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Getting to know an installer and repairer

WE ALL appreciate air-conditioning and refrigeration during the hot summer months, but have you ever thought about pursuing a career in this field?

Danny Rairane is a senior technician in air-conditioning and refrigeration at the Ifihlile Aircon Corporation.

Rairane heard about a career in air-conditioning and refrigeration when he was looking for a job, and decided to give it a shot.

He underwent technical training in this field at the Ifihlile Training Academy and became a senior technician.

Today he has ambitions of eventually starting his own air-conditioning and refrigeration business.

This career involves the installation, repair, inspection and servicing of commercial and industrial refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment.

Rairane also compiles quotations for clients and supervises students. His workdays are frequently long, often extending beyond regular office hours if there is a lot of work to be done.

He installs and repairs air-con units in a variety of locations, such as houses, factories, offices and hospitals; and fixes refrigerators in houses, restaurants and retailers.

To become a senior technician, you must have good leadership skills when working with a team, and good communication skills for successful relationships with your team and your clients.

As Ifihlile also has a training academy, senior technicians often supervise students during their practical training.

Rairane says one needs a lot of patience and tolerance for this task.

Physically, you also need to be quite strong, as the air-con units can be extremely heavy and the technicians have to work in teams to successfully complete an successful installation.

Industrial air-conditioning units designed for factories and large buildings can weigh as much as 180kg.

Once, when they were installing a large unit, it was too heavy for the wall and it fell on one of Rairane's colleagues, causing serious injury.

Work conditions can often be dirty, hot, stressful and tiring.

Rairane says this job is rewarding, when he knows that he's done a job well and that the client is satisfied.

Frequently, however, finishing a workday late at night and dealing with comebacks and customer complaints, make the job less satisfying.

If you're interested in a career in air-conditioning or refrigeration, you first need to have completed matric with maths and science.

You can then study in this field at the Ifihlile Training Academy, which is located in Midrand, adjacent to the Ifihlile Head Office.

There is also an academy in Durban.

Technical training in air-conditioning and refrigeration is offered at NQF Levels 2 and 3 in National Certification.

The course runs over 24-months and includes theoretical and practical work.

During this course, you will learn about basic hand skills, basic electrical and refrigeration, air-conditioning, cold-freezer rooms, chillers, package units and welding.

You can then complete Level 4, a six-month course - the required qualification for becoming a full air-conditioning and refrigeration technician.

This will entitle you to supervise work teams, do installations, and repair-service and maintain mechanical-electrical equipment and air-conditioning, refrigeration and ventilation systems, as well as cold rooms and freezers.

With this qualification you can expect to make about R21000 a month as a senior technician.

Rairane's advice for the youth is: "Focus completely on everything you do.

"IAt the end of the day, it's your life." - sacareerfocus.co.za

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