TAFE SA graduate James Errington has been named the Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) South Australia Apprentice of the Year 2021.
James says the award, which recognises the industry’s most outstanding apprentice, came as a “total surprise” but he’s delighted to be recognised among his peers.
“I knew a lot of the other nominees and I think any one of them could have won,” he says.
“I’m happy, though, because I have worked hard to be at the point I am.”
James completed a Certificate III in Air Conditioning and Refrigeration at TAFE SA’s Tonsley Campus, while working for Copper Coast Refrigeration on Yorke Peninsula.
“As a company we focus mainly on commercial refrigeration but being in a rural area we cover a wide variety of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment,” he says.
James says he enjoyed many aspects of studying at TAFE SA, including the state-of-the-art Tonsley Campus and the wealth of knowledge offered by his lecturers.
“The lecturers are easy to get along with, they have a lot of knowledge about the trade and they will answer any questions that you ask them,” he says.
“It was also good to talk to other apprentices about the jobs we encountered at work because we were all at the same stage of our training.”
While studying at Kadina High School, James knew he wanted a trades career and was fortunate to get some experience in the local area.
“I was working a part-time job after school for a couple of years and I was interested in getting into a trade and I mentioned it to one of my friends,” he says.
“He told me that his dad was looking for someone to help him out on a big job, so I jumped at the opportunity.
“After working as a trades assistant for three months he offered me an apprenticeship. I didn’t know anything about refrigeration before I started, and I hadn’t planned on getting into it but I’m glad I did.”
James says he enjoys the challenges that come with his trade, in particular the problem solving required to fix faults.
“The most rewarding part is completing a job from start to finish, especially if I am diagnosing a fault and repairing or replacing parts to get the equipment operating again,” he says.
AIRAH Apprentice Awards
AIRAH South Australia Apprentice of the Year 2021 – James Errington of M & C Hutchins
AIRAH South Australia Runner-Up Apprentice of the Year 2021 – Dylan Cox of Cold Logic
Encouragement Award – Bailey Badcoe of Polar Air Heating and Cooling
Airefrig Scholarship Award – Miller Fergusson of K & K Cooling Solutions