Skilled refrigeration and air conditioning technology workers in Iran

The "Climate Competence IRAN" project provides training for teaching staff

Training scene in a workshop

Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are required to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If Iran is to fulfil its obligations in this regard, the country will need skilled workers with the right competences. A switch to new and more environmentally friendly refrigerants is also scheduled to take place in just a few years' time. Relevant training programmes are currently being developed and didactically prepared within the scope of a project aimed at the Iranian market. Climate Competence IRAN (CC IRAN) is a joint German-Iranian vocational education and training partnership for the establishment of new training structures in refrigeration and air conditioning technology in Iran.

Work is taking place in conjunction with Iranian partners with the objective of achieving an improvement in the training and continuing education of Iranians employed in the refrigeration and air conditioning technology sector by imparting current technical and didactic expertise. Certification of the learning modules in accordance with international standards is a further declared goal of the project. The programme was launched on 1 August 2017 and is scheduled to run for a term of three years. Funding has been provided by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

Prerequisites for economically sustainable cooperation

The project involves the provision of continuing education to local teaching staff, the development of seminars, curricula and materials together with the Iranian teachers and the piloting of programmes in apprentice workshops and at selected companies. This is all taking place in pursuit of several aims. The first objective is to enable the Iranian partner institutions to take a step-by-step approach towards acquiring professional competences and knowledge in the field of refrigeration technology within the context of the dual system and then to adapt this expertise to suit their own requirements. Such an approach is being pursued with a view to creating prerequisites for economically sustainable cooperation between the members of the project consortium and the Iranian partner institutions that will extend beyond the funding period. A further aim is to open up opportunities for the export of technology and procedures via German companies by aligning learning contents to an ecological and environmentally friendly way of doing business and by including practical demonstrations of suitable technologies.

The project consortium comprises the Institute for Training and Careers (GBB), the Information Centre for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Energy Technology (IKKE gGmbH) and the Institute for Innovative and Preventive Job Design (FIAP e. V.). The cooperation partners on the Iranian side are the Technical and Vocational Training Organisation (TVTO), the Technical and Vocational University (TVU), the Iranian Construction Engineering Organisation (IRCEO) and the Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University (SRTTU).

Transferability of training standards

The first training sessions provided by the CC Iran project took the form of presentations and chaired events and were staged in Teheran at the end of February 2019. Between 20 and 40 interested experts from the Iranian project partner organisations attended each of the four conferences. The main focus of the training measures was on the standards which apply within the refrigeration technology sector in the European Union and in Germany in particular. Special emphasis was placed on environmental policy in the area of refrigeration and air conditioning engineering, on the energy efficiency of refrigeration plants and on presenting the "Real Alternatives 4 Life" pilot project. The latter is a blended learning programme on the use of alternative refrigerants. Discussions centred on the issue of how the training standards applicable in Germany and Europe could possibly be transferred to Iran in a useful way.

In September 2019, 24 Iranian teachers completed a 14-day training course at the IKKE in Duisburg. A further 24 important decision makers from the country participated in a one-week programme at the same company. The IKKE is a not-for-profit organisation which has acted as a training and continuing education centre since 2007. It is currently in charge of the training of more than 650 aspiring skilled workers. As well as providing inter-company training, the IKKE also offers full-time and part-time master craftsman courses (in which more than 70 pupils are currently participating) and a host of other teaching programmes, some of which are delivered in cooperation with leading manufacturers in the refrigeration technology sector. Continuing education seminars and courses are held on a regular basis to support specialist firms in keeping the knowledge of their staff up to date. The IKKE also acts as a guidance centre and certification body.

During the training programme they attended, the participants from Iran were given a theoretical and practical introduction to modern German plant engineering and to the current standards that apply. The intention is that an agreement scheduled to be signed next year will lay the foundations for the establishment of a new training academy in Iran. The plan then is for teachers who have obtained qualifications within the scope of the project to train other skilled workers at this academy and thus consolidate the success that has been achieved.

Over the past few years, the IKKE has already been engaged at an international level within the scope of European VET projects on several occasions. Comprehensive learning and training materials for providers of refrigeration and air conditioning technology have been drawn up. Results have also been used to inform European standards and ordinances. The IKKE has also had a material impact on redefining the occupation of refrigeration technician at a European level by twice helping to organise the EU Skills Competition from AREA (European association of refrigeration, air conditioning and heat pump contractors). The work that has been conducted as part of these European projects has led to major involvement in both the WorldSkills and EuroSkills competitions. German participants undergo training at the IKKE and have gone on to win several gold medals in the refrigeration engineering category. Since 2016, the IKKE has been certified as the official WorldSkills Germany Federal Centre of Excellence for occupations involving refrigeration and air conditioning engineering.

At an international level, the IKKE strives to engage in networking and mutual training measures. Numerous existing contacts have been expanded and vigorously pursued. The IKKE also acts as a sponsor to the Open Trade Training Centre (OTTC) in Johannesburg (South Africa), with which it networks extensively at a technical level. Cooperation and collaboration agreements have been concluded with the Arabic Academy of Science in Alexandria (Egypt) and the University of Nanjing (China).

Statements from the participants

The Iranian teachers answered four questions about qualification in refrigeration and air-conditioning technology at IKKE, the Information Centre for Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Energy Technology in Duisburg. Read some quotes from the Iranian participants.

Climate Competence IRAN (CC IRAN)