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Refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) technicians in Victoria will need to undertake additional training as part of new licensing requirements to be introduced from 2023.

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) said continuing professional development (CPD) will apply to multiple licence types including the restricted electrical licence (REL) used by technicians.

Victorian refrigeration and air conditioning technicians holding a restricted electrical licence (REL) through ESV will have to complete CPD before they can renew their licence.

CPD is used to ensure the knowledge, skills, and competence of a licence holder is maintained, improved, broadened and enhanced.

The CPD program will be made up of two components – skills maintenance and skills development. However, holders of REL will only be required to complete the skills maintenance component.

ESV has provided the following information about the skills maintenance components:

Skills maintenance training will be a face-to-face refresher course of up to a maximum of  hours (per licence class);

Refresher training will ensure licence holders are up to date with safety, regulatory, technical and other developments relevant to the electrical trade;

ESV expects to provide training in multiple locations across metro and regional Victoria.

The CPD program will be rolled out in stages with the skills maintenance courses available from 2022. By 2023 applicants for renewals must have completed the skills maintenance course.

ESV said training is necessary because the electrical services industry is technically complex, sometimes hazardous and is also subject to regulatory changes.

The CPD program will be introduced in a series of stages, and will not be a legal requirement for licence renewals until 2023.

“Under the new CPD program, licensed electrical workers will participate in training to ensure they maintain and extend their professional knowledge and skills, including keeping up to date with safety, regulatory and technical developments relevant to the industry,” ESV said.

“Working groups, made up of industry and education subject matter experts, will be formed in 2021 to oversee the training content development.”

HVAC contractor, Liam Henry, said the licensing burden in Victoria is making it harder to operate.

“I need three licenses in that state just to operate,” he said.

Henry’s licensing requirements includes a D grade class 2 electric licence as well as a VBA plumbing licence and an Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) licence.

“As well as paying for licensing renewals I have to cover the cost of insurance,” he said.

 

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