The future of Australia's refrigeration industry demands a commitment from education providers to ensure that students are equipped with the skills and tools they need to find success.
At the Box Hill Institute in Victoria, Senior Educator for Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Len Raines is responsible for the development of the next generation of industry professionals. Alongside the rest of his team, Len leads students through courses in a new state-of-the-art facility designed especially for the TAFE.
Training at Box Hill Institute
The TAFE at Box Hill was born out of the need to service the community living on the south-east side of Melbourne. With only one other institute in the area, students were limited in their choices.
Box Hill's refrigeration school was a product of the same demand. Students who wanted to study these courses needed a place to go that offered an industry standard in education.
Box Hill's brand new multimillion dollar facility is a flagship development, both for the institute and for the wider refrigeration industry.
Constructed to a Green Building Council of Australia five-star standard, the building offers students an unprecedented opportunity in this field. A range of subjects are offered by the institute, from appliance servicing to a standard refrigeration and air conditioning course that can be taken all the way through to a diploma.
Also provided is a 'master class', where teachers can take personal development lessons for free. Apprentices and other industry professionals can make use of these as well, as they offer guidance in specialised subject areas.
"The building is a teaching tool in itself," says Len.
Sporting a separate air conditioning package for each level, with all systems exposed, the facility enables Box Hill's students to get real-world experience within the safety of the institute. Len credits the development with the "connection and commitment" from the Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors Association (AMCA).
Without their ongoing assistance, it is unlikely the project would ever have got off the ground.
A state-of-the-art facility needs state-of-the-art instruments, that's where Testo come in. Len applauds the company for putting effort into being an "important player in the industry", through its support of industry awards and presentation nights.
Box Hill utilises Testo equipment in its teachings as well. While students still learn the basics on analogue gauges, they soon advance to their digital equivalents. Testo's digital offerings provide a wider range of testing parameters that alternatives cannot keep up with.
According to Len, "the features on the gauge sets are unbelievable", with the ability to monitor superheating and subcooling in real-time, as well vacuum measuring, the instruments go far beyond what analogue gauges can even dream of displaying.
A further advantage is the ability to store refrigerant information on the device. Previously, Len was finding himself needing to purchase multiple gauges depending on the type of refrigerant he was measuring.
Len finds the students enjoy using digital instruments as well, as they are used to the technology. Through Box Hill's high-tech facility, and Testo's industry leading equipment, the students at the TAFE are getting the education they need to make it in the workplace.