Ultimo TAFE prepares students for the refrigeration industy

The future of Australia’s refrigeration and HVAC industry is dependent on the next generation of students getting the training and support they need to excel. Part of this responsibility falls on Greg Riach’s shoulders. As one of the head teachers at Sydney TAFE’s Ultimo College, he has a direct hand in influencing the future of the industry.

Ultimo College is a longstanding feature of the refrigeration and HVAC training scene in the state, with a history dating back to the 1960’s when the program was moved from the nearby Petersham College.

nsw tafe logo

Shaping the future

The Ultimo college specialises in offering everything students need to prepare for in the workplace, with a range of courses covering the industry at a number of levels, from certificates through to diplomas.

Certificates are a great way for people to get a taste of the industry, with members of other trades such as electricians often using them to branch out into the refrigeration industry. They are also necessary for those passionate about turning these jobs into a career, with a level three certificate a prerequisite for admission into diploma courses.

Greg also highlights the flexibility the TAFE offers, with an online component allowing people to find a study regime that fits in with their lifestyle. With students ranging in age from 16 to 60, it’s important to provide varied options that reflect the diversity of the candidates.

The organisation’s commitment to the industry has seen them construct a new facility designed to give students an accurate representation of what they will be facing when they join the industry’s workforce.

Ultimo TAFE provides systems that reflect the full range of what the industry can offer, from domestic HVAC installations to the kind of air-conditioning networks normally reserved for commercial applications in high-rise buildings. The idea is to “simulate the workplace environment”. As Greg says, Qantas cannot fly a plane every time they need to train someone, they need to simulate those conditions in a controlled environment.

Testo & Ultimo TAFE Partnership

Training with Testo

It should come as no surprise that Testo instruments feature prominently in the training of these students, with Greg firm in his endorsement for them.

They’re the best I’ve seen so far,” he says.

Greg believes in the commitment to digital products that Testo provides, as they provide unique advantages over their analogue counterparts, such as being clear and easily readable. “If you see 21, that’s 21,” he assures. Analogue gauges in comparison require careful working just to get an accurate measurement.

Ultimo TAFE’s use of digital equipment symbolises their desire to be at the forefront of innovation and advancement within the industry and its education services. With students coming from all over Australia to undertake these courses they need to be at their best.

New technology allows for new teaching methods to arise, with traditional education models sometimes giving way to other learning processes.

“It’s a two way street,” explains Greg. “The student becomes the teacher and the teacher becomes the student.”

This allows Ultimo TAFE to lead the education of the industry’s future, while maintaining a commitment for its staff to continue learning as times and technology change.

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