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Tackling transport refrigeration skills

Ian Derrick, refrigeration engineering director at Petit Forestier, with Oliver Dutton, one of the company’s first-ever apprentices and now southern technical refrigeration engineer

UK: A new batch of students have embarked on one of the UK’s only transport refrigeration engineering apprenticeship programmes. 

Refrigerated vehicle and cold store rental company Petit Forestier has taken on over 100 young people through official learning programmes over the last 10 years, These programmes started off life as multi-skilled engineering courses as a solution to the shortfall in skilled staff the company was facing, incorporating truck mechanics and refrigeration.

Then, last September, the scheme expanded its apprenticeship offering and now provides a refrigeration-only apprenticeship, which is one of the first of its kind in the UK.

Earlier this month, Petit Forestier welcomed five new students onto the three-year refrigeration and air conditioning course, which is supplemented with Petit Forestier’s own in-house training and manufacturer courses so the skills can be applied specifically to transport refrigeration.

Ian Derrick, refrigeration engineering director at Petit Forestier, said: “Utilising these apprenticeships and showing young people that there are opportunities out there for them, which can progress into lifelong careers, is key to attracting new talent to the industry.”

The apprenticeship scheme had previously been running since 2013, and was delivered by Petit Forestier in partnership with the local Stephenson College, Marshall Thermo King, and The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI). However, the partnership is between Petit Forestier, the City of Liverpool College and Marshall Fleet Solutions which will now lead to a formally recognised qualification.

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