TVET pilot study to encourage RAC studies

By Department of Environmental Affairs

The long-awaited pilot study to determine the challenges faced by the refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges took place in Seshego, Polokwane, in the Limpopo Province on 12 April 2018.

The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) was accompanied by industry role players like the South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SARACCA), the South African Qualification and Certification Committee for Gas (SAQCC Gas), A-Gas, and Metraclark.

The Capricorn College in Limpopo hosted the pilot study. The objective of the initiative, among others, was to try and determine the extent of the following challenges faced by the TVET colleges:

  • Low uptake and gradual decline of students in the RAC programme
  • Low industry placement (that is, for internship)
  • Lecturing staff development
  • Underequipped RAC workshop.

The workshop was heartily welcomed by the college’s senior management, lecturers, officials, and students at large. Approximately one hundred students participated in the pilot workshop and were accompanied by their lecturers.

Outside the main auditorium, the DEA, A-Gas, Metraclark, SAQCC Gas, and SARACCA showcased their materials and technology respectively to the ever-so-keen and energetic students.

A briefing session preceded the proceedings of the day, where various stakeholders deliberated on the importance of this initiative and the programme. The programme was opened by the Capricorn College principal, Amos Thema, who expressed his sincere and humble gratitude for this initiative. He further mentioned that the collaboration among various role players should be continued.

It still remains that the rate of intake of women in the sector remains significantly low and requires much attention.

The DEA’s Margaret Molefe (Chemicals Management chief directorate) outlined government’s initiatives that are aimed at trying to address some of the challenges faced by the RAC TVETs in the country. One being the training of 2 000 RAC technicians in the informal service sector over a five-year period from 2018, and another being refrigerant reclamation. The DEA will be working together with the Department of Higher Education and Training, the Department of Labour, as well as industry and relevant vocational training colleges for attainment of these initiatives.

Since some of the students were nearing the completion of their courses, Barney Richardson of SARACCA explained the registration requirements of RAC service technicians in the various functions of the sector. This segment of the programme was followed up with concerns raised by students, including:

  • Why RAC industry companies are reluctant to take female interns from colleges;
  • Why RAC industry companies are reluctant to employ female technicians;
  • How many women are registered as technicians at present in the country;
  • What can be done for under-equipped RAC workshops in the vocational training colleges;
  • What can be done about the low intake of students in the RAC industry sector; and
  • What is government doing to phase out controlled refrigerants (ozone depleting substances) and the production thereof.

It still remains that the rate of intake of women in the sector remains significantly low and requires much attention. Some of the technical questions raised by students were attended to with the expertise available on the day from the team.

Lubabalo Maweni of DEA indicated that the challenges raised necessitate further engagements and consultation among all relevant stakeholders, together with the TVET colleges in the country. He extended the RAC invitation to TVET colleges for the forthcoming HCFC Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) roadshows scheduled to take place in Midrand, Durban, Port Elizabeth, and Cape Town in June.

Campus manager, Moses Letsoalo, closed the workshop and thanked all the senior management of the College, participants, organisers (DEA Chemicals Management, Communications and Compliance Monitoring, and Capricorn College team), lecturers, and students. He stressed on the need to further engage on these crucial challenges. He further mentioned that indeed this required a combined effort.

The DEA would like to thank everyone that participated (SARACCA and SAQCC Gas); Capricorn College for their hospitality and opening their door to this forward-looking initiative; and the exhibitors (A-Gas and Metraclark).

Photos by DEA

Click here to read the July/August 2018 issue of Cold Link Africa. 



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