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
Tony Gittings looks at the possible shape of things to come
in the a/c marketplace.
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
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
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
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 team effort.
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 and information.
The Fujitsu training courses will include the following:
VRF System Application and Design. The course is primarily
aimed at consultants, specifiers, sales engineers and
VRF System Installation and Commissioning. This course is of
special benefit for refrigeration system installation
engineers and refrigeration system commissioning engineers.
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 software.
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 commissioning
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,
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