Education News

State-of-the-art refrigeration training pods on the way

GOTAFE is partnering with Bendigo Kangan Institute (BKI) and HVAC&R industry bodies in an innovative new training project for RAC trades.

Last year the Hon. Gayle Tierney, Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education granted $2,000,000 toward the project that will be provided by the Workplace Training and Innovation Fund (WTIF).

One of the most significant parts of the project is the development of state-of-the-art refrigeration training pods, custom-designed and manufactured to meet the needs of industry. The units can be towed behind a car, allowing GOTAFE and BKI to deliver specialised training to students all over regional Victoria.

“The new training pods and resources will enable GOTAFE to train to current industry standards,” says Brett Ambrosio, Director of Technology and Built Environment at GOTAFE. “This project won’t just assist current apprentices but will also help businesses in our region to upskill with new training opportunities. The partnership with Bendigo Kangan Institute has been a great opportunity for both our organisations to come together and offer training in regional Victoria.”

The project will see students learn to install, set up, test, repair and maintain refrigeration systems and equipment. The project also aims to develop training modules to assist with the transition to refrigerants with a lower global warming potential (GWP) and other related technologies.

According to Ian Tuena, AM.AIRAH, of CA Group Services, who was involved in the original funding submission, the pods will incorporate virtual reality systems and presentations.

Trevor Cheeseman, General Manager of Real Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, says the refrigeration industry has been in a constant state of flux because of the transition to lower-GWP refrigerants.

“It would appear the correct course is for the industry to adopt a greater use of natural refrigerants, however, they come with characteristics that require a different approach to the mainstream refrigerants,” says Cheeseman. “The pods will give us the opportunity of seeing these characteristics in a live system, in contrast to drawings on a whiteboard.”

Steve Crapper, Affil. AIRAH, refrigeration teacher at BKI agrees that the new pods will allow meaningful practical classes for students wanting to learn about natural refrigerants.

“The new pods will support the theory in this area of refrigeration and air conditioning in both existing and new competencies being introduced next year,” says Crapper.

“These pods will also allow us to deliver new competencies which relate to the new environmentally friendly natural refrigerants. This will bring current industry up to speed with the new refrigerants being introduced into the refrigeration and air conditioning trade.”

GOTAFE and BKI both offer a Certificate III in Air-conditioning and Refrigeration.

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