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RACHP Training & Qualifications (UK) | Guide to selecting the right course

RACHP Training & Qualifications (UK) | Guide to selecting the right course

Let’s take a look at some of the refrigeration and air conditioning courses available and how you can go about enlisting to ensure compliance with the F-Gas regulations or as part of a Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump (RACHP) apprenticeship.

Choosing the best training course in the RACHP industry should not be a difficult process.  There are many courses available, so we thought it would be a good idea to provide a brief guide in the selection process when deciding which course is best for you to ensure compliance with the F-Gas regulations or if you are considering a RACHP apprenticeship.

F-Gas Qualifications
Since July 2011 all personnel carrying out installation, maintenance or servicing of stationary refrigeration, air-conditioning or heat pump equipment that contains or is designed to contain F-Gas refrigerants must hold the relevant designated qualifications stated in regulation EC303/2008

There are four categories of F-Gas certification:

Category I - certificate holders may carry out all of the following activities for any size of stationary RACHP systems containing HFC refrigerants - leakage checking, refrigerant recovery, installation, maintenance and servicing

Category II - certificate holders may carry out refrigerant recovery, installation, maintenance and servicing, in relation to stationary RACHP systems containing less than 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases (or less than 6 kg for systems that are hermetically sealed and labelled). Category II certificate holders may also carry out leak checks on any plant provided that it does not entail breaking into the refrigeration circuit containing fluorinated greenhouse gases.

Category III - certificate holders may carry out refrigerant recovery in relation to stationary RACHP systems containing less than 3 kg of fluorinated greenhouse gases (or less than 6 kg for systems that are hermetically sealed).

Category IV - certificate holders may carry out leak checks on any stationary RACHP plant provided that it does not entail breaking into the refrigeration circuit containing fluorinated greenhouse gases.

There are currently two approved providers for the Qualifications - City &Guilds and cskills (CITB)    

To comply with the F-Gas Regulation’s training and certification requirements the options are ONE of the certificates below:

City & Guilds

1 - F GAS and ODS Regulations (2079)

This qualification is a licence to practice for those working on fluorinated gases (F-gases) and ozone-depleting  substances (ODS) on stationary refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump system equipment in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

This qualification is for refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump system engineers working with fluorinated gas and ozone depleting substances.

2079-11 (category 1) Leak detection, recovery, installation, service & maintenance
2079-12 (category 2) Installation, service & maintenance of equipment with a charge of less than 3kg (6kg if hermetically sealed) and leakage checking2079-13 (category 3) Recovery of refrigerant2079-14 (category 4) Leakage checking

Level 2 Award in F-Gas and ODS Regulations (2079) - Qualification handbook

2 - Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (6187)
These qualifications cover all the essential skills you need for installing and maintaining refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems – see link further down page

(Category 1)

3 – Certificate of unit credit: Level 2 Handling Fluorinated gasses and Ozone-depleting Substances
6187-01 (unit 230/530) Installing, Testing and Maintaining Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
6187-02 (unit 230/530) Installing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems

(Certificate of unit credit: “Level 2 Handling Fluorinated gases and Ozone-depleting Substances – category 1 personnel (D/502/0629)” applicable on completion of units 230 and 530 of the 6187-01 or 6187-02 NVQ diplomas from The City and Guilds of London Institute)

4 - Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (7189)
A qualification in refrigeration and air-conditioning and heat pump systems which will help you gain employment and progress onto an NVQ.

These qualifications are intended for those wanting to gain the skills and knowledge necessary to enter the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump industry.  They are also suitable for those already employed within the industry – see link further down page

(Category 1)

5 – Certificate of unit credit: Level 2 Handling Fluorinated gasses and Ozone-depleting Substances
7189-02 (unit 209/509) Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
7189-03 (unit 209/509) Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems

(Certificate of unit credit: “Level 2 Handling Fluorinated gases and Ozone-depleting Substances – category 1 personnel (D/502/0629)” applicable on completion of units 209 and 509 of the 7189-02 or 7189 -03 NVQ diplomas from The City and Guilds of London Institute)

cskills (CITB)

Safe handling of refrigerants

J11 (category 1) Safe handling of refrigerantsJ12 (category 2) Safe handling of refrigerants - restricted to equipment with a charge of less than 3kg (6kg if hermetically sealed)

Recovery of refrigerants
 J13 (category 3) Recovery of refrigerants - restricted to equipment with a charge of less than 3kg (6kg if hermetically sealed)

Leak checking without system break in
J14 (category 4) Leak checking without system break in
Further information regarding course content can be downloaded here:  cskills F-Gas Regulations Options

Considering a RACHP apprenticeship?
There are two levels of Modern Apprenticeships:

  • Intermediate/Foundation
  • Higher/Advanced.

To achieve an Intermediate/Foundation Apprenticeship, qualifications at National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) Level 2 are required, and for a Higher/Advanced Apprenticeship, qualifications at NVQ Level 3 are required. There are also additional requirements such as – functional skills or GCSE equivalents – see the RAC Apprenticeship Handbook from SummitSkills  : SummitSkills Apprenticeship Framework – Refrigeration and Air Conditioning

(In Scotland an SVQ is the equivalent of an NVQ)

The current NVQs available are:

City & Guilds

Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (6187)
6187-01 Level 2 NVQ Diploma in installing, testing and maintaining air conditioning and heat pump systems
6187-02 Level 2 NVQ Diploma in installing and maintaining refrigeration systems
6187-03 Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Installing and Commissioning Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
6187-04 Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Servicing and Maintaining Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
6187-05 Level 3 NVQ Certificate in Installing and Commissioning Refrigeration Systems
6187-06 Level 3 NVQ Diploma in Servicing and Maintaining Refrigeration Systems
6187 Level 2 Diploma - Qualification handbook v2
6187 Level 3 Certificate Diploma - Qualification handbook v2

Refrigeration and Air-conditioning (7189) is a qualification in refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump systems and can be suitable for those who are not yet following an NVQ.
7189-02 Level 2 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
7189-03 Level 3 Diploma in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Systems
7189-02 Level 2 Diploma - Qualification handbook v1-1
7189-03 Level 3 Diploma - Qualification handbook v1-1

Two useful qualification/careers maps are available here:

Summit Skills – Building Services Engineering (BSE) Career Map
ACRIB – Refrigeration & Air Conditioning Qualifications Route Map

EAL also provide theory qualifications in refrigeration and air-conditioning (not linked to the NVQs)
EAL Level 2 Certificate in Refrigeration/Air-conditioning Equipment Engineering Technology

To find out where you can study for any of the above courses, contact your local college or you can visit the City & Guilds  or cskills websites to find your nearest accredited training provider.

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