If you like working with your hands, possess strong problem-solving skills, have a great work ethic and have good interpersonal communication skills, a career in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanics could be highly suited to you. Furthermore, the field is experiencing a skills shortage. As a result, demand for experienced Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics and fitters is growing. In response, employers and the Australian Government hope to attract individuals to the sector through practical apprenticeships.
The Additional Identified Skills Shortage Payment Incentive
In July 2019, the Australian Government introduced the Additional Identified Skills Shortage payment incentive to tackle the national skills shortage affecting several vital occupations. Eligible apprentices, including Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics and Fitters, receive $2,000 after the first 12-months from the commencement of the apprenticeship. Then, apprentices will receive an additional $2,000 when the training ends. The initiative encourages individuals to complete their qualifications and progress in the field.
How to find Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Apprenticeships
If you’re interested in undertaking a refrigeration and air conditioning apprenticeship, you should contact the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network. The organisation offers support services to help apprentices find and complete their qualifications. Furthermore, providers will help you find an employer and registered training organisation to complete your course. Additionally, the Australian Apprenticeship Network will help you locate applicable financial support schemes, including the Trade Support Loan and the Additional Identified Skills Shortage payment incentive.
If you require further apprenticeship assistance, Australian Apprenticeship Pathways (AAPathways) provides guidance and resources to help eligible individuals find an apprenticeship suited to their skills. Available resources include job and training descriptions, quizzes to help you determine your work type, job pathway charts, and other helpful information.
Typical Duties of a Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Apprentice
Throughout the apprenticeship, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning apprentices will learn the trade on the job with the help of their employer. Typical duties include determining job requirements from specifications and drawings, installing and servicing refrigeration and air conditioning pipework and equipment, working with wired electrical equipment, locating and correcting faults in systems, and testing refrigeration and air conditioning equipment and systems.
Typical Requirements of a Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Apprentice
There are no specific educational requirements to make you eligible for an apprenticeship. However, as a minimum, you should have completed Year 10. You can join the refrigeration and air conditioning field with no formal qualifications if you can demonstrate your technical competency to an employer. Despite this, most working in the field undertake an apprenticeship. For example, 71.8% of Australia’s refrigeration and air conditioning workforce hold a Certificate III or IV qualification.
To complete an apprenticeship in Refrigeration and Air Conditioning, apprentices will need good interpersonal skills, a strong work ethic, good oral comprehension and the ability to work with their hands. Refrigeration and Air Conditioning apprenticeships typically take four years to complete.
Qualified Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic Average Wage
According to Job Outlook, an initiative created by the Australian Government National Skills Commission, the median full-time Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic receive $1,400 per week before tax. The initiative predicts that the sector will see moderate future growth after a prolonged period of solid growth over the last five years.
The hourly wage of a qualified Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic varies by state.
Sydney, New South Wales: AU$25.19 per hour.
Melbourne, Victoria: AU$24.13 per hour.
Brisbane, Queensland: AU$29.49 per hour.
Darwin, Northern Territory: AU$35.40 per hour.
Perth, Western Australia: AU$28.33 per hour.
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: AU$33.17 per hour.
Hobart, Tasmania: AU$30.00 per hour.
Those working in the refrigeration and air conditioning field are present in every Australian state and territory. However, New South Wales and Queensland have the highest concentration of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics out of all the Australian states, with 33.6 per cent and 22.6 per cent, respectively. Due to principles of supply and demand, the wages in these states are usually lower.
How to Become an Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic/Fitter
To become a qualified Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Mechanic, you should undertake an apprenticeship. You will likely require a certificate III or IV in refrigeration and air conditioning to work in the sector. In Australia, 71.8% of the refrigeration and air conditioning workforce hold a Certificate III or IV qualification.
Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration
A Certificate III qualification in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration involves selecting components and installing, setting up, testing, finding faults, and maintaining refrigeration systems and equipment for food storage and preservation, air conditioning, and air distribution equipment in buildings. Visit the Australian Apprenticeship Pathways website to learn more about the qualification.
Certificate IV in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing Technician
A Certificate IV in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing involves undertaking high-level fault diagnosis and rectification. Apprentices would also maintain refrigeration systems and equipment for food storage and preservation, air conditioning, air distribution equipment and other special applications. Additionally, apprentices will use drawings, diagrams, schedules, standards, codes and specifications, install refrigerant pipework, flow controls and accessories, provide quotations for installation or service jobs and more. Please visit the Australian Apprenticeship Pathways website to learn more about the typical duties of a Certificate IV Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Servicing Apprentice.
Certificate IV in Energy Management Control Technician
A Certificate IV in Energy Management Control means you will be responsible for developing strategies to make existing buildings energy efficient. In the role, you will monitor and report on energy performance and recommend changes to increase efficiency. Changes may come in the form of new equipment, modification or reprogramming. If this qualification is of interest to you, please visit the Australian Apprenticeship Pathways website for more information.
Start your Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Career Today
Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Mechanics and Fitters are currently in high demand in Australia. As a result, employers in the field offer competitive salaries once you have completed your qualification. If you are interested in finding out more, please visit the Australian Apprenticeships and the Australian Apprenticeship Pathways websites.