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European Commission sets F Gas training standards

THE UK RAC industry must get ready for mandatory skills assessment of its workforce now that the European Commission has set F Gas training and certification standards.
The European Commission has finalised its detailed requirements for the training and certification of engineers working on stationary refrigeration and ac equipment under the F Gas Regulation.

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

Most UK engineers have been assessed in refrigerant handling to the City and Guilds 2078 or CITB standard.

The whole of the existing workforce of 40,000 engineers will need to take all or part of the new assessment. It is expected to take four hours for each candidate to be assessed by a qualified assessor.

Since the Commission finalised requirements in December 2007, industry representatives through ACRIB been working to come up with a top-up qualification for those who already have refrigerant handling or S/NVQ qualifications.

The new F Gas qualification is still under development and consultation and will be presented to the UK government at the end of January.

Training providers and colleges can register to deliver the new qualifications early in the Spring with the first assessments going ahead in early July, when the requirements for F Gas Personnel Certification are due to come in.

John Ellis, past president of the IOR and past chairman of ACRIB has seen the Commission's detailed requirements. He said 'This is the first time that an assessment specification has been written into a regulation on refrigerant handling. There is no doubt it will be tough to comply with but it would have been a lot worse without the work of ACRIB and DEFRA negotiating at a European level.

The Commission says all technicians should have the new qualification by January 2009. However the UK government will be consulting in the summer on whether to allow a further three years (up to July 2011) for existing workforce to get the new qualification.

For details of your obligations as an employer of personnel handling f gases see the ACRIB F Gas Training Guidance Note.

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