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24-year-old 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 Football competition, Sunny studies a Certificate III in Air-conditioning and Refrigeration at TAFE NSW while working as an apprentice air-conditioning mechanic.

Sunny made the smart choice to enter the Refrigeration and Air Conditioning industry at a time when employment growth is forecast to increase by 7.1 per cent to 2026. [1]

“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 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 license, I love football but it’s great to also have a trade under your belt.”

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 per cent of the workforce. [2]

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 are 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,” Mr Swanson said. 

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

“Air-conditioning & 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 Air-conditioning and Refrigeration courses available at TAFE NSW, visit or call 131 601. 


Media contact: Kellie Dillon, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,