19 March 2008

ACRIB claims victory with F-Gas training deadline extension

The ACRIB F Gas Implementation group says it has been successful in persuading DEFRA of the need for three years to be allowed for compliance with the new F-Gas training requirements.
The group said 'Indications from the DEFRA stakeholder meeting, held on February 28, are that these arguments have been taken on board and that the deadline now under consideration by which time the new qualifications must be obtained will be July 2011'.

The Commission had previously stated all technicians should have obtained this new qualification by January 2009.

DEFRA confirmed that they are in the process of drafting legislation concerning the training and certification requirements. A draft is expected to be available for public consultation from June.

The training capacity in the UK is limited and the existing workforce of 40,000 engineers will need to be reassessed to the updated qualification standard. The level of training needed to get technicians up to the standard necessary to pass the assessments will depend on the prior qualifications, experience and knowledge of the individual.

With the current limited provision of training and the significant changes and challenges that the new F Gas qualifications will present, ACRIB argued it would take some years to get the whole of the ACR workforce re-certified.

Only those who have taken the new F Gas assessment will be recognised as competent throughout the whole of Europe to work with F Gas refrigerants.

A statutory rule, which came into force on February 15, listed the existing C&G 2078 and CITB Refrigeration Handling as the current legal minimum qualifications to handle refrigerants covered by the F Gas regulation until new qualification schemes become available.

Whilst those holding existing qualifications (ie City and Guilds 2078 or CITB Refrigerant Handling) will be able to continue to work legally until 2011 employers are advised to ensure that their existing workers have achieved the new update qualification as soon as this becomes available.

Training providers have yet to go through a re-accreditation process to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge and equipment to deliver the new qualification.

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