As the country moves steadily towards recovery, it has never been more essential for HVAC professionals to ensure their skills and knowledge are up to date. For, those most in tune with the latest working practices and technologies are likely to be in the strongest position when the upturn comes.
Here, Dave Dickson, Group Specification Manager for Conex Bänninger, discusses the benefits of Continual Professional Development, along with a reminder it can include remote ‘lunch and learns’ as well as attendance at technical webinars.
There are a number of positive reasons why HVAC professionals should take part in Continual Professional Development, or CPD as it is generally known.
It helps individuals to sustain and progress in their careers. For companies, structured learning helps build an expert workforce with which to compete in the marketplace. And as an industry it makes the sector more attractive for future talent and for investment.
While these are unsettling times, whether you are a heating and plumbing engineer, contractor or specifier now is a good time to consolidate those precious CPD points and hours rather than allow them to slip away.
Arguably, the value of CPD has never been stronger. Because as Britain gets building again it will be the best trained, most expert professionals, and the MEP (Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing) firms who contract them, who will be most in demand.
There is a wealth of formalised HVAC-related education and training available, as promoted by organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Heating and Plumbing Engineering (CIPHE), the Chartered Institute of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE), and RIBA (the Royal Institute of British Architects).
Each has their own system for recording the differing number of points, or hours of study, needed to meet learning targets.
Those less familiar with the requirements of CPD sometimes believe that the required credits can only be achieved by participating exclusively in formal training, whether that be face-to-face or online. But that is a misconception.
Accredited activity will always form a significant proportion but the definition of what constitutes Continual Professional Development covers a much broader spectrum.
The more informal activities such attending industry related events and exhibitions can still have an important educational role, and will ‘score’ towards CPD objectives.
While the pandemic has seen the postponement this year of many HVAC exhibitions, organisers have turned to communications technology to replace them with virtual events.
Flexible CPD content
Under the Code of Professional Standards that CIPHE’s around 7,500 members must abide by, a minimum of 30 hours CPD activity a year.
The content of these hours is very flexible though. It can be up to a maximum of 30 hours on certified training courses and workshops alone, including distance learning.
But away from ‘the classroom’ other less formal activities do include attending industry related exhibitions, which will gain the participant up to a maximum of 8 CPD hours.
Also private study that adds to heating and plumbing engineering knowledge (max 8 hours). This includes reading HVAC related publications and online research, all of which is self-regulated.
Mentoring of an apprentice or trainee also qualifies (max 20 hours), as does writing published technical articles (max 15 hours for articles, or 30 for a book). So you can see there is a wide variety of ‘informal’ options.
CIBSE is, of course, the body that is recognised as setting standards for building services engineering, providing best practice advice to the industry.
It runs specific HVAC CPD courses tailored towards MEP consultants, design engineers and contractors.
These range from a three-day introduction to Mechanical Services to shorter, around half-a-day and one day sessions on topics from Practical Controls for HVAC systems to Design of Heating and Chilled Water Pipe Systems to Air Conditioning and Cooling systems.**
Conex Bänninger is listed in CIBSE’s Directory of CPD Course Providers, having achieved approval for our CPD seminar Press-fit Solutions and Materials for the Future.
The presentation, which compares the benefits of a press fitting system with that of the more traditional brazing technique, was reviewed and assessed by Institute experts, who agreed it met their criteria for a high standard of technical content.
As a leading European manufacture of plumbing fittings and accessories, we offer a range of education and training to plumbers and heating engineers, and to contractors.
Currently the majority of our education and training is online, which makes it easily accessible.
This includes a new video on our YouTube channel that explains the correct installation technique that must be used for our >B< Press range of flame-free press fittings for water and gas applications. Additionally, our e-learning course is available to air-conditioning and refrigeration engineers who wish to find out about our >B< MaxiPro press fittings that are designed for the higher pressures within ACR applications. Candidates who successfully complete the three modules qualify as a Conex Bänninger approved ACR installer and can download an e-certificate as proof. Studying either (>B< Press or >B< MaxiPro) will qualify the participant for CPD hours as they represent industry related research and upgrading of your skillset.