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March 2017 - Useful Government Links on Trailblazer Apprenticeship

For Employers


For Training Providers


Looking for a job as an Apprentice?


February 2017 - Feedback from National Trailblazer Apprenticeship conference announcments

New RACHP Apprenticeships rules coming into force in April were highlighted during the recent Trailblazer National Conference. Visit to read the IOR’s report on top 10 changes to watch  including:

·  The new Apprenticeship Levy allows employers to claim training costs back

·  All new funded apprentices have to be in employment

·  The Institute for Apprenticeship, the new organisation for ensuring consistency in the delivery of knowledge, skills and behaviours for apprenticeship training


October 2016 - RACHP Design and Applications Engineer Higher Level Apprenticeship (Level 5) now under development

Interested in the next level of training and qualification for candidates working in Design roles? The Government is now encouraging higher level apprenticeships - these are equivalent to the HND or Foundation Degree programmes - but include a mix of taught and practical learning for individuals who are employed as Higher Level Apprentices. A team of employers covering air conditioning, commercial and industrial refrigeration, supported by Colleges/Universities is developing a scheme for the RACHP sector. It will link also to the competences of the Engineering Council for Incorporated Engineer. The draft standard and a consultation are available below. Consultation close date 10th November 2016.

Review the Draft Design and Applications Engineer Higher Level Apprenticeship Standard

Download a feedback form here


Sept 2016 - RACHP EngTech Level 3 Apprenticeship now ready for registration by Centres:

The qualifications which will underpin the new Apprenticeship have now been launched by City & Guilds. The 6090 Diplomas in RACHP Systems at Level 2 and Level 3 Centre documents have been published on the City and Guilds website here. These qualification handbooks will help training centres considering offering the new Apprenticeship to prepare their programmes. Centres must apply for fast-track approval to deliver the qualifications and Apprenticeships.  


August 2016 - Government guidance for Employers on Apprenticehip Levy 

The government has published a series of guides on new funding arrangements. A Summary is available here.  Or view all of the key documents below:

 June 2016 - Details of new Trailblazer Qualifications and Centre Registration from City and Guilds

Find out more about how Centres can register and how the new qualifications will work to support the apprenticeship here

May 2016 - Training Providers invited to send in expressions of interest in delivering new Apprenticeships

City & Guilds, a registered Assessment Organisation for the new RACHP Eng Tech Level 3 Apprenticeship, are inviting training providers to pre-register so that they can start delivering the new Apprenticeship in September this year (2016).  An information webinar is being held on 9th June to explain how the registration process will work, and introduce the new qualifications that will underpin delivery. Further webinars are scheduled for September when the Qualification Handbooks and Work Place Workbook Templates will be available. Contact Chris Bailey, Scheme Manager at City & Guilds to find out more about how your centre can deliver the new qualifications and apprenticeship. More information from City & Guilds for training providers is available on a presention made at the 15th March launch event (download the slides here)

May 2016 - Employers encouraged to take on RACHP EngTech Apprentices from September 2016

Employers in England should make sure any new apprentices are enrolled on the new RACHP EngTech trailblazer programme from September. Colleges and independent training providers are now gearing up to deliver to the new standard, which will be a three year course during which candidates will study a Level 2 and Level 3 qualification.  The Apprenticeship is currently available from City & Guilds and existing training providers currently offering the old Mechanical Engineering Services (RACHP) qualifications and apprenticeship have to register to deliver the new scheme, with a fast-track approvals process available in most cases. More information about funding apprenticeship frameworks are available at

Introduction to the RACHP Engineering Technician Level 3 Apprenticeship

April 2016 - High Level Apprenticeship now under development

Approval from the Department for Education and Skills has now been gained for the development of a two-year Higher Level Apprenticeship for European Design and Applications Engineers working in RACHP, aligned to Incorporated Engineer level of the Engineering Council and aimed at those with design experience and new entrants to the sector who dont have RACHP specific knowledge. See the full proposal here.  If you would like to get involved in this work please contact us to join our consultation group.

March 2016 - Lastest news - presentations from the launch event

The launch of the new RACHP Engineering Technician Trailblazer Apprenticeship was attended by over 50 delegates. View the presentations here.

