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RAC to split from Electrotechnology?

Leading bodies in the HVAC&R sector have made submissions to the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) to establish a dedicated Industry Reference Committee (IRC) for refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC). If successful, it would signal a new era for RAC training in Australia.

The proposal was initiated by a unanimous vote of the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technical Advisory Committee (RAC TAC) after the changes it has worked on over the past two years to update the RAC qualifications and units of competency were held up by the Electrotechnology IRC, due to issues with the electrical content of the training package.

It is understood that there is broad support for the proposal, not only from the industry, but also from within the government.

IRCs are the formal channel for considering industry skills requirements in the development and review of training packages. They gather information from their industry sector – including challenges, opportunities, trends and industry requirements for training – and use this to develop and review training packages to ensure the national training system provides the qualifications, knowledge and skill sets that industry needs.

Currently, RAC is just one component of the much larger Electrotechnology IRC.

“Establishing a separate refrigeration and air conditioning IRC will overcome the RAC industry’s frustration of working within the Electrotechnology IRC, which focuses on the needs of the licensed electrician,” says Tony Gleeson, M.AIRAH, CEO of AIRAH – one of many organisations supporting the proposal.

“It will enable the RAC industry’s key stakeholders to come together to raise and resolve the skills and training issues affecting our industry in a more timely manner. It will also give HVAC&R its rightful status as a trade in its own right, rather than just a hidden subset of the electrical trade.”

Other organisations behind the proposal include the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) and the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Training Alliance (RAC TA).

4 Replies to “RAC to split from Electrotechnology?

  1. So, the transition period begins on the 1st of Jan 2020 for the roll back of the restricted refrigeration Cert II decommission and installation of split systems up to 18kW then by the 31st of December 2022 that Cert II will be void and illegal to install split system air conditioners unless you have the Cert III refrigeration license. Referencing the Queensland Building and Construction Commission.
    This will effectively cut out all of the electricians who have that Cert II qualification. fair enough.

    I just hope that enough thought has gone into this as the people that it will effect the most will be the consumer.
    The price for air conditioner installations is going to increase due to electricians increasing their prices to hard wire split system electrical circuits for the said air conditioners, as they try to recover their lost revenues from that part of their business they no longer have the legal capacity to carry out.
    Less competition and lack of legally qualified persons in the split system installation market will also lead to price increases which can also lead to a black market economy where people will pay those historical qualified installers because the consumer will be willing to take that risk to make their lives more comfortable.
    The other disturbing thing is that the Cert. II restricted split system course is still being taught by TAFE campuses in Qld. I know I would be shitty if i paid for this course only for it to be completely useless in two years from 01/01/2020.

    1. Phil Hatherell
      Have you considered the impact the Cert 2 license has had on the Cert 3 Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Mechanics Australia wide. Electricians have driven the cost of installation down so far its hit rock bottom. There is plenty of evidence of poor workmanship by Cert 2`s. This simply cannot continue for financial and environmental reasons. What is the real cost to a homeowner who has a warranty claim rejected because of a poor install? Having to pay a Cert 3 to do the job properly costs them again. You seem more worried about the electricians incomes rather than the RAC industry as a whole. The reason Cert 3 RAC is in need of more workers is because the small businesses dont put on apprentices because the low prices created by the Cert 2`s.

  2. I think that the cert 3 refrigeration mechanic should be able to access a cert 2 like equivalent of an electrical mains wiring course to be able to carry out the rest of the install. As the electricians have done with the refrigeration pipe work and commissioning side. It should be a two way street. It seems a bit one sided. Feels like the refrigeration mechanic is gradually becoming extinct. Now on some HVACR maintenance sites a technician cannot lift a ceiling tile until the mains power has been isolated by an electrician. Some employers are seeking dual traders or electricians with split tickets to carry out these tasks. If we also loose service and maintenance to other trades what else is left. I think it has to be a two way street and enable the fridgy to have extend his electrical knowledge a little further to obtain a HVACR restricted electrical license that covers installation and isolation of mains power circuits to HVACR equipment only.

  3. The changes within the RAC industry will affect the consumer for a short period and market forces will determine the price in relation to installations. The focus on A2L refrigerants and correct installation of any RAC unit is paramount with regard to safety and efficient operation. Those within the RAC industry have seen plenty of installations that are poorly executed.

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