Ten senior HVAC&R industry apprentices completed the Kirby Apprentice Fund’s Naturals Training Scholarship Program this month, according to an announcement by Kirby, an Australian manufacturing and distribution division of Swedish wholesaler Beijer Ref.

The program, held at the Beijer Ref Training Academy in Sydney, included training on transcritical CO2 (R744) technologies, with the students receiving the CO2 units of competency required to qualify for ARC (Australia Refrigeration Council) Green Scheme Accreditation.

ARC Green Scheme Accreditation is Australia’s only national accreditation available for technicians to demonstrate they are qualified to work with natural refrigerants.

Kirby Brand and Communications Manager Elizabeth Paparo said the scholarship recipients were selected because they demonstrated a commitment to the environment, upskilling themselves, and learning more about what they all referenced as “the future of our industry.”

“They were an impressive group of young technicians who were excited to be a part of the program; [they were] appreciative and remained inquisitive throughout,” she said.

Hands-on training was led by Inderpal Saund, SCM Ref Australia’s APAC Business Development Manager and a natural refrigerant technology expert. SCM Ref is Beijer Ref’s Australian manufacturing operation.

“It was a unique opportunity to see the componentry up close and running, track the pipe runs, touch and feel the rack assemblies,” said Saund. “They were also able to interact with and learn from a mobile CO2 training unit created for the program.”

The Kirby Apprentice Fund looks forward to announcing another round of the Scholarship Program in the future, Kirby said.

First Modular Transcritical CO2 Rack

Beijer Ref’s Australian companies are continuing to scale up the manufacturing and deployment of transcritical CO2 systems in Australia.

In a Linkedin post last month, SCM Ref Australia announced that it had manufactured and delivered its first transcritical CO2 rack in a modular configuration to a supermarket.

The Kirby-branded eCOBoost transcritical CO2 system was manufactured in a modular configuration “to accommodate restricted installation access” at the store, SCM Ref said.

To grow its local manufacturing capabilities, SCM Ref relocated to a new manufacturing facility in Bankstown, Sydney, in early 2021.

In addition, the company is playing an active role in helping hold on-site training and upskilling for Australia’s technicians.

In January, SCM Ref collaborated with Australian supermarket chain Woolworths and Adelaide-based installation contractor Sims Refrigeration to hold transcritical CO2 technology master classes over the course of several days at a new Woolworths supermarket in Fulham Gardens, a western suburb of Adelaide.

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