Learning and development
Awarded to the organisation that demonstrates how its learning and development initiative has improved the understanding of building performance within an organisation and/or the wider built environment, including applied research initiatives from academia.
Winner: HVAC Centre of Excellence - Air Conditioning and Mechanical Contractors' Association and Holmesglen
‘This is an outstanding dedication to training and upskilling. The industry skills shortage is shouting out for initiatives like this.’ So said the judging panel after naming AMCA’s HVAC Centre of Excellence the winner of this award.
The Australia-based centre – created through a partnership with Holmesglen, and with input and support from HVAC businesses and the Government of Victoria – was established to address the shortage in mechanical services plumbing professionals.
It is the first HVAC training centre to offer applied learning, and brings together industry, education and government.
Using simulation and replication of entire systems found in today’s buildings, the centre upskills existing technicians and trains tomorrow’s mechanical services professionals using the latest technologies.
It comprises a fully operational clean-room facility, controlling temperature and humidity to precision; medical gas systems; hydraulic, ducted and split heating and cooling systems; an entire boiler room set-up; air handling units; and a computer laboratory for BIM and augmented reality applications.
Offering a much-needed pathway to National Environmental Balancing Bureau (NEBB) certification, the centre has increased the visibility of HVAC as a viable and rewarding career. It is also a platform from which to address the current and future education and training needs of the industry, increasing the number and quality of apprentices, improving employees’ green skills, and catering for ongoing development of industry skills.
In addition, the centre will offer opportunities for applied research, and it has already been approached by universities to work collaboratively on projects to create new innovations and advancements in the HVAC industry.
The judges said it had been a diverse category – with a broad focus on upskilling the industry and disseminating good practice – but they had been swayed by AMCA’s commitment to commissioning through collaboration with multidisciplinary stakeholders.
Book 'Building Performance Analysis' by Pieter de Wilde - University of Plymouth
Energy Behavioural Change - Marks and Spencer
The Biophilic Classroom, Putney High School, GDST (Girls' Day School Trust), The Value of Nature in a Learning Environment - RCZM Sustainable Design, Performance + Analysis and Reading University
The 'Future Offices: Next-Generation Workplace Design' book - AECOM