January 2016 - Update on Launch

A launch of the RACHP Engineering Technician Trailblazer Apprenticeship is being planned to take place during National Apprenticeship Week. Register your interest in attending this free information event on the morning of 15th March in London. It will be an opportunity to find out about the latest developments in refrigeration apprenticeships. 

December 2015 - Latest news - Working to prepare for Delivery of new Apprenticeships in September 2016

The RACHP Engineering Technician Apprenticeship scheme approved in 2015 as one of the Trailblazer Apprenticeships is now considered “ready for delivery” and has had approval for funding of training by Government.  At least one Assessment Body is in the process of registering to deliver the new Apprenticeship programme – that is City & Guilds.  City & Guilds have been working closely with the Trailblazer Employers Group and the Institute of Refrigeration to prepare new qualifications and guidance material for trainers and employers to help deliver the new Apprenticeships.

Preparation of Qualifications and Assessment Materials

Consultation with employers on the principles of underpinning qualifications at Level 2 and 3 are on-going.  A meeting of the Trailblazer Employers Group will be held to look at the draft new qualifications in early February.  Subject to their approval, the next stage will be to gain input from a wide range of training providers during March, with opportunities for registered centres to look in more detail and comment on draft qualifications, assessment materials, test rig specifications, supporting documents, verification procedures etc to ensure these are practical and deliverable.

Awareness raising of changes

In parallel the Institute of Refrigeration is raising awareness of the new qualifications and how they will work in the sector. They are organising in a number of events and initiatives at industry events:

  • City & Guilds have agreed to participate on the IOR Stand at the ACR Show on 17th February with a Q&A session programmed on the new Trailblazer scheme.
  • Trade Association meeting talks and presentations 
  • A Launch Event supported by Government is being planned for Mid March in London as part of National Apprenticeship Week.

When will the new scheme be ready?

City and Guilds are working towards having the new scheme available for new employees/apprentice registrations in September 2016, and will ensure that training providers are kept informed and provided with all of the necessary information to prepare for the new scheme before its launch. 


September 2015 - Latest news - RACHP EngTech Apprenticeship now approved to prepare for delivery

The new Refrigeration Air Conditioning and Heat Pump (RACHP) Engineering Technician Apprenticeship standard and assessment strategy has now been published on the list of approved standards on the Government Trailblazer website (10th Sept 2015). The standard and the assessment plan have been developed by employers in consultation with providers over the past 18 months, supported by the Institute of Refrigeration Education Committee.  The list of employers involved is shown on the website below.  A funding band for support towards the employers' cost of training and assessment under the new Apprenticeship has also been set. 

It is hoped that employers will be able to start Apprentices on the new scheme from September 2016.  Assessment Organisations (such City & Guilds) need to register for approval before they can begin developing materials for the new Apprenticeship  (such as workbooks, on line exams, specifications for practical tests and setting up an independent end point assessment panels). It is a recommendation in the new Apprenticeship that input from professional institutes such as the IOR is gained in the development of these materials or qualifications, to ensure that current industry standards are met and that they satisfy Engineering Council Engineering Technician requirements.

Employers will be able to choose which Assessment Organisation and Training Organisation they want to use for the RACHP Apprenticeship, and allocate the matched Government funding accordingly. The government Apprenticeship website will list the options available to employers and explain how much funding is available in due course.

The new Standard and Assessment plans place a much stronger emphasis on core refrigeration principles and science, backed up with practical assessments. They are available to view on line at:

May 2015 - Latest news - Assessment Plans under development

The Employers Group in consultation with a wider range of interested employers, training providers, past Apprentices, awarding bodies andprofessional institutes, is working on the next stage of development of the RACHP Apprenticeship.  New apprenticeships have to be supported with an Assessment Plan which outlines the principles for things like independent assessment of Apprentices at the end of their programme; quality assurance measures; examination methods; mandatory qualifications; the role of Training Organisations and Awarding Organisations.

The diagram here shows how the Assessment Plan for this Apprenticeship is developing (note this is only a draft and has not been approved or finalised as yet).  Once the Plan is finalised and approved by Government, the next stage will be for funding to be approved and then Awarding Organisations and Training Organisations can register to deliver the Apprenticeship.   There will be a lot more work around providing supporting workbooks, frameworks for gathering workplace evidence, guidance for employers, mapping evidence to Engineering Council standards; setting up independent Assessment Panels and End Test arrangements. Awarding organisations will also be able to develop qualifications to support the delivery of the standard, in association with industry.

