New RACHP Apprenticeship Programme Starts this September

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Published: 17 June 2016


Businesses of all sizes should be thinking about taking on apprentices now. 

Not only is Government funding available that will cover two thirds of the training costs, but there is a completely new industry-led Apprenticeship programme coming on board that is designed to ensure trainees have the skills to deal with both today’s and tomorrow’s industry needs.
With a strong emphasis on applying the fundamental principles underlying refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump technologies, the new Apprenticeship programme will equip your business with core skills, knowledge and behaviours.  

​Employers have worked together to set both a stringent national Standard for the apprentices and a new set of Assessment methods to make sure all apprentices, at all colleges reach the same level at the end of their three year programme.
  • What's Changed?
  • ​What hasn’t changed?
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  • There will be a single Apprenticeship structure called “Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Engineering Technician”. It is no longer part of a mechanical or building services suite and there is no need for apprentices to choose between installation and commissioning,  simple and complex systems or refrigeration and air conditioning practice.
  • It is a single three year programme leading to a Level 3 Apprenticeship Certificate (equivalent to GCSE A levels).
  • Employers will have a greater responsibility for ensuring their apprentices apply their learning at work and record their experiences.
  • At the end of the apprenticeship all candidates will be assessed externally by an independent panel of industry experts to make sure they all have achieved the same level regardless of which employer or college they attend.
  • Apprenticeship funding is available to students of any age
  • More rigorous standards eg for qualifications of trainers are being put in place
  • City & Guilds are still providing the assessments and certificates for the Apprenticeship
  • Apprentices will still have to attend colleges to learn, practice and take exams – at least 20% of their time must be spent in training.
  • Apprentices will obtain an F Gas Certificate as part of their Apprenticeship.
  • Qualifications at Level 2 and Level 3 will still be available to assess trainees’ progress towards their final Apprenticeship.
Download a copy of the 2-page RACHP EngTech Level 3 Apprenticeship standard at: 
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-standard-refrigeration-air-conditioning-heat-pump-engineering-technician

More guidance for Employers considering taking on apprentices from Government is available at: 
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/503805/Employer_Guide_to_Apprenticeships_and_Trainneeships__Feb__16_.pdf
 
All about new funding regimes and how the training levy will affect your business:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apprenticeship-levy-how-it-will-work

​Want to know more?

​See www.ior.org.uk/trailblazer for more information on how the new Apprenticeship was developed by industry.

Higher Level Apprenticeships for Design and Applications Engineers  

​Earlier this year approval from the Department for Education and Skills was gained for the development of a two-year Higher Level Apprenticeship for European Design and Applications Engineers working in RACHP.

This new Apprenticeship will be aligned to Incorporated Engineer level of the Engineering Council. It will be aimed at those with suitable design experience and new graduate entrants to the sector who don’t have RACHP specific knowledge. 

Work on what should be included in the new standard as skills, knowledge and behaviours has now started with an online survey and a schedule of meetings and consultations.  A two page summary Standard will be developed later this year as a draft for comment.

If you want to be involved in the development and consultation process please contact Miriam Rodway at the Institute of Refrigeration miriam@ior.org.uk or see  www.ior.org.uk/trailblazer  to keep up with all of the latest developments.