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).