Education News

Woolies’ WRD success

The first World Refrigeration Day (WRD) took place on June 26, and businesses and organisations around the world hosted activities to celebrate the occasion. One standout event in Australia was Woolworths’ public plant room open day.

Woolworths’ refrigeration team, with support from AIRAH, RACCA, RMIT University and TAFE NSW, gave participants a tour of two cutting-edge transcritical CO2 refrigeration stores in Greenway Village (Sydney) and Caroline Springs (Melbourne).

“The skills shortage in the industry is reaching crisis point at a time when more sophisticated natural systems are being introduced,” says Woolworths. “We heeded the WRD call to raise the profile of this important industry!”

Almost 90 public registrations of interest were logged for the event. These ranged from a 12-year-old student to a 72-year-old consultant.

According to Woolworths, there were two WRD heroes. One drove six hours to attend. The other took leave from work and flew in from Cairns.

Each session included a meet-and-greet session, Q&A with industry representatives, a day in the life of a refrigeration technician, a coolroom, plant room and condenser deck inspection, and handouts with pointers to more information about the industry and how to get involved in it.

Baba Bendaram heard about the event at the Caroline Springs store through Facebook and told his friends about it, who also attended. He has already completed a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and is now undertaking further study.

“We gained some onsite knowledge, and as we are students with no experience – just the knowledge from the course – we got to see how it really works,” Bendaram said. “As they develop refrigeration systems, the supermarkets have to keep up with changes in technology. Woolworths is doing well.”

Bendaram said the day also served to highlight career prospects in the industry.

“The sector is developing, so as Woolworths and other supermarkets construct new stores, they will be needing people to work on them. There will be a lot of opportunities.”

A feature story on Woolworths’ transcritical CO2 refrigeration system at Heidelberg in Victoria appears in the August issue of Ecolibrium.

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