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Sunny Jet is kicking goals through TAFE NSW

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Sunny Franco is now in her fourth year of balancing a refrigeration and air-conditioning apprenticeship with her semi-professional football career with the Newcastle Jets.

When she’s not competing in the national women’s competition, she studies a Certificate III in Air-conditioning and Refrigeration at TAFE NSW while working as an apprentice mechanic.

The 24-year-old made the smart choice to enter the industry at a time when employment growth was forecast to increase by 7.1% up to 2026.

“Juggling my apprenticeship and sporting career has its challenges with travel and training schedules, but I have a great employer, Airmaster, who is very accommodating,” Sunny said.

“Entering the air-conditioning trade is something I’ve always wanted to do.

“My dad is in the industry and it’s a job where I can work outdoors and every day is different is perfect for me.

“My TAFE NSW teachers are great and I learn a lot of practical skills, such as system fault-finding, that I apply directly in the workplace.

“I’m aiming to eventually get my electrical licence, I love football but it’s great to also have a trade under your belt.”

Newcastle Jets star Sunny Franco.

Sunny is also filling a growing need for more females in the heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC&R) industry, with females making up only 17% of the workforce.

TAFE NSW head teacher of HVAC&R Grant Swanson said air-conditioning and refrigeration professionals cover both electrical and mechanical areas, so careers in the industry were unique and varied.

“Education and training enable athletes like Sunny to learn, thrive and contribute to the community during their time in sport and life afterwards,” he explained.

“It’s a perfect time for her to enter the industry, with the residential air-conditioning market growing steadily and the commercial refrigeration sector experiencing skills shortages.

“Air-conditioning and refrigeration courses at TAFE NSW are a great pathway to build a long-term career in a versatile industry with interesting work, strong wages and plenty of job opportunities.”

To find out more about the courses available at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or phone 131 601.

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