Getting started in a very technical industry can be tricky, this applies to all industries across the globe. Every industry has its basic requirements that are usually based on the industry’s regulations, codes and standards. The Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Duct Manufacturing industry is no exception. There are basic requirements that must be met by individuals who want to build a successful career.
Step 1: Mathematics and Science are vital subjects for individuals looking to become authorised Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Gas Practitioners in every category of registration. An individual may also be required to have an appropriate technical experience such as a trade test qualification in Refrigeration.
Step 2: Theoretical education and practical skills are the basic requirements. When an individual has been trained by an accredited Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Training provider, a practitioner is required to acquire practical work experience on Refrigeration or Air Conditioning systems. When they have received theoretical and practical training, they are required to register as Authorised Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Practitioners before they can begin practicing.
Step 3: The Pressure Equipment Regulations (PER) govern the handling, installation, and maintenance of pressure equipment, and require everyone involved in the handling of such equipment and refrigerant gases in terms of regulation 17 in the PER to be registered with the South African Qualifications and Certification Committee of Gas (SAQCC Gas). Refrigeration and Air Conditioning systems operate on a variety of refrigerant gases depending on the application. Therefore fittingly a knowledge of the types of refrigeration system and refrigerant gas used is essential. The above regulation, applies to those who work on new installations, maintenance, and repair of refrigeration systems under pressure.
SAQCC Gas has been mandated by the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) to register every Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Practitioner in a regulated database. No-one can begin practicing until registration is complete.
One of the four member associations of the SAQCC Gas, the South African Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Contractors Association (SARACCA) was invited as a leader in the industry established to bridge the gap between the refrigeration industry and the SAQCC Gas. SARACCA is an association of contractors who have individually agreed to a set of governing standards while operating in free competition against each other.
As members of Saracca being qualified and registered is not always enough to place an individual’s career at its peak. SARACCA members recognise this, these members benefit immensely for carrying the name of a prestigious association on their badge. The Refrigeration and Air Conditioning industry is extremely competitive, from previous accounts, companies affiliated with SARACCA often receive first preference in a bid for business. SARACCA members receive contractual advice if and when they need it, this gives them access to the counsels of pioneer industry players, placing them at a higher chance of securing contracts.
Due to the rapid change in technology, equipment and regulations, individuals are often required to update and refresh their skills through further training. However, skills training courses are subsidised to all SARACCA members. SARACCA members also receive a subsidy on the cost of renewal of Authorised Refrigeration Gas Practitioners registration of the fee charged by the SAQCC Gas.
SARCCA’s primary objective is to ensure the success of the Refrigeration industry and its industry players. Education and skills are important, but, affiliation with SARACCA is a much-needed stepping stone to a long-lasting prolific career in the industry.