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Ewen Rose Jun 21, 2023 6:12:44 PM 2 min read

BESA calls for rapid transformation in cooling skills


Graeme-Fox-Blog-BannerThe Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) has urged the industry to mark this year’s World Refrigeration Day (WRD) by stepping up its efforts to recruit and train a new generation of air conditioning and refrigeration engineers able to deliver more innovative, future-proof solutions. 

WRD is celebrated on June 26th each year and this year's theme is ‘Next Generation Cooling’ #NextGenCooling with events all over the world focusing on the need for innovative and sustainable cooling solutions capable of achieving global energy efficiency and net zero goals. 

Air conditioning is responsible for almost 20% of the total electricity used in buildings globally, according to the International Energy Agency and demand is predicted to keep rising steeply during the next three decades. This year’s WRD aims to raise awareness of how the modern cooling industry is adapting and evolving to meet the challenges and opportunities of increasing demand for low carbon cooling and heating solutions in warming climates. 

“We need to recruit, train and retain people equipped with the knowledge and skills that a modern, forward-thinking industry requires,” said WRD founder Stephen Gill. “Just as no-one will expect the cooling solutions we supply in the future to be the same as those from the past, no-one should expect the workforce to be the same either.  

“This year’s campaign is an opportunity to showcase what we are doing now to ensure we have the diverse, highly skilled workforce that our future industry needs.” 

His words were echoed by BESA technical director Graeme Fox who said the industry would need to appeal to a much broader pool of potential talent to keep thriving into the future. 

“We will have to manage a huge balancing act over the next 20 to 30 years,” said Fox, who is also President of the Institute of Refrigeration (IoR). “Our world is warming and driving demand for cooling technologies, but at the same time we simply must reduce our energy consumption. 

“Fortunately, our industry has a great track record of innovation so most of the solutions we need are coming through and evolving rapidly to meet these challenges. However, we are short of the numbers of highly skilled engineers we need to design, install and operate systems at the necessary scale.” 

He added that BESA would be using this year’s WRD to celebrate the vital role played by refrigeration technology in modern society including healthcare, the food chain, buildings, data centres and transport. 

“If someone is looking for a career where they can make a significant and long-lasting contribution to the future of the planet and their local communities, air conditioning and refrigeration ticks all the boxes,” said Fox.