Mike CreamerIOR President, Mike Creamer, FInstR, addressed Members as part of the IOR’s Cool Careers for World Refrigeration Day this year, as below


The Institute clearly recognises the fact that we have a critically important need for more skilled men and women in our industry sector. I’ve personally been very aware of this situation for the last 30 years and that is why I’ve dedicated so much of my time and effort toward the training and certification of competent Engineers. But the need is now greater than ever before.

Young people about to leave school have many career choices available to them and if we do not make them aware of the excellent career opportunities and the variety that our air conditioning, refrigeration and heat pump sector has to offer, we will lose them to other industries. Hence the tremendous efforts being made via the STEM programme – STEM standing for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, all of which are essential underpinning components to our sector.

The IOR Women in RACHP Group held a “Women in Engineering Day” on 23rd June, with this year’s theme being “Engineering Heroes”.  In my long career I’ve had the opportunity of working with women Engineers in electronic engineering, quality control and building services. Given the industry shortage of engineers across the wide range of skills and job roles, it’s obvious that more women in our industry can help us solve our skills dilemma. I’d like to see more women involved in design, project management, product development and manufacturing. I’ve seen women manufacturing critical electronic components and diligently brazing heat exchanger coils.  

We should remember that diligent women constructed our very complex Spitfire wings.  And Katherine Johnson was a NASA mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics were critical to the success of the early US space flights.  Dorothy Vaughan was the Supervisor of West Area Computers, NACA in 1949, which became NASA.  So, just think how much women might be doing in our vast industry!  The question is – How do we find them?

In order to underpin our expanding industry, we must provide the essential education and training to our young Engineers of the future, enabling then to carve out interesting, exciting and rewarding careers in air conditioning and refrigeration, whilst doing their best to protect our planet’s environmental future.


And we need as many of you, young Engineers as we can get if we are to deliver efficient cooling and refrigeration to the world. Humankind is highly reliant on cooling and refrigeration. So, given we cannot do without it, let’s at least make sure all our systems are as technically advanced and as efficient as possible by developing highly skilled air conditioning and refrigeration Engineers! 


It’s estimated there are 5 billion air-conditioning and heat pump systems and 15 million people in our industry across the world. Add to that the colossal number of installed refrigeration systems!  Accordingly, our industry requires well-trained, skilled, and Certified Engineers. And we need thousands of you! Both men and women!  This is why technical training, reinforced by practical skills, is so critically important to our future.


Some of you may ask “What are the career opportunities within our RACHP Industry?” Well, the opportunities include Design Engineer, Service Engineer, Field Technician, R&D Engineer, Commissioning Engineer, Controls Engineer, BMS Engineer, Software Engineer, Applications Engineer, Sales Engineer and more! Note the emphasis on “Engineer”. 


You may eventually become a Supervisor, Manager or a Director specialising in any of these disciplines and perhaps ultimately start your own Air Conditioning & Refrigeration Company!


From the start of my 2-year tenure as President of the IOR, I’ve had very clear Institute objectives in mind, and I’m delighted to tell you that out of a list of eight possible priorities, the IOR Members voted the top four, all of which closely align with my own.   You can see the Top Priorities listed here and there is great emphasis on education and training, the key that unlocks the door to great and exciting careers in our industry:


  1. Leadership in Education – supporting trainers, employers and apprentices
  2. Promoting our industry to schools and young people
  3. Setting the environmental agenda for our sector to achieve net-zero
  4. Supporting students, technicians, young persons and members


What are IOR Members doing to address this?  In order to meet the Top Priorities, we have:


  • Working Groups – on Apprenticeships, Design Engineers, Operative Training
  • Networks – for STEM Ambassadors, young members, employers offering work experience and the Engineering Council
  • Education Guidance Notes – on working in schools, CPD, skills road maps and apprenticeships
  • PR and Publicity – articles, news and profiles of students, competition winners and importance of training, Beyond Refrigeration work

Naturally, in order to become fully capable and competent Engineer, one must also build up experience, especially given the wide array of engineering skills that one requires in air conditioning, refrigeration and now, heat pump technology.  I’ve been a Member of the Institute since 1984 and in those 37 years, this wonderful Institute has been a great asset to my career, with me accumulating most of the Institute Technical Papers and data, which has proven so useful to me.  It’s my hope that you will use the Institute to help you as you pass through your air conditioning and refrigeration career.

Whilst I have added many strings to my bow of activities, I am still wholly dedicated to passing on the essential technical knowledge and practical skills to both experienced and new Engineers entering our profession. 31 years on and we’re still training and certifying Engineers in the essential disciplines!

There is so much to enjoy and learn within this wonderful industry, including mechanics, thermodynamics, electrical engineering, psychrometrics, fluid flow, refrigerants, compressors, heat exchangers, control devices, electronics, software engineering, air movement, pipework, pumps and much more!  Indeed, as it’s frankly impossible to learn it all and to know everything, you certainly won’t be bored!

And there are so many applications for our industry to serve, including food production and preservation, pharmaceuticals, warships, hotels, office buildings, cinemas, hospitals, laboratories, and even nuclear power stations!  You’ll find yourself involved with so much variety, your career will always be interesting and enjoyable! 

If you like calculations, there’s more than enough to learn. If you enjoy using your hands, there are so many practical skills to choose from. 

Or like me, you may want to aim yourself at the critically important reduction of our energy consumption as we work toward the goal of net-zero for the well-being of our planet, Earth.  

You may know that more than 17% of global energy is consumed by cooling and refrigeration. We are also heading for a substantial increase in heat pump installations at the domestic level. Fortunately, heat pumps are 3 to 4 times more efficient than gas and oil-fired boilers, and so we should see a substantial reduction in emissions and global warming.

This is why one of the Institute Working Groups, headed by Professor Graeme Maidment, has been working hard to set out every possible means of reducing the energy consumption and global warming impact of our RACHP systems.  Consequently, we are going to need a massive increase in the number of capable Engineers to install, service and maintain our ever-increasing base of installed equipment and systems.

And we need more Design Engineers to develop products and to design energy efficient installations.   Indeed, this is why another Institute Working Group is developing an Employers Specification setting out the essential skills and requirements for Design Engineers. 

I take this opportunity to give thanks for the hard work and input from all the Members who’ve contributed so much to all our Working Groups.

This year’s World Refrigeration Day theme is “Cooling Champions - Cool Careers for a better World” and celebrates the people and careers that underpin our industry.  The IOR has been fully supportive of this great initiative and will continue to support it into the future, especially given the worldwide awareness that WRD is generating for our vital industry.