Warning on training stampede
Demand for places on training courses in refrigerant handling and essential ACR technology and theory is expected to surge, following the recent introduction of tough new competence standards as part of the F-Gas Regulation.
The regulation requires all those handling refrigerant to take a new mandatory practical assessment and examination, currently being developed. In the UK, it had been thought that those holding the City and Guilds or CITB refrigerant handling certificates would meet the new minimum standards.
However, at a meeting in December the European Commission decided to impose much stricter requirements, significantly raising the bar for skill levels for the ACR industry across Europe.
For the first time, engineers will have to undergo mandatory training and assessment in specific aspects of technology (including compressors, heat exchangers and other system components) as well as safe refrigerant handling and protecting the environment.
They will also face a test of their understanding of underpinning theory.
Mike Creamer, Managing Director of specialist training provider Business Edge, said: “Until the new assessment is in place sometime in the summer, we expect a rush for refresher courses in the fundamentals of ACR technology, refrigerant handling and pipework and brazing.
“The new assessment will, for the first time, test an engineer’s understanding of basic theory and the underlying principles behind refrigeration and air conditioning systems. This could catch people out. If you are not up-to-date, the message is – book up soon, to ensure your engineers and business are prepared.”
The new F-Gas compliance assessment is being developed by ACRIB, CITB and City and Guilds. Depending on the experience of the candidate, it is likely to require up to four days detailed practical and theoretical training. The assessment itself is likely to take around four hours.