The UK a/c marketplace is rapidly changing and
developing with new legislation, new products, innovations and working
practises. Contractors will need to continuously look at their training needs
and requirements in order to capitalise their skills into increased profits.
Tony Gittings looks at the possible shape of things to come in the a/c
All industry reports and surveys show that there is a long term industry
skills shortage - despite the recession. It could even be worse when the
recession eases off and business levels begin to increase. And this is in the
face of the exemplary work carried out by all the training organisations,
training providers, trade bodies and associations.
However, the current training provision in the a/c vrf and splits sector needs
continuous investment. If the industry is going to progress, all parties
concerned - manufacturers, distributors, contractors - need to address this
iceberg-shaped of a problem.
In some sectors there is adequate provision for training. For example, on very
large systems - the huge developments of multi-storey office blocks in cities.
But there is a huge and growing marketplace for mini-vrf systems in a whole
variety of sites. There are new products coming on to the marketplace which
employ vrf technology and principles. Today you can get either a mini or
smaller duty vrf system for just about any site - small or medium sized
hotels, multi unit retail sites, office suites, fitness and sports centres
etc. These new types of products need and demand new training provisions.
We believe that the marketplace is about to undergo a radical change in coping
with the impending skills shortage. Virtually all manufacturers of all hvac
products are constantly trying to simplify installation and commissioning. And
the extreme economic conditions have meant that the whole construction
industry has to re-think how and what it offers.
We are putting into place a whole series of investments based around training
and a major focus on technical support. Before the end of 2010 we will have
made major investments in both dedicated training facilities and front-line
technical support services.
We are planning to update our existing fully equipped and staffed dedicated
Training Centre in the first part of next year. We are planning to stage
certified and approved industry courses with accredited examiners coming in
for final examinations. We expect to be able to train 600 a/c engineers and
contractors in a time span of 12 - 15 months.
The training courses will include the splits sector along with other ones on
vrf, system design, installation procedures, commissioning, maintenance,
diagnostics and trouble-shooting.
It is our clear intention to become a centre of excellence in all matters
related to the UK a/c industry at all levels.
The a/c industry, at the moment, has not been put in a spotlight on a global
scale - witness the media attention to the Cophagen conference. It is not
difficult to envisage that, as energy consumption becomes more critical, there
will be legislation requiring minimum installation standards and minimum
system performance by a/c products.
Every day we see evidence which points to the fact that the industry - despite
the cold weather of earlier this year - could be facing a skills shortage in
the very near future. It is a collective effort. Companies have to realise
that they cannot rely on others to provide the next generation. It has to be a
I believe that it is of critical importance to our industry that it must
invest in the next generation, if the skills crisis is to be avoided and the
industry recover and prosper. The investment must also include the new tools
of the coming generation - the internet. For this reason we have invested many
thousands of pounds in a fully interactive and fully engaged website with
‘webinars', blogs and easily downloadable product, sales and technical files
The Fujitsu training courses will include the following:
VRF System Application and Design. The course is primarily aimed at
consultants, specifiers, sales engineers and contracts engineers.
VRF System Installation and Commissioning. This course is of special benefit
for refrigeration system installation engineers and refrigeration system
VRF System Advanced Service and Troubleshooting. Candidates should have
ideally have attended the VRF System Installation and Commissioning Course,
although this is not mandatory. Engineers involved with troubleshooting VRF
Systems and Distribution Support Engineers will find this course especially
useful. The course aims to impart the specialist knowledge needed to
commission and troubleshoot this type of VRF system using the service tool
J-Series (mini VRF) VRF Product Training Course. The course is primarily aimed
at sales engineers, contracts engineers, refrigeration system installation
engineers and refrigeration system commissioning engineers.
Split System Installation, Commissioning and Trouble Shooting. The course is
primarily aimed at split system installation engineers and split system
The one-day ‘on demand' courses are led by tutors who have in depth knowledge
and experience of Fujitsu products and know what it is like for installers
operating in the real world. The courses run from 9.30 am to 4 pm and are held
at FG Eurofred's fully equipped air conditioning training and demonstration
facility at its headquarters in Elstree, Hertfordshire.
Throughout the courses, which accommodate 8-10 attendees per course, practical
exercises will reinforce the learning process and the courses will finish with
a useful Q & A session.