In the third interview with Trailblazer Apprentices, the IOR talked to Rhys Peart, who is now studying marine engineering at Warsash Maritime School.

When I talked to Rhys he had just moved from being a refrigeration engineer into marine engineering.  He talked enthusiastically about how the skills he developed as part of his apprenticeship have helped him to transition into this career which was a lifelong ambition for him.  

“Nothing compares to studying refrigeration,” he says. “The balance between theoretical and practical knowledge, the hands-on work, the troubleshooting and problem solving”. He credits his career to date and his enjoyment of his job to what he learned during his apprenticeship at Channicool training services. “Understanding the theory behind what I was doing broadened the possibilities and solutions for me, the science behind it all has been important to my overall understanding of refrigeration”.

His college tutor confirms that Rhys was a model student “His attitude towards learning and his peers was exceptional. He was always keen to push his own boundaries of learning and help others when they need it. His written work was always presented in a professional manner and every detail was fully explained. He has the ability to do work to industry standards in minimal time and to work through problems and faults both logically and professionally. He was always one of the first in the class to complete any practical task I set him. He passed all exams and his end point assessment.” said Andrew Channon.

One of the things that drew Rhys to the industry is the people that he worked with. “Although the focus was on becoming an advanced refrigeration engineer, the hardworking and grounded people around me made the course, and I think, makes the industry what it is today. We are part of a tight-knit community of individuals who actually enjoy each other’s company and are willing to help each other out. That is hard to come by and why I feel lucky to have experienced this.”

He completed his apprenticeship with Meridian Cooling where his supervisor Aaron Claydon was quick to identify his potentialAlthough Rhys was employed as an improver in my team, he quickly became an employee I could trust in and rely upon to get the job done. I’ve always put a premium on quality among my team members and Rhys never failed to deliver.”


Nowadays Rhys is pursuing his studies with a new career within the Merchant Navy as a trainee Marine Engineer.  He works for a container company, where he has to apply his theory-based learning in a practical setting.  His current plan is to absorb as much information as he can before he sits on his final exams next year. He shared a great example of the kind of new challenges he is now facing “On my last contract at sea, undergoing regular maintenance of all systems was my role and assisting the senior engineers. The ship's compressors cut out on HP due to a blocked condenser. This differs from the land-based systems where air cools the condenser, onboard seawater replaces the air. With my background knowledge, I was able to identify the issue and clean the condenser inlet filter, resolving the issue quickly.”

Rhys sets very high standards for himself and for his future career.  He is looking forward to the day that he qualifies as a Marine Engineer. “I aspire to feel comfortable with every challenge and understand the role, not only from a have-to perspective but from a want-to perspective, finding resolutions specific to the issues to ensure the best system operation”. 

His advice to anyone considering a career in refrigeration is to understand the career options and avenues available to them because refrigeration can become a pathway to a multitude of different careers. He believes firmly that the skills associated with refrigeration are lifelong and beneficial to any line of work, due to the need to be active in problem-solving and have a strong work ethos when carrying out even daily tasks.

“The attributes of a good technician,” he says “include discipline, hard work, being compassionate, intellectual and using one’s initiative.”  These are the attributes that he says he learned from his father who was a Chief Refrigeration engineer onboard Princess Cruises and is now a senior Refrigeration superintendent. “He always encouraged my fascination in refrigeration,” says Rhys. 

A little encouragement can go a long way.

The article is available in the December issue of RAC Magazine.