Designed to test students studying up to Level 3 in the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) sectors, the national SkillFRIDGE competition is well underway. With two regional heats now completed, there is just one more to go before the final which takes place at The Skills Show this November. The last regional heat is scheduled to take place on August 24th at the South East Regional College in Lisburn and will be attended by industry stakeholders, supporters and competing students from South Eastern Regional College and Glasgow Kelvin College.
Hosted by The Institute of Materials in Grantham, the first of three heats saw students from The College of North West London, Manchester College and the Grimsby Institute of Further & Higher Education taking part.
Competitor Dan Netherwood from the Grimsby Institute of Further & Higher Education commented: “I thought it was a lot harder than it was going to be, my boss recommended me for it and it’s a good chance for me to show my abilities, it is a fantastic experience”.
Bath College played host to the second regional heat, with students competing from Eastleigh and Bath College. Competitor Chandler Davison from Bath College commented: “It’s a tough challenge but we can all do it. You have to think about what you are doing and go through it slowly. It teaches you how long you should be doing tasks and improves your confidence”.
SkillFRIDGE project manager Mark Forsyth commented: “The two regional heats so far have been highly successful, thanks to the host colleges and of course the companies that sponsored the equipment and materials, which allowed equal opportunity for all competitors to demonstrate their skills and knowledge acquired at college”.
Under the scrutiny of the judges, students were given two and a half hours in the morning to complete two tasks set by the organiser, followed by a further three and a half hours under the spotlight, in an attempt to impress the judges and gain enough points to qualify for the final.
They were given the task to attempt various test projects, designed to challenge the students in the use of materials, tools and equipment and had to follow detailed instructions, applying industry standards and safe working practices, whilst demonstrating good time management, planning and problem solving in a unique environment.
Time quickly passed as all competitors where highly focused. The judges evaluated the students work and provided valuable and informative feedback, giving a real boost to their confidence.
Looking to the future, competition operating partner (COP) manager, Karena Cooper said: “It’s not all about the competition; our goal for SkillFRIDGE was to highlight the importance RACHP skills in modern life and help create career paths with industry events. Judges at the heats are chosen for their expertise in the industry, and gave individual feedback to each of the competitors. We want to raise standards at a national level, promoting the demand for apprenticeships and training. SkillFRIDGE offers that platform for the RACHP industry by engaging with young people”.
After all three regional heats, the six highest scoring competitors will be invited to the final, which is to be held in November as part of The Skills Show organised by WorldSkills UK.