LG Electronics launches new training academy in style
In the development of its UK business for air conditioning, heat pumps and applied systems over the few years, LG has placed great importance on training, writes Ken Sharpe. The company opened an air-conditioning training academy at its headquarters, at that time in Slough, early in 2012 — prompting a major surge in training activity. Now the focus on training activity is set to develop even further with the setting up of a state-of-the-art training academy in the company’s new headquarter at Brooklands in Weybridge. The new offices are next to the historic motor-racing circuit.
Jody Lees, head of air conditioning and energy solutions in the UK when the new training centre was opened last month [October], expressed his pleasure and pride at the quality of the new training academy, and put it into its context. He said, ‘We’ve trained more than 3000 people in the last seven years. In the past four years, we’ve seen the number coming through our training courses also quadruple.’ Last year, 2014, very nearly 500 people received training from LG, and the number is expected to increase. And Jody Lees was keen to stress that all training is provided free of charge.
The formal opening of the new training academy by LG’s UK president Ki Kwon was attended by distributors, installers, contractors and team members, and marks the continuing emphasis on training as a key support activity for the industry. It includes areas for trainees to get hands-on with all the LG products — air conditioning, heating and user interfaces.
Nor is training confined to installers and engineers involved in designing installations. In the spirit of soft landings to help achieve a smooth handover of buildings into operation, the building manager can be trained in the effective operation of installed systems, either at the new facility at Weybridge or on their own site.
Training is just one way, but a very important way, that support is provided for the air-conditioning industry. Jody Lees also referred to the major investment in the last few years into setting up a direct sales team, field engineers to site support, the pre-sales operation and the lost-sales operation.
Two more things were needed to give confidence to the market. One was local projects that could be referred to. The other was about the product range and its capability to compete with established brands.
Jody Lees’s response is, ‘We definitely have the products, with the capability to deliver what projects required. We are proud of our service, and we think we lead the way in product support.’
And he referred to a host of Multi V VRF air-conditioning installations in towns and cities such as Liverpool, Banbury, Bridgwater, Falmouth, London, Cambridge, and Birmingham. A Multi V installation in a school has a Hydrokit to use rejected heat to produce domestic hot water.
Other projects include R22 replacement installations in retail outlets and warehouses nationwide and a Therma V heat-pump system with 28 heat pumps for a luxury retirement home at Newbury.
Among the significant features of the Multi V VRF system is active refrigerant control to increase energy efficiency by controlling the amount of refrigerant depending on the outdoor temperature and the operating mode of the system.
Another Multi V feature is the variable (rather than fixed) heat-exchanger circuit to provide the optimised path for heating and cooling — thus enhancing energy efficiency.
The training provided by LG has evolved into the launch of the Si (specialist installer) programme. Launched in 2014, this programme is aimed at making the customers of LG distributors among the most highly trained individuals in the sector. The launch of the Si programme in 2014 was in response to the market place asking if LG had an approval scheme for installers of air-conditioning systems so as to give confidence in the quality of installations.
Specialist installers are selected on the basis of the quality of their LG installations, attendance on LG product training and support provided to the end user. Support provided by LG to its specialist installers includes commissioning, technical and marketing.
|Visitors get familiar with the graphical user interface of a control panel.
Support for the industry also extends back to the design stage, with selection software available for all manner of systems — such as Multi V VRF air conditioning, Therma V heat pumps and ECO-V energy recovery ventilation.
With the growing importance if building information modelling (BIM), the availability of Revit files to assist with BIM calculations and drawings will be welcome news. Revit files are also soon to be available from the BIM store (link below).
CPD presentations (continuing professional development) are offered, and can be delivers at customer premises.
With Jody Lees having left the company at the end of October — on good terms and because the new headquarters is much more difficult to travel to from where he lives — let Donna-Marie Evans, assistant marketing manager for air conditioning and energy solutions, sum up. ‘It was a pleasure to be able to welcome so many people to the open day to see these exceptional new offices that are our new home in the UK and to be able to officially open the training academy and show our visitor the wide range of products we now offer the UK market. LG is very much on the up and making huge strides in the UK.’