Strong support for SkillFridge

SkillFRIDGE_2011UK: Next week’s ACR Show is providing the ideal platform for the development of talented young air conditioning and refrigeration engineers through its support for the UK’s national SkillFridge competition.

As well as providing the venue for the two-day SkillFridge competition, exhibitors at the ACR Show at Birmingham’s NEC have also provided extensive financial and material support for the event.

The competition provides a launch pad for apprentices in the sector to compete internationally at the vocational skills competition, WorldSkills. The SkillFridge Gold medal winner in 2013 Chris Baillie of BA Refrigeration Ltd, and South East Regional College, Belfast, went on to win Silver at the WorldSkills competition in Sao Paulo Brazil last year.

Chris Baillie
Past winner Chris Baillie will be adding his suppport

Chris will return to the NEC next week, the venue of his 2013 SkillFridge triumph, to support this year’s competitors. In addition, Jenny Shackleton, assessment advisor for WorldSkills International and WorldSkills Europe will attend the ACR News Awards on the second night of the show. Jenny will take to the stage to explain what WorldSkills represents, before being joined by Chris Baillie, who will talk about how this event has benefitted him.

Six apprentices from across UK colleges and training providers will be given a project to install and assemble on the Tuesday and Wednesday of the show, with the winner being announced on the Thursday afternoon.

This year’s competitors are Adam Hussain (Coolpoint Comfort Services and College of NW London), Chris Hoy (A&B Refrigeration & Air Conditioning and SERC), Kaine Finlay (Emcor UK and Eastleigh College), Scott Thomson (Technical Retail Services and Glasgow Kelvin College), James Hughes (CBES and The Manchester College) and Ashley Wilson (A1 Refrigeration and SERC).

Mark Forsyth, the national SkillFridge competition manager and lead assessor, said of the competition: “By participating in skill competitions, the UK is able to share best practice on vocational teaching, and raise standards and expertise in further education, skills and apprenticeships on a national scale.”


Javac, Lawton Tubes, A-Gas, FSW, HSS, Star Refrigeration, AC Accessories, Bruntwood and Advanced Engineering have all pledged their support for the event, donating tools and prizes.

Javac is supplying six sets of refrigeration tools to the competition.

A-Gas has been appointed official gas supplier, with its refrigerants and service gases being used as part of the installation, testing and commissioning of the competition projects. A-Gas md John Ormerod said: “A-Gas likes to support best practice in the industry and the correct way to do so is to help young engineers develop the right skills at the start of their careers. If you get a sense of best practice at this early level it does help raise the overall standard of skills in the industry.”

Wholesaler FSW, a company which has a history of donating equipment and support to refrigeration colleges, will be supplying a range of products including solenoid valves, dehydrators, and sight glasses. “Our support for quality training in the industry is an ongoing project,” said FSW refrigeration and product marketing manager Robin Green.

Star Refrigeration is providing training packages, including all CPD certified e-learning courses available through its training website. Dr Rob Lamb, group sales and marketing director, commented: “The recognition of a highly skilled workforce and the encouragement of good RAC professionals are of paramount importance for the well-being of the industry.”

Air Conditioning Accessories has agreed a joint venture with Bruntwood for one of the winning engineers to spend £250 on tools from its Manchester Trade Counter

Advanced Engineering, meanwhile, is to give an Imperial Tool Bag to each contestant, containing a TC-1000 Imperial hi-duty pipe cutter, 70-FH triple head bender, a  275-FS flaring and swaging tool kit and a RectorSeal Mighty Bracket and air conditioning split system installation tool.

The competition is also supported by the specialist training division of the UK’s original tool and equipment hire company – HSS Hire.

For more information and to register for The ACR Show, visit www.acrshow.com.

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