The Electrotechnology Industry Reference Committee (IRC) has released its annual update on trends that will impact the training and skills development of refrigeration and air conditioning technicians.
The report is used to identify the skill needs of industry and propose future training courses.
Consultation is still underway but the final 2020 Skills Forecast and Industry Outlook report will be submitted to the Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) on April 30, 2020.
Trends included in the report include Internet of Things (IoT) with connected devices predicted to grow from the current 25 billion to 75 billion by 2025.
Renewable energy technologies and natural refrigerants will have a significant impact on the industry. In fact renewable technologies are projected to create 60,000 jobs in the next decade.
At the same time technicians will need to develop skills to work with more flammable refrigerants and ensure they have adequate safety training in the operation, installation and maintenance of these updated systems.
“These new refrigerants are ecofriendly but they create a range of risks for workers as they are more flammable,” the report said.
Interestingly, enrolments in electrotechnology courses have declined in most states and territories except NSW which has increased 29.2% over four years.
The largest decline overall has been in South Australia where enrolments dropped 22.5% lower than they were in 2015.
A new unit of competency in development for technicians will address the air handling requirements for fire and smoke control including maintenance of essential services, relevant standards and regulations, fire dampers, certification, testing and commissioning.
“This project will ensure technicians licensed under the RAC scheme are capable of undertaking air handling procedures for fire and smoke control systems within Australian industry through a nationally endorsed unit of competency and skill set,” the report said.
This project will begin in July 2020 and continue through to March 2021 with a submission ready to be finalised in July 2021.