A pre-apprenticeship course for the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) industry was launched in Melbourne today.

The first 11 students to undertake the pre-app course attended an orientation session at the Box Hill Institute which is home to the Refrigeration and Climate Control Centre of Excellence.

The students had registered in Certificate II Electrical and were offered a further 120 hours of RAC training through the new pre-app course which is full-time, five days per week for a total of 10 weeks.

Apprentices complete two days of welding, are briefed on Occupational Health and Safety Issues and have access to CV writing and mock interviews at the Box Hill Skills and Job Centre.

The 10 weeks of study are followed by a three week work placement with a member of the Air Conditioning Mechanical Contractors Association of Australia (AMCA) for on the job training and experience.

The Box Hill Institute as part of the Refrigeration and Climate Control Centre of Excellence (RCCC) partnership created the initiative with Apprenticeship and Traineeship Employment Partners (ATEP).

It followed the introduction of a fully supported pathway for youth who have little to no work history in apprenticeships and traineeships that was introduced by ATEP.

In the past 30 years ATEP has observed some common barriers to youth employment including a lack of industry experience, uncertainty about what trade they want to do, fear of committing to a three year or more apprenticeship as well as confusion about what some trades do or what is involved.

Prior to the RAC pre-apprenticeship course, apprentices entered the trade from Certificate II Electrical.

While the new pre-app course is a Victorian initiative, AMCA executive director, Sumit Oberoi, said it could be rolled out nationally.

“Now that we have a set framework, it can be applied in other states,” he said.

The launch was attended by the Victorian Skills Commissioner, Neil Coulson, who is currently rationalising courses to ensure they are geared toward job outcomes.

Coulson is working with industry to find out what they need to ensure courses are more suited to the needs of today's workforce.


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