Training director issues warning on F gas deadline

F gas, training
F gas qualification warning — Mark Dougall.

Concerns that it might not be possible to train the 35 000 refrigeration and air-conditioning engineers that are not yet qualified to F gas standards by the July 2011 deadline have been expressed by a leading provider of technical skills training. According to Develop Training, a sudden surge in registrations before next Summer’s deadline could leave many working illegally.

Mark Dougall (electrical, mechanical and business services director) at Develop explains, ‘If current rates of sign up continue, it will be virtually impossible to train everyone in time. Despite the publicity and discussion surrounding these regulations, everyone is seeing really small numbers of people registering to update their qualifications. We estimate that in total around 3000 have signed up across the country.

‘We are worried for two reasons. Not only will 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.’

The legislation is part of the EU F gas Regulations, the first part of which was introduced in April 2007. Since July 2009, companies employing engineers working under F gas Regulations must have had a company certificate. From July 2011, this requirement will be extended to individuals. Anyone carrying out services, maintenance, recovery or leak checking on refrigeration equipment covered by the regulations must have completed one of the updated national qualifications.

Mark Dougall adds, ‘It seems that many are either not aware of the need to undertake one of the new courses or not concerned about the timescale. At the moment, the qualifications are widely available, so there’s not really any excuse for not signing up. Finding vacancies with trainers will become increasingly difficult nearer the deadline. People may be thinking they can get away with it, but come July there is going to be a real crackdown on non-compliance.’

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