Australia’s vocational education sector is seeking support from the HVACR industry to develop a consistent national framework for the implementation of new trade qualifications.
A new version of the Electrotechnology Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration trade course has recently been endorsed for national use, with a final implementation date set for October 2022.
To ensure the implementation of the new course is consistent across the entire country, assessment tools are being developed by a representative group of refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) teachers known as the RACTA (Training Alliance).
Currently the Alliance has 67 members representing almost all of the RAC trade teachers in Australia from both public (TAFE) and private Registered Training Organisations (RTOs).
In an open letter to industry the Alliance is seeking sponsorship and a working relationship with industry to ensure the final course has the competencies needed for a skilled workforce.
Alliance vice chair and education relationship manager at the Superior Training Centre, Steve Smith, said this is a unique opportunity for industry and it is also a ‘first’ for Australia’s vocational education sector.
Smith said every training organisation that delivers this course must demonstrate they possess the relevant assessment tools prior to training students.
In the past, he said teaching staff within every training college across the nation would work to develop the documents required to assess the new competency standards.
“But this would happen in isolation from each other leading to a lack of consistency across colleges, which was a complete waste of time and resources,” Smith said.
“This time RAC teachers from across the nation are working together to assist in the production of a consistent and valid set of assessment tools we can all use.”
Work on the project has already commenced thanks to the generous support of the Superior Training Centre (STC).
Smith said the scope of work entails the production of approximately 450 documents for 42 units of competence contained within the new trade course (UEE32220).
“This is expected to take at least 12 months to complete,” he said.
While the STC has initiated the project, the organisation cannot be expected to carry the full financial burden as the final product will be made freely available to other training organisations that deliver the RAC trade course.
“Of equal significance to developing a consistent product is industry validation. This is a vital process that seeks to build the industry’s confidence in the benchmarks being set by the training organisation,” Smith said.
“There needs to be a mechanism in place for the RAC industry to provide input into the tools that will be used to assess their apprentices.
“If you are one of the many striving to build consistency into your business, then you will understand the mechanisms that are driving our desire to improve our training products and our apprentices.”
In the open letter the Alliance calls on industry to provide support by being a member of the Industry Validation Committee.
“This committee will be tasked with reviewing the assessment tools as they are produced,” the letter said.
“We are seeking open dialogue with anyone interested in sponsoring the production of one or more units of competency.
“It includes the placement of your company name on the assessment documents you have sponsored.
“Finally, we the RAC Trade Teachers Alliance believe this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to develop valid and reliable assessment resources centrally, with input from relevant stakeholders, which will be shared freely with training providers.
“It is also an opportunity to improve interaction with our industry, and professionalism with our students.”
Smith said the alliance would also like to take this opportunity to thank Refrigerant Reclaim Australia (RRA) for the generous support the organisation has provided, enabling teachers to meet on a regular basis to strengthen the training provided to the RAC trade.
Anyone interested in participating can contact Steve Smith on