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TAFEs collaborate on HVAC&R training

GOTAFE, Bendigo TAFE and the Box Hill Institute have formed a unique collaboration to update the Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration for the training of future apprentices.

The project has brought together expertise from specialist trainers across each of the three registered training organisations (RTOs) as well as input from a range of departments.

The working group is funded by a $2m government grant provided by the Workplace Training and Innovation Fund (WTIF) and approved by Minister for Training and Skills and Higher Education Gayle Tierney. The group will update course materials and facilitate the new training, which will have blended delivery of online and face-to-face components.

“The staff have been able to share their expertise in the industry to develop industry-current support from manufacturers,” says GOTAFE Director of Technology and Built Environment, Brett Ambrosio.

“The three staff members have been meeting two to three times each week to work through the units and the content that is being put together.”

The HVAC&R training project likely represents the first time the three RTOs have worked together to deliver an initiative.

Box Hill Institute Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Coordinator, Len Raines, says that the newly revised online course will be able to receive more frequent updates in the future.

“By developing this as a starting point with the new online learning materials, we will also be able to validate and moderate it better,” says Raines. “We will each be able to get together yearly and modify the course to suit industry changes, which are happening on a regular basis these days. Things change quite quickly. The material will always be changed and updated.”

Refrigeration Teacher at Bendigo TAFE, Steve Crapper, Affil.AIRAH, says that the blended learning format of the course and its resources allows students access to the online component at any time after enrollment.

“This will enable the students to study as much as they need and whenever they wish too, being able to access assistance and tuition for both the theory and practical aspects when with a teacher,” he says.

The three TAFEs will be working alongside industry partners AIRAH and Real Refrigeration & Air Conditioning.

“Having access to this type of training gives many refrigeration and air conditioning businesses such as ours the opportunity to upskill on the use of natural refrigerants, which are the future of the industry,” says Real Refrigeration & Air Conditioning General Manager, Trevor Cheeseman.

“Many more refrigeration students and experienced technicians will make the effort to train in natural refrigerants. This will give communities significantly more support and will encourage the utilisation of natural refrigerant systems in regional Victoria.”

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