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The importance of apprentices

Kevin O’Shea, the president of the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Contractors’ Association (RACCA) in Australia, has racked up a 50-year career as a technician and authority in the refrigeration and air conditioning business.

In that time, much has changed. However, reflecting on his experiences in a recent article, O’Shea has flagged that the industry still has a significant lack of new talent.

“Looking back over the past 50-plus years, we still have the same issues with our industry that we had back then – a serious skills shortage and not being able to attract enough apprentices that will excel in our trade,” said O’Shea.

This, he states, is due to reasons such as the industry failing to properly advertise its opportunities, appeal and prominence. O’Shea cites this as contributing further to the trade not attracting the right calibre of apprentices, which exacerbates the issue. 

Not all the news is bad, though. “NextGen, along with World Skills – are a testament to that,” says O’Shea. “Both programs highlight upcoming ambassadors of our industry to the broader public and shows that our industry recognises its outstanding young participants.”

O’Shea, speaking in an article published in the August 2021 issue of Climate Control News, says the industry must however continue to compete for, attract and encourage apprentices.  

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