The 2019 cycle of SkillFRIDGE, the skills competition dedicated to engaging the next generation of engineers and raising the profile of the RACHP industry, will soon be underway when registration opens on 1 March.
Nurturing the RACHP engineers of the future while putting the focus on safety, best practice and new technology, SkillFRIDGE aims to tackle the skills crisis head-on, helping to cultivate a knowledgeable, innovative and inspired workforce.
A life-long skill set
For those taking part in the UK-wide contest, sponsored by renowned industry heavyweight Toshiba Carrier, it’s a unique opportunity to develop an invaluable, life-long skill set. “It’s a career-boosting platform”, says lead judge Mark Forsyth.
Commenting on how the competition has benefited him, 2018 winner Dominic Dray of Royale Refrigeration & Air Conditioning said: “It’s given me so much more confidence in the workplace. It was definitely worth taking part for that reason, and also to meet more people from the industry and make useful connections.”
Silver medallist Chandler Davison from Thermocold Ltd added: “The competition is tough, which means it’s a great way to see how you fare against your peers and learn what makes a really good engineer.”
Noting SkillFRIDGE’s commitment to variety and innovation – which ensures participants are equipped to deal with a wide mixture of tasks in their working lives – Star Refrigeration’s Sam Gills, who took the bronze medal position, commented: “SkillFRIDGE incorporated both refrigeration and air conditioning installation and commissioning, which made it really interesting working on a range of cooling systems. It was also great to have a go at using the latest technology in brazing, Safeflame.”
Meanwhile, 2018’s competitors who did not come away as medallists proved that it really is the taking part that counts. Edward Davis from Dunbia Foods explained: “I added strength and depth to my existing knowledge, and discovered the areas where I was weakest. Meeting everyone, from the judges and technicians through to the sponsors and my fellow peers, meant that I also gained a new perspective on where my place could be within the industry.”
TKB Air Conditioning’s Kevin Ballantine added: “What I wanted was to try something different and build up my skill set to help me in day-to-day work – and that’s exactly what SkillFRIDGE has allowed me to do. I’d definitely encourage others to try it for themselves.”
While the benefits that SkillFRIDGE can bring to its participants and the wider RACHP industry are clear, the impact of the competition – and others like it – has the potential to be even more far-reaching.
The specialist RACHP skills contest is delivered in association with WorldSkills UK, a Department for Education-funded partnership between businesses, education and government that aims to accelerate young people’s careers, bolster the reputation of apprenticeships, and ultimately safeguard the UK’s economic future.
Speaking at last year’s WorldSkills UK Business Breakfast on 15 November – ahead of the WorldSkills UK LIVE competition finals for a vast array of industries – Anne Milton MP and Minister of State for Skills and Apprenticeships said: “35 percent of current jobs will no longer be available in 10 years; we’ve got to look ahead.”
WorldSkills UK is doing just that, working to meet the increasing productivity and competitiveness challenges that the UK faces in the midst of a skills crisis, and in a world defined by advancing technology.
Dr Neil Bentley, chief executive of WorldSkills UK, explained: “Three quarters of employers view productivity as their number one priority and to achieve this, technology and skills go hand-in-hand. A boost to the UK economy will only be realised if we excite, inspire and educate young people. It’s vital to securing our future economic resilience.”
Be part of something bigger
Not only can SkillFRIDGE help to alleviate the engineering skills gap – which sees an annual shortfall of 55,000 engineers – but it is also part of a crucial movement to invigorate the UK workforce as a whole.
Aligning your business with the competition is an opportunity to show your support and be part of something bigger, while promoting your brand to the next generation and industry at large.
To find out more about the range of sponsorship packages on offer, contact Karena Cooper on 01622 699150 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.