The advent of refrigeration and air-conditioning can be easily taken for granted, with how seamlessly it integrates and blends into everyday life, as many rely on them heavily for their daily needs.
But when these technological items eventually break down, skills related to managing, maintaining and repairing refrigerators and air-conditioners are then sought after. The young generation is striving to gain skills to not only be self-dependent but also in helping to make such repairs as a worthwhile occupation to pursue.
Some of these aspects were in complete view during a recent Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Competition, where students from the NTec and HNTec Apprenticeship in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning at the Institute of Brunei Technical Education (IBTE) Sultan Bolkiah Campus (SBC) put the skills and knowledge they had gained over the years to the four-hour test.
Two participants, Muhammad Amirul Haziq bin Haji Metussin and Muhammad Faiz bin Arman, showed tremendous promise with them being placed first and second place in the competition.
I spoke with these two aspiring youth who shared insight into what it takes to be unsung heroes that can easily be taken for granted.
Having years of experience of both learning in class and being attached on-site to gain skills and knowledge, Muhammad Faiz noted how his expertise in the field has greatly increased.
“Right now, I can install a variety of refrigeration and air-conditioning, from residential to commercial use – each of which provides its own sets of challenges,” he said.
“There are challenges when it comes to installing and maintaining these refrigeration and air-conditioning units of both residential and commercial uses, as we need to be familiar with the ins and outs of the equipment.
“We must equip ourselves with not only the knowledge and skills but also the right equipment and tools for the job at hand.”
Muhammad Amirul Haziq has a similar background in the field, having started in NTec before moving up to HNTec Apprenticeship in Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning.
With many years under his belt, he shared that he has learnt how to properly install and maintain a myriad of air-conditioning and refrigeration units.
He added that initially, there were challenges in learning the basics of the intricate craft, but over time, he was able to gain the confidence as well as the knowledge and skills he needed.
Despite this, he noted that not many are aware of the intricacy that goes into the installation and maintenance of these machineries.
As he explained, while some like split unit air-conditioning have very small parts, “once you step up to larger refrigeration units such as industrial chillers, there are more to learn and understand about how each part contributes to the overall operation”.
Both Muhammad Amirul Haziq and Muhammad Faiz expressed enthusiasm for pursuing this line of work, with Muhammad Amirul Haziq highlighting the importance for a local citizen such as himself to pursue a working role in refrigeration and air-conditioning.
“Especially in this field, there are not a lot of people pursuing this line of work. I think it is important as the growth of the local workforce in this sector can help to support the nation as a whole,” he added.
Nowadays, there are courses and programmes such as the nTec and HnTec Apprenticeship in Refrigeration and Air-conditioning that helps train and develop the local workforce.
He hopes the programme and other similar ones on offer by IBTE will help subvert expectations that people have and change their mindset as the local workforce continues to diversify into various professions.
In addition to winning first and second place in the competition, both of them were also selected to compete in the 13th WorldSkills ASEAN Competition, slated to be held in Singapore next year from July 22 to 27 at the Suntec Singapore Convention and Exhibition Centre where ASEAN youth will compete in 22 different professions and skills.
Muhammad Amirul Haziq said that while he is nervous to compete on international stage, he will continue to develop his skills in preparation for the upcoming competition.
“Insya Allah, if there are opportunities like this, I will continue to pursue them to help further hone my skills and knowledge,” he added.
Similarly, Muhammad Faiz shared that he is optimistic as he looks forward to contributing to being a part of the local workforce of the refrigeration and air-conditioning sector.