Students at Bath College have taken part in a nationwide project to highlight how refrigeration is one of the least understood but fastest growing industries in the world.
The engineers of the future worked with the Institute of Refrigeration to try to dispel the common misconception that the industry is about ‘nothing more the fridge in your kitchen.’
More than 20 Refrigeration and Air-conditioning students were consulted on how more school-leavers could be encouraged to study the subject or enter the industry as apprentices.
The students put forward ideas on the Institute’s proposals to nationally standardise refrigeration training so that it better connects to the wide-range of job opportunities.
The Institute, which is based in Surrey, is on an 18-month national tour of training facilities to see if they are compatible with the rapidly changing industry.
They are also working to spread the word on the scope of the industry and future developments, including the growth in using fossil fuels for sustainability.
Miriam Rodway, secretary and chief executive of the Institute of Refrigeration, said she was thankful for the input from students and staff at Bath College.
She said: “It’s not a very well-known industry and we are working hard to try to overcome this.
“There are 30,000 engineers in the UK, they are responsible for 10 per cent of all electricity nationally and it’s an industry that is rapidly growing.
“The engineers play crucial roles keeping businesses open but they often work quietly in the background.
“It leaves the majority of people thinking refrigeration is about nothing more than the fridges in people’s kitchens, when in fact, it’s about so much more.
“We want to get the message out there that there’s a huge demand for expertise in the refrigeration industry and so many opportunities for engineers.”
The one-day seminar at Bath College also welcomed national and international industry representatives from all areas of the refrigeration industry, including manufacturers, suppliers, exporters and air-conditioning.
Miriam added: “We want to work with Colleges to help develop the careers of students.
“We want to show them how they can move forward as there are so opportunities to pursue. We’re saying to them: ‘stick with it and you’ll reap the benefits.’”
Refrigeration Lecturer Simon Robinson said it was first time the Institute of Refrigeration had visited Bath College and it was a pleasure to be able to work so closely with the industry’s national body.
He said: “It was great for the students to meet so many industry experts and very interesting to see how the Institute wants to link education to the future of the industry.
“It’s important to raise the profile of refrigeration in order to attract more young people as the engineers of the future.
“Most people come into refrigeration through working in the building services as they don’t know enough about it when they are at school. They just think of fridges rather than the large-scale industrial side of the job.
“It’s such a specialist subject area, we want to help people, especially school-leavers, understand what the industry is all about.”
Industry representatives were from Space Engineering, Cool Concerns, Air Master UK, Climate Centre, Star Refrigeration, Danfoss, CG Mechanical and Harp International.
For more information about Refrigeration courses at Bath College visit the website at www.www.bathcollege.ac.uk
Pictured above: Bath College’s Refrigeration students working with the Institute of Refrigeration.