Australia’s HVAC&R industry is reviewing the national refrigeration and air-conditioning training package to ensure relevance in a changing HVAC&R landscape. The revised vocational curriculum, expected next year, will include natural refrigerants and safety requirements thereof.
The National Electrotechnology Training Package includes the vocational qualifications for the HVAC&R industry. The main changes to the HVAC&R qualifications are to Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, which is the qualification required for a full refrigerant-handling license in Australia. “The content has been revised to include the latest synthetic and natural refrigerants, standards, and technologies,” explained Glenn Evans, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC)
The Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is overseeing the review with the aim of better incorporating new technologies, standards and refrigerants. To ensure a wide range of input into the development of the qualifications, the IRC established Technical Advisory Committees (TACs) for each industry sector to provide technical advice on industry skill requirements. The HVAC&R TAC consists of over 20 members, half representing the key industry bodies and the other half representing the various HVAC&R training providers around the country.
The TAC met regularly over the past three years to review and revise the HVAC&R qualifications and competency standard units, which have been regularly released for public comment and feedback over the past year, explained Evans. The latest drafts were released July 17, 2019, for public comment and feedback was required by August 7; after this the TAC considered the feedback and made final amendments to draft training package components.
“The submission of the full revised Electrotechnology Training Package for approval by Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) is expected to occur in early 2020,” said Evans.
ARC has been hard at work to ensure the Australian HVAC&R industry stays up to date with new refrigerants being adopted in response to the country’s HFC phase-down. On July 1, 2017, ARC announced a new accreditation scheme for technicians that includes natural refrigerants. This was to address a gap in the existing Ozone Depleting Substances and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas (ARCTick) licence scheme.