  If you would like to be involved in the on going development process and consultations please contact us here.


March 2015 - Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Engineering Apprenticeship Trailblazer approved for development

On 12th March 2015 the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) confirmed their approval of a new Apprenticeship standard for the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Engineering Technician, developed by employers in the industry, with the support of industry bodies Institute of Refrigeration and the Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Industry Board.  Download the two page summary standard and see a list of Employes invovled in this work here

Skills Minister Nick Boles said: “Apprenticeships are a real success story. Through giving leading employers in your sector the power to design and deliver high quality apprenticeships we can give young people the skills our economy vitally needs. I congratulate the members of the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pump Engineering Trailblazer on their involvement in designing the new apprenticeships for RACHP Engineering Technicians, which we have published today.”

For our sector this is a major step forward in improving skills and encouraging young people to take up careers in the sector.   IOR President, Graeme Maidment FInstR, explains that it is critical for us as an industry that we lead the development of skills for the RACHP sector. The new RACHP Engineering Technician apprenticeship will enable our industry to support and engage with young people at an early stage in their career - people who are going to be driving change and shaping our industry in the future. “The Institute of Refrigeration is proud to be working with so many employers, trainers and with trade associations through ACRIB on this exciting, ground-breaking project.  There is much more work to be done to bring this new standard to the market but we are confident that with continued high levels of support from employers, it will make an immediate and lasting contribution to the future of the industry. “

The new Apprenticeship standard outlines the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to achieve full competence in RACHP Engineering Technician job roles. The standard was developed by a group of twelve employers designated a “Trailblazer” by BIS.  They will continue now to prepare an Assessment Plan, leading to a new Apprenticeship for the RACHP Engineering Technician, linked to Engineering Council national standards.

The chairman of the group is John Austin-Davies FInstR (Commercial Director of George Barker & Co (Leeds) Ltd, part of the Epta Group). He and the other employers, large and small, representing the variety of our industry, are committed to seeing this new approach through. He comments: “Training to a consistent, and nationally agreed standard, is more important in this industry now than ever before. Our Industry is a major energy user, and in addition to the energy consumption there are other very significant environmental aspects, all of which mean that the technology is moving fast. We must be confident that we have a well prepared work-force to install safely and correctly, and maintain working with optimum efficiency. The Apprenticeship Trailblazer programme is the best opportunity we have to make the step-change necessary.”

The Apprenticeship is designed to be delivered over 3 years, with a strong focus on applying relevant scientific principles and fundamentals and a much clear role for the employer in work-based training. “It is a marvellous opportunity to build learning and training outcomes so that employers can trust and value the qualifications our staff achieve” said John Fraser, Operations Director, Star Refrigeration on hearing today’s news.

The next stage of development will include many more opportunities for further consultation within the RACHP industry, including training providers, existing apprentices, employers, manufacturers and those responsible for developing qualifications. 

The announcement of the success of the new RACHP Apprenticeship Standard comes during National Apprenticeship Week. Our industry has always been a strong supporter of training and apprentices as a way of bringing attention to careers in this interesting and varied sector. Through  initiatives such as National Student and Apprentice of the Year awards, SkillFRIDGE skills competitions and most recently the CoolScience stand at the Big Bang national science and engineering careers fair, and now its own Trailblazer Apprenticeship, it is making real progress in this area.  “No company would succeed by only looking at the present; we need to look to the future. By developing and inspiring young people to be involved in the refrigeration industry we are ensuring that this industry has a future.“ confirms Katie Boots, HR Director at GEA Refrigeration UK.


Sign up to the RACHP Engineering Technician Trailblazer Stakeholder Group

So far 14 employers have signed up. The Stakeholder Group will allow you to have direct input to the development of the new standards by sharing your views, commenting on drafts, attending meetings and being part of this  initiative.  Contact us now to volunteer your input and show your support for this new industry-led approach to qualification development.

Join the Trailblazer Stakeholder Group

Want to know more about how employers in sectors across the UK are helping Government to develop new Apprenticeships?

See the Apprenticeship website at