Bath College is one of a handful of colleges in the UK offering air conditioning and refrigeration qualifications from Level 1 to Level 3. All students studying air conditioning and refrigeration are apprentices, who are sponsored by their employers. Here we speak to Jordan who travels to Bath from Wales to study.
Why did you decide to study for an apprenticeship? I was in college in Wales studying electronics and trying to get into work. I went on work experience with Weiss Technik UK and they offered me an apprenticeship. I didn’t know anything about refrigeration, but I had a go and I started to enjoy it – it’s the best thing I’ve ever done. I thought an apprenticeship would be a better alternative than university, because I would earn and learn at the same time. At the end of the course you come out with a trade and a skill. What do you do on a day to day basis at work? I work four days a week and I come into Bath College once a week. I work on climatic chambers. Car manufacturers need to test cars in low temperatures, to see how durable the car is. We produce refrigeration systems which allow storage rooms to be set to temperatures as low as minus 60 °C. We build the refrigeration system in the factory, test it to make sure everything is fine, take it to the customer, and install it. One day I might be working on a job in the factory and another day I might travel to work onsite. We go away for the week, stay in hotels and do the work. The company is contracted for work abroad, in places like China and Brazil, so I might get that opportunity once I’m qualified. Why did you want to study this course at Bath College? Weiss Technik UK is based in the Ebbw Vale, so I travel into study at Bath College. This is the only Level 3 course I could find, it’s a very specialised subject and not every college offers a Level 3 qualification. I find refrigeration is more hands-on and it’s more specialised. When I was doing electronics there were three courses and there were 60 students studying the course. There’s just a few of us in this refrigeration class, so I get more time with the teacher and it’s easier to find a job afterwards. Companies are crying out for refrigeration engineers. What does Bath College do to support you in the workplace? I have site visitors from the college, they come to see me working to make sure I know my trade and I know what I’m doing. I also have trained engineers at my workplace who show me what to do. It’s just good to get stuck in and work with my hands. I’m not just sat at a desk and it’s not just theory – you’re actually doing something. It’s prepared me for work. What’s your dream for the future? I want to move abroad and work. I want to get a job and set up my own company in America or Australia and employ other people (maybe other apprentices). We’ve had a lot of people come in as quest speakers telling us what they have done. When I talk to people who have gone on to own their own company I think ‘I could do that’. This is just the start of my journey.