safety risks because of poor learning outcomes,” she says. “ARMA is working toward empowering the trade with the knowledge sharing available through the one-on-one mentoring program.
“The knowledge shared comes from many years of industry experience. Support so far has been fantastic from tradespeople working full-time in the industry. We are also finding retirees have the passion to want to participate in sharing their many years of industry knowledge with younger generations.”
ARMA will match those with similar interests and experiences, connect them so they can get to know each other, and provide step-by-step guidance through the program. This involves regular discussions, setting plans to make progress, and more.
For each pairing the program runs for 10 weeks, with a time commitment of one hour per week.