An unprecedented wave of training across the refrigeration and air conditioning industry has begun, with the roll-out of the first of the new generation of F-Gas training and assessment courses.
The new certificates of competence, required under EC Regulation 842/2006, apply to all those who install, service and repair refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps.
“It is going to affect around 30,000 people in the UK, who basically have to go back to school”, says Mike Creamer, Managing Director of training specialist Business Edge.
“The requirements go significantly beyond those of the previous refrigerant safe handling certificates. It is important that even experienced engineers ensure their knowledge and practical skills are up-to-date before taking the assessment.
“There are some areas, particularly in relation to thermodynamics and underlying theory, which could catch people out unless they are prepared.”
There are four categories of certification, depending on the degree of involvement with systems and refrigerant. Most RAC technicians and service engineers are likely to be required to have either Category 1 or 2 certification, which covers full leakage checking, refrigerant recovery, installation, maintenance and service.
For the first time, pipework and brazing skills will also be a mandatory part of the assessment.
To meet expected high demand, Business Edge is rolling out a programme of F-Gas training and assessment courses at several locations across the country over the year. The first will take place in January in Portsmouth, Bristol and Milton Keynes.
Kelvin Kelly, Training Manager, said: “We have a growing waiting list of people for the courses, literally hundreds of engineers. Companies are keen to be seen to be in the first wave, equipping their engineers to operate to the new standard.
“It’s a selling point for companies to have the new certificates, and marks off the forward-leaning professionals from slower-footed firms who will leave it to the last minute to get their engineers qualified.”
Business Edge will offer the training and assessment in a three-day course under the framework designed by Construction Skills.