According to Develop Training, still thousands gas engineers still not trained to the required F-Gas standards.
Mark Dougall, Director at Develop Training, explained: “Many engineers did not comply with the July 2011 deadline and many are now working illegally. We are worried about this for two reasons - not only could individuals be fined if they don’t gain their qualifications but we may also see a shortage of engineers able to legally undertake important servicing and maintenance work. We realise that many operators who have not yet undertaken the training, may not even be aware of it, and there are also the timing pressures and cost factors.”
It is these timing pressures and cost factors that have lead many engineers from small and medium enterprises (SME) not to take the additional legislated qualifications. However, it has also been noted that some of the larger companies employing gas engineers are trying to cut costs and corners by training some and not all of their engineers for the F-Gas Certification.
The legislation is part of the EU F-Gas Regulations, the first part of which was introduced in 2007. Since 2009 any company which employs engineers working under F-Gas Regulations must have a Company Certificate but in July 2011 this was been extended to individuals. Anyone carrying out service, maintenance, recovery or leak checking on refrigeration equipment covered by the regulations must have completed one of the updated national qualifications.
Develop are still receiving many new enquiries in regards to the qualification as they offer F-Gas Certification, training and assessment courses, Category 1 to 4, which are either City and Guilds or CITB accredited. The assessment process covers safe handling of refrigerants, pipework and jointing skills, recovery of refrigerants, pressure testing and intrusive and non-intrusive leak testing – and performance of checking systems, dependent upon the level of assessment taken.
Mark commented: “It is really quite shocking how many calls we are receiving from people who are as yet untrained. However, we realise that many may have put off undertaking this training due to concerns over downtime or expense. Part of the course offers flexible E-learning to minimise the time impacts on small businesses, especially those independent business owners and small operators. In recognition of the time challenge we are also offering a 1 day assessment only option.”
The F-Gas E-Learning package differs from other training courses in that half is completed at home. This makes it easier for people with less time to get the accreditation they need, reduces the downtime required for such training. It will run in addition to the traditional five-day course, which can be held at one of Develop’s five training centres found nationwide, or at the customer’s own site or at one of 100 other possible sites across the UK.
“It is those who have recognised the importance of these legislation changes and are most prepared that will reap the rewards - with better qualified and more efficient workers, less downtime and minimal disruption.” Mark added
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