The first of the SkillFRIDGE competition’s regional heats took place on Tuesday 28 June at the Institute of Materials in Grantham, with students from The College of North West London, Manchester College and the Grimsby Institute of Further & Higher Education taking part.
Competition operating partner (COP) Manager Karena Cooper comments: “There is a lot of talent out there, and the SkillFRIDGE competition is the best platform to demonstrate ability, especially in front of leading, influential industry members and potential employers. Colleges have also been really supportive, encouraging entries and putting forward some of their best students.
“Our goal for SkillFRIDGE is to highlight the importance RACHP skills in modern life and help create career paths with industry events. 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. With the quality of entrants already at a high level, we are definitely on course to achieve those goals.”
Competition wins industry backing
Three new brand sponsors have signed up to show their support for SkillFRIDGE in recent weeks, Aspen Pumps, Dean & Wood and RW Refrigeration Wholesale, while Hampshire Refrigeration Society has joined proud supporter line-up.
RW Refrigeration Wholesale is a leading independent wholesaler of refrigeration and air conditioning products. Over 6000 different parts are stocked across its 12 branches, including equipment and components sourced from world leading companies such as Daikin, LG, Searle, Tecumseh, Danfoss, Yellow Jacket and Carrier.
Head of RW Refrigeration Wholesale, Warren Root comments: “RW is very pleased to be associated with SkillFRIDGE. The RACHP industry needs to ensure it attracts young people and educate students that apprenticeships are a viable option to University. With employers struggling to fill technical positions the industry needs to embrace and support such training initiatives that will provide the future knowledge to service and support such a critical industry to the UK.”
Founded in 1904, Dean & Wood is the longest established Refrigeration and Air Conditioning wholesaler in the UK. It stocks more than 12,000 different products in 15 branches across the UK and Ireland from leading brand manufacturers such as, Danfoss, Bitzer, Lu-Ve, Copeland, Frascold, L’Unite Hermetique, Cupori, Armacell, HARP Refrigerants, Mitsubishi Electric and LG products.
Nick Kilner, head of Dean & Wood comments: “We are delighted to support SkillFRIDGE and The Skills Show in its bid to attract new entrants to the RACHP market. In line with our own strong belief that training and development is at the heart of the future success of the industry, SkillFRIDGE is an exciting way for young people to showcase their talent.”
Aspen Pumps is also sponsoring the SkillFRIDGE competition. The company’s primary focus is to continue to make installers lives easier by offering the most reliable condensate removal pumps in the world. As engineers themselves, the company appreciates that time is precious and designs its products to work in the easiest, smartest way; ensuring that no time is wasted when installing and maintaining its pumps.
Commenting on behalf of Aspen Pumps, Mike Davies said: “SkillFRIDGE is an important opportunity to encourage the next generation of young HVAC/R professionals. Having worked with colleges for many years, at Aspen Pumps we understand the importance of actively encouraging the training of apprentices and students, ensuring the continued professionalism of engineers in the industry.”
SkillFRIDGE also has the support of other leading industry names, including A-Gas, Advanced Engineering, Fieldpiece Instruments, FSW and Lawton Tubes, all of which have signed up as equipment suppliers. Pumps2go and Hydratech have also pledged their support of the competition.
Looking ahead, Karena Cooper comments: “More companies are looking to engage with SkillFRIDGE, especially now as we near the next stage. As a national competition with an extensive multi-platform campaign, companies can get involved, on a variety of levels. This competition is for the future of the RACHP industry and to ensure the industry continues to grow, companies can use SkillFRIDGE to promote themselves in front of the younger generation.”