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WR looks to the future

UK: The ageing profile of the UK refrigeration industry has long been recognised. Now, one of this country’s leading contractors has launched a major research project with Nottingham Trent University to look into the problem and help secure the industry’s long-term future.

WR Refrigeration’s initiative aims to establish fundamental knowledge about the sector, the challenges it faces when recruiting talent and its key skills and learning and development requirements, to help formulate effective long term plans and frameworks for career development.

Sam Newman (5th from left) with the Nottingham Trent research team
Sam Newman (5th from left) with the Nottingham Trent research team

Sam Newman, WR Refrigeration’s human resources manager, said: “The refrigeration industry’s workforce as a whole has an ageing profile. Traditionally, there is little succession planning which is a critical point of vulnerability when addressing the industry’s future.”

She added: “From the perspective of a business with ambitions to grow and develop, this is obviously not a viable approach. This major research project, being carried out in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University, will establish a clear picture of the current state of play, and what needs to change.”

The project will collect base-line data on current demographics in the sector, potential career progression routes and current perceptions of stakeholders of the attractiveness or otherwise of entering and pursuing a career in refrigeration and air conditioning.

The research will take a twin track approach to issues, taking into account the employer’s and industry’s point of view, and the employee’s and potential industry entrant’s perspective. It will result in recommendations for a ‘blue print’ career development framework, to support new industry entrants and existing employees in more structured career progression.

The findings will include recommendations on how the industry might enhance and promote its employer brand to better compete with other trades.

Sam Newman said: “While the project is being driven by WR Refrigeration, it has an industry-wide relevance. Its findings will shed valuable light to help both the company and the industry formulate practical plans to make a difference for the future.”

The findings of the project, due to be published later this year, will provide vital input into the strategy and plans for the Institute of Refrigeration’s Youth Engagement Project, also being chaired by Sam Newman.

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