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Rising stars in the RAC trade

This year’s top 20 young refrigeration and air conditioning (RAC) apprentices have been announced by Climate Control News (CCN) and the Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC). 

Those highlighted in the CCN and ARC-sponsored NextGen awards scheme, which aims to promote and support technicians under the age of 25, included Nathan Aiken, Nicholas Baldi, Jayden Beasley, Dean Bognado, Jarred Budny, Kosmas Chronakis, Katie Hammill-Lovett and Raymond Vlist.

Backgrounds for the candidates were varied, which emphasises the breadth of opportunities in the RAC trade; some were fresh out of school, some had degrees in unrelated subjects, while others were following in the footsteps of family members.

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Many, having now worked in the trade for a while, report that they would like to start their own business and set out on their own – which should serve to further highlight the potential and benefits of getting involved with the RAC industry. 

Top 20 winner Vlist, for example, aims to travel around Australia and use his skills to pay his way. “I am so glad I chose this trade,” said Vlist, “because there always seems to be plenty of work.”

ARC and CCN hope that the annual NextGen awards, as well as recognising young technicians, will help connect businesses with trainees. This should counter some of the field’s skills shortage, which is partly the result of an ageing workforce. 

However, thanks to efforts such as NextGen and other apprentice-boosting schemes, ARC recently reported that the trainee headcount is rising – and that the number enrolled at Technical and Further Education (TAFE) facilities around Australia is now at a ten-year high. 

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