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Air Conditioning & Mechanical Contractors Association (AMCA) executive director, Sumit Oberoi, explains the critical importance of quality training to strengthen the trade.

As HVAC systems become more sophisticated, technologically advanced and environmentally efficient, the mechanical plumbing industry requires skilled workers to design, install, repair and maintain them.

Rapid industry growth due to a construction boom, combined with an ageing workforce and the changing landscape of the industry, has resulted in a significant skills shortage in the industry. It is important, now more than ever, to attract, train and retain young apprentices to future-proof the industry.

It is essential that industry responds to the current environment by upskilling existing technicians and training tomorrow’s mechanical services professionals.

AMCA, in partnership with Holmesglen and with input and support from HVAC businesses and the Victorian Government, has responded to these training needs by establishing the HVAC Centre of Excellence at Holmesglen’s Chadstone campus.

The Centre is unique and an important training facility through its simulation and replication of entire systems found in today’s buildings. Students work on equipment in a realistic environment and are shown a wide range of set ups reflective of modern HVAC installs.

Through exposure to a ‘live’ system, the Centre builds students’ skills quickly in what would take years in the workplace. Integrating the latest technologies such as energy efficiency systems and BIM software, the Centre is a site that is designed and built by industry and is reflective of contemporary industry practices.

As an HVAC professional’s career progresses, the Centre progresses with them by offering ongoing professional development in specialised courses. A focus of professional development is the Centre’s Balancing and Commissioning course, allowing students to go on to gain NEBB certification. The HVAC Centre of Excellence is the only applied balancing and commissioning learning centre in the world to our knowledge.

Exposure to a simulated centre allows students to learn all the skills required for balancing and commissioning without the need for shutting down live HVAC systems in buildings for training.

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