10 February 2022
I’ve written before about the effect that COVID has had on our training programme, as it has on the wider issue of upskilling for HVAC engineers across the industry, writes Ben Bartle-Ross.
That’s why we developed our award-winning remote learning programme, so that we could still help our customers learn the skills needed to ensure they can deliver professional installations of air conditioning, heat pumps and now, MVHR ventilation systems.
And we’ve already seen many benefits of moving away from physical classrooms as we’ve been able to massively increase the number of people attending a course and significantly reduce both the cost and time needed for our customers to access the learning. The added advantage is that it has also significantly reduced travel for both our customers and our trainers, reducing carbon emissions.
We can now give training to almost any number of engineers, with the average attendance currently around 90 per session. We have also designed the training so that our customers can undertake it in their own time, so that it doesn’t have to interrupt their day job.
So, it’s been a win-win, all round.
But we also realise that you can’t learn everything remotely and sometimes, there’s nothing better than seeing someone do the thing you’re trying to understand and learn.
That’s why we are going ‘on the tools’ and filming real-life installations out in the field.
First-off was the installation of one of our smaller air conditioning units from our M-Series range, but the lessons learnt in this video could equally be applied to almost any small system that involves one outdoor and one indoor unit.
I spent a chilly December day in the Portsmouth area, filming the installation of an M-Series air conditioning unit into a garden office in Portsmouth. I need to say a very special thank you to our Diamond Quality Partner (DQP) Subcool FM for allowing us to film their engineers, and to their customer for giving us permission to film at his home.
An early start meant we were able to film right from the moment that the tools and equipment came out of the vans, and we look at all the aspects of the job including pipe brazing and cleaning, where to install the outdoor, pressure testing etc.
This meant we needed to keep stopping the engineers throughout the day so we could get the right camera angle and lighting to capture the right detail of each part of the install. I’m glad to say that the patience of the engineers matched their professionalism, and we now have an 8-minute video which anyone can watch and learn from.
It should go without saying of course that whilst this will serve as a useful guide to the basics of installing an air conditioning system, this should only be attempted by a fully qualified F-Gas engineer.
We also realise that watching a video of someone install a piece of kit, can’t replace getting your hands on a piece of equipment and it’s now our intention to reopen our training rooms once pandemic conditions allow.
However, we plan to completely revamp what we ask engineers to do when they do attend a training course as they will have learnt the basics online, and we want to maximise the benefits on working on live equipment.
Next up is a video looking at commercial heat pumps and I spent a day in Manchester filming the installation of a CAHV system. Again, I need to give a huge shout out and say a big thank you to our DQP, Kimpton Energy Solutions, who allowed us to film their engineers throughout the installation.
We will post the final video once edited on the usual YouTube channel and I’d be very happy to hear any suggestions on what we should look at filming next.
Ben Bartle-Ross is a Technical Trainer for Mitsubishi Electric.