With the aim of encouraging young professionals to join the energy sector, the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Energy and Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSETA). SAWEA subsequently submitted an application through the discretionary grