IOR President, Mike Creamer FInstR, addressed members and guests at the IOR Annual Dinner, which took place in London on 30 June 2022. The speech was an opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of the refrigeration, air-conditioning and heat pump sector while focusing on future opportunities and challenges our industry will face in the coming years.

During his speech, Mike Creamer highlighted that cooling influences the quality of everyday life and is vital in so many sectors, including healthcare, defence, and catering, to name but a few.  He also pointed out that this dependency on cooling comes at a cost – our sector is currently responsible for approximately 17% of the World’s total electricity consumption, generating around 4 billion tonnes of annual CO2 emissions. With an ever-increasing demand for cooling products, innovation will be key in developing efficient systems, which will help to deliver the UK’s net-zero targets. But he emphasised that system maintenance will need to play an important part in this drive for efficiency. Mike Creamer said “Yes - Our industry produces highly sophisticated, energy-efficient products. The designers and manufacturers of these systems are to be commended. But our work cannot stop there – We must look after these systems.”

This led to the second part of his speech where he highlighted the importance of training, to ensure skilled maintenance and to fill the skills gap. He acknowledged the work of the Institute and its members in engaging with young people to promote the sector saying “We must recruit more young men and women into our fantastic industry, training them professionally, theoretically, as well as practically. That’s why the Institute has focused so much on Training & Education, Apprenticeships, Technical Documents, Good Practice Guides and much more, all produced by Members dedicated to the cause of helping others.  And the STEM Ambassador activities in schools, delivered by Institute Members, aim to inspire the hearts and minds of young people to enter our wonderful industry. We must kindle the spark of engineering enthusiasm within boys and girls at school age if we are to benefit from their skills in the future. I sincerely thank all our STEM Ambassadors for their voluntary efforts.“

He then focused on the need to attract a more diverse workforce to increase the number of people working in the RACHP sector, “This need for a greater skilled workforce is why the Institute’s Working Group, Women in Refrigeration, Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps – is so important. Just over 50% of the UK population are women and I know from experience that women are woefully underrepresented in our industry.”

He concluded his speech by suggesting the creation of a new branch of training and underpinning certification, aimed at efficiency optimisation of systems. He said, “Optimising system efficiency might be very appealing to younger men and women, joining us at the coalface, perhaps acting as a dedicated workforce with specific energy optimisation skills!”

The presidential address was also an opportunity for the IOR President to thank the Trustees, Committees and Working Groups for their great work on behalf of the whole sector and for the time they are dedicating to the IOR. He also welcomed the appointment of Graeme Fox FInstR, as the IOR’s incoming President, who will take on this role in November 2022.

Known as the original Fridge Dinner, the IOR Annual Dinner has been bringing together members and guests for the last 121 years to celebrate the RACHP industry and to support the IOR’s work in education and promoting industry standards.