31009599_sUK: Training expert John Ellis has called for a new approach to the specification of skills for apprentices in the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump sector.

The former president of the Institute of Refrigeration and owner of Ellis Training presented ideas for change to an audience of IoR members at a monthly Institute paper presentation earlier this month.

“The refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump sector is vibrant, challenging and developing quickly,” he said. “Yet it is in desperate need of an integrated and coherent training, education and qualification programme to address the issues confronting it in the 21st century.”

John-Ellis

John Ellis: “desperate need of an integrated and coherent training, education and qualification programme”

The need for change was said to have been highlighted last year when the IOR executive council asked members what the key priorities for the Institute should be. “Whilst areas such as environment, legislation and new technology featured highly, training was considered the highest priority and particularly the need for the Institute to take a lead in setting standards in education, training and apprenticeships,” John Ellis said.

New approach

In his paper John Ellis suggests a new approach to the specification of skills for those joining the industry, a refocusing of the national occupational standards on which qualifications are based and a shift in the ownership of assessment standards and qualifications from awarding bodies towards industry technical groups.

The industry is already said to have made an approach to the Department for Education, Business Innovation and Skills for a new RACHP Engineering Technician apprenticeship to be developed under the government’s new Trailblazer Apprenticeship Standards initiative.

RW01-12.08.2014-11“The RACHP Engineering Technician occupation is one which is in desperate need of recognition with a new approach to apprenticeships that the Trailblazer initiative is designed to offer,” said John Ellis.

“A group of RACHP employers, supported by the Institute of Refrigeration and working with trade associations through ACRIB (The Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Industry Board) have made an approach for this new Apprenticeship Trailblazer to be developed. As part of this development process a firm plan for the type of qualification structure that is desired can be formulated and industry can work with all stakeholders to put in place the Apprenticeship Standards it requires with the competence evidence or qualifications it wants.

“I believe that with a new industry-led structure in place the newly qualified engineers coming out would be fully prepared to address the skills challenges of the future for our sectors. But this will not happen on its own. This paper and discussion evening is the beginning of a process which those experienced in our sector, employers, trainees and industry groups need to participate in fully, so that our industry can put in place the high standards it demands.”

Further information on how the UK industry and employers can get involved in the discussion process will be available soon. In the meantime John Ellis’s paper can be viewed and downloaded here.