Testing students studying up to Level 3 in the refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump (RACHP) sectors, the national SkillFRIDGE competition, sponsored by Toshiba, has now concluded its regional heats, with the highest scoring competitors established.
Three regional heats, hosted by The Institute of Materials in Grantham, Bath College and South East Regional College (SERC) in Lisburn; saw students from across the UK compete under the scrutiny of industry based judges.
Datateam Business Media, operating partner and organiser of SkillFRIDGE, can now reveal the students that have scored the highest marks in the three regionals are:
Chad Meechan – Glasgow College
Adam Jackson – Bath College
Chris Hoy – SERC College
John Thompson – Glasgow College
Luke Courtney – SERC College
Steven Monk – Bath College
They took part in a variety of test projects, designed to challenge them in the use of materials, tools and equipment. Each competitor had to follow detailed instructions, applying industry standards and safe working practices, whilst demonstrating good time management, planning and problem solving in order to gain enough points to qualify for the final.
Equipment suppliers: Advanced engineering, A-Gas, Fieldpiece, FSW and Lawton tubes, all provided the tools necessary for the competitors to complete the tasks successfully. Marketing manager, Andy Harvey from Advanced Engineering had this to say: “Advanced Engineering is always excited to see young people joining our industry and being enthusiastic about their chosen career. We are therefore very happy to support the SkillFRIDGE competition, as it recognises and showcases the skills which these students have worked hard to master.”
Equipment supplier A-Gas also shared their support, we spoke to commercial manager, Faye Maddocks who said: “SkillFRIDGE helps young engineers develop the right skills at the start of their careers. If you get a sense of best practice at this early level it does help raise the overall standard across the industry. Skills can disappear, so it is important to invest in the future and provide the right training for the new blood coming into the air conditioning and refrigeration industry. A-Gas would like to wish all finalists the best of luck as they move forward to the next stage of the competition, we hope everyone who has taken part so far is proud to have been a part of this great competition”
Invited to take part in the national final, the six apprentices now have the opportunity to compete at the Skills Show, organised by WorldSkills UK, this November at the NEC Birmingham. Competition operating partner manager Karena Cooper continues: “Our objective for SkillFRIDGE to improve standards and engage with the future of the industry, which I can proudly say; we are well on track for as we braze towards the final. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our lead brand sponsor, Toshiba. As well as our brand sponsors: Aspen Pumps, Dean & Wood and Refrigeration Wholesale Ltd, our equipment suppliers, association sponsors and media partners, who are actively supporting the future of the industry.
“Training the younger generation and platforms like SkillFRIDGE are needed to help them start their careers. We are thrilled with the standard seen from of all our competitors this year, so congratulations to everyone taking part!”
Lead brand sponsor Toshiba also pledged its support for the competition. We spoke to David Dunn, director and general manager of Toshiba Air Conditioning, who said:
“As lead sponsor, we are delighted to be supporting the SkillFRIDGE competition, which aims to raise standards and celebrate excellence across the industry. Congratulations to the young finalists who have emerged as winners from the various regional heats held across the country this year. We applaud their dedication and passion for working at the highest levels in this challenging and rewarding industry.”
Nick Kilner, head of Dean & Wood agreed: “We firmly believe that training and development is key to the future success of the industry. We would like to offer our congratulations to all of the competitors taking part in SkillFRIDGE and wish those in the final a successful event.”
This sentiment was also shared from brand sponsor RW Refrigeration Wholesale, as its head, Warren Root said: “The RACHP industry needs to ensure it continues to attract young people by promoting apprenticeships as a viable alternative to university education. RW Refrigeration Wholesale offers its congratulations to all of the competitors who have risen to the challenge that is SkillFRIDGE.”
Aspen Pumps also aired its support, with a spokesperson from the company commenting:
“Aspen Pumps are thrilled to have been a brand sponsor for SkillFRIDGE this year and to have had the chance to support the upcoming talent in the industry. As a company, we are a firm believer in developing the skills of young engineers who are the future of the Air Conditioning industry and as such, we are proud to have our own onsite training facility as well as holding training days at national colleges on a regular basis. Aspen Pumps would like to wish all the competitors the very best of luck in this year’s competition and with their future careers.”
The final will be held as part of The Skill Show hosted by Worldskills UK, where finalists will be challenged with a specific set of test projects over 2 competition days. WorldSkills International is the largest international skills competition in the world. Held every two years, the competition sees around 1000 young people, aged 18-25 from all over the world, come together to compete for medals in more than 45 different skills including: Electrical Installation, Plumbing, Welding, Web Design, Cooking and Bricklaying.
Commenting on the show, head judge Mark Forsyth said: “The skill show will also feature our learning zone where careers advice will be available along with a chance to see #bicycool. SkillFRIDGE provides a unique opportunity for learners to put into practice their skills and knowledge and is testament to the improving standards of teaching from all colleges engaged in the events. Ultimately, we want the competitors, employers and colleges to see the value of entering into the national skill competition by evidence of demonstrated skills and problem solving in a pressurised and time bound situation.”
Toshiba’s David Dunn concludes: “As a leader in air conditioning technology, Toshiba has championed the cause of training and excellence in skills. It is not only essential for personal success, but for the long-term future of the industry as a whole. We loo
k forward to the finals of the competition at the Skills Show in November, and cheering on the outstanding students who will be taking part.”