I am truly thankful for another opportunity to address you as Minister of Environment and National Beautification to mark World Refrigeration Day (WRD). WRD is recognised globally on June 26th and this year, we join together to celebrate under the theme: “Cooling Champions: Cool Careers for a Better World”.
World Refrigeration Day was designated to draw attention to the critical role that the Refrigeration, Air Conditioning (RAC) and Heat Pump Industry (i.e. both people and technologies) play in maintaining our modern way of life, which is heavily dependent on temperature-controlled environments, e.g. for ensuring food safety and food security, safeguarding public health and safety, maintenance of telecommunications, provision of employment, supporting productivity of employees in offices, cooling our beverages and other types of refreshments and preparing and producing frozen treats such as “sno-cones” and ice cream, etc. Indeed, refrigerants and RAC systems exist everywhere and play a significant role in our local and global society.
Given the RAC industry’s impacts on society and the environment, WRD has garnered global support from industry, practitioners (e.g. RAC technicians, engineers etc.), scientific and professional associations, consumers/end-users and governments, who utilise the day to highlight the industry’s significance and to advocate and support the further transformation of the industry towards cleaner, greener and more energy efficient technologies.
This year, the spotlight is being placed on the people and careers in the RAC and Heat Pump Industry that play a role in making us safer and more comfortable. They are our Cooling Champions. Examples of Cooling Champion careers include but are not limited to Mobile Air Conditioning (MAC) and RAC technicians, engineers, educators, trainers, RAC consultants, researchers, scientists, policy makers, entrepreneurs/business owners, and I am proud to be able to say that many Barbadians possess the qualifications and skills necessary to work in these careers, and are successfully doing so across the country and the world.
More than 15 million people are employed worldwide in the RAC sector and around 5 billion RAC and heat-pump systems are in operation worldwide. As the global RAC industry and national RAC sector are projected to expand, it is anticipated that this would be an ideal area that more of our nation’s youth, young professionals and even mature individuals looking to make a career change could consider as a viable and fulfilling option over the long term.
Furthermore, to our nation’s youth I say that you are talented, and you also have the ability to make a unique and valuable contribution to the RAC and Heat Pump Industry. Therefore, I encourage you to become the next generation of Cooling Champions, to pursue qualifications and skills related to the RAC and Heat Pump Industry, to explore and capitalise upon the opportunities for personal and professional growth and development that exist within the industry and importantly, seek to give back to your communities and the wider society.
My Ministry, through the work of the National Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) and Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Management Programme, remains committed to working with our Cooling Champions and to building technical capacity within the local RAC sector in a holistic manner in support of its advancement.
My Ministry will continue to work with the Customs and Excise Department and the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs to monitor, manage and enforce the Import and Export Licensing System for refrigerants that are subject to control and work with stakeholders to identify and/or verify refrigerant types and import quantities, as well as, the quantity and types of RAC equipment installed nationally to facilitate better national planning and management.
Moreover, my Ministry will also continue to provide financial support through the award of the National Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Phase-out support scholarship which is offered to students enrolled in the second year of the Diploma in RAC Programme at the Samuel Jackman Prescod Institute of Technology (SJPI). Further, initiatives to support education and awareness raising and capacity building through the provision of equipment and training and certification opportunities both locally and abroad, as appropriate, will also continue to be an important component of our work as we continue to support the transition to the use of ozone and climate friendly and energy efficient refrigerants in the local RAC sector for a cleaner and greener Barbados.
I take this opportunity to thank and celebrate all of our national Cooling Champions, and to specially acknowledge and express appreciation to all RAC educators, MAC and RAC Technicians and RAC related businesses (e.g. importers, retailers etc.) that have participated in my Ministry’s training workshops, seminars, meetings and assisted with the development and implementation of sector specific activities and policies over the years.
Happy World Refrigeration Day!
I thank you
Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, Adrian Forde