Scottish OEM Star Refrigeration, an industrial ammonia (R717) refrigeration pioneer, recently announced the opening of its 2023 Nationwide Industrial Refrigeration Engineering Apprenticeship Program with opportunities in the U.K cities of Aberdeen, Bristol, Derby, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Oxford.
At the same time it enables young people to earn a salary, the “Work, Earn and Learn” apprenticeship program also provides them with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and achieve qualifications in a “fast-growing” industry. To that end, the apprenticeship offers on-the-job training from experienced Star engineers. Training covers “service, maintenance and installation of industrial heating and cooling systems,” said Star, “ and includes health and safety, system optimization, fault diagnosis and rectification, electrical systems and customer care.”
As part of an associated college program, apprentices also receive off-the-job instruction with apprentices from other industries.
“[We] are focused on offering this opportunity to candidates who are looking to start or advance their careers in industrial refrigeration,” said James Ward, Operations Director of Star Refrigeration.
Both Jack Flinn and Calum Plunkett recently completed Star’s three-year apprenticeship program. “Our apprenticeship program has proven to be a great success, with Jack and Calum as great examples of the potential for growth and success in this industry,” said Ward, wishing them the best in their future endeavors while encouraging others to join the Star team.
We “are committed to providing equal opportunities and are looking for responsible and motivated candidates to join [our] inclusive workforce,” said Star.
Star’s program offers graduation opportunities for an “industrial refrigeration engineer with the practical skills, experience and confidence to work independently,” the OEM said. Moreover, credentials include “initial engineering qualification and Level 2 and 3 NVQs (National Vocational Qualifications) in Service and Maintenance Engineering.”
The paid apprenticeship starts at £14,460 (US$17,500) per year upon joining the program and rises to £27,720 (US$33,600) in three years with six-month pay increments based on established key performance indicators. Successful apprentices are offered permanent employment with Star Refrigeration along with access to further education programs, Star said, noting that 95% of apprentices complete the program.
The company has employed apprentices for 50 years with “25% of the current management team joining the company through the apprenticeship or trainee program.”
“Having recently celebrated 25 years with the company and having started as a trainee myself, I appreciate how valuable a good start is,” said Ward. “I have enjoyed every minute of my time in this industry and would encourage anyone to choose it as a career.”
Star Refrigeration is a Young Person’s Guarantee accredited employer that provides career opportunities for people between 16 and 24 years old. It also participates as Investors in People Platinum and Investors in Young People Gold. Star also supports World Refrigeration Day’s STEMAZING initiative, an international refrigeration training program to inspire a new generation of female engineers.
Apprenticeships Support HVAC&R
Apprenticeship programs aimed at teens and young adults offer the opportunity to attract people to the HVAC&R industry.
The now-closed U.K. government Kickstart Scheme helped J&E Hall International, a manufacturer of single-screw compressors and ammonia chillers, find and employ “three amazingly good people,” said Martin Jefkins, HR Director at J&E Hall. “If Kickstart or something similar started again tomorrow, [we] would be at the front of the queue. It helped us to achieve some things that we would have struggled to do.”
In 2020, J&E Hall awarded Dave Pearson of Star Renewable Energy, a business enterprise of Star Refrigeration, its Gold Medal for “the most noteworthy practical contribution in the field of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pumps,” said Star’s website.
“We are focused on offering this opportunity to candidates who are looking to start or advance their careers in industrial refrigeration.”James Ward, Operations Director of Star Refrigeration