The Federal Government's review of refrigeration and air conditioning training is on track to reach completion by June, 2019.

The review aims to address critical skill gaps in the Certificate III in Airconditioning and Refrigeration course.

The Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) was most recently tasked with reviewing three qualifications, 52 associated units of competency, and develop two new units of competency to provide skills in the area of handling A2 refrigerants.

In its February 2019 edition newsletter, Australian Industry Standards said A2 category refrigerants are flammable and pose significant threat to life and business operations if they are not handled and recovered by suitably qualified technicians.

The finalised units and qualifications will be submitted to the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) for endorsement.

Phase 2 of the public consultation process will close on March 1 with the next TAC meeting scheduled for March 13, 2019.

In addition to RAC training updates, the results of an independent review into Australia's Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector will be delivered to the federal government next month.

The government commissioned the review to look at VET funding and policy to ensure it aligns with the needs of industry and employers.

The Australian Industry (Ai) Group prepared a report of its own into VET which found a serious lack of overall policy direction and governance in the sector.

Ai Group chief executive, Innes Willox, said the sector has suffered from dramatic falls in VET participation which has been accompanied by declining funding levels.

Willox said over the 10 year period from 2005/6 to 2015/16 higher education expenditure grew by an impressive 52.6%.

“But the reverse was the case in the VET sector, which importantly trains so many of our skilled trades," he said.

"Instead expenditure dropped by 4.7% over that period, funding now is lower than it was a decade ago."

Willox said a more equitable funding strategy needs to be developed. "If the Australian economy is to continue to prosper and remain internationally competitive, it is vital to have access to a highly skilled and qualified workforce,” he said.

“With the rapid advance of technology and digitalisation, a higher level of skills for the workforce is more important than ever.”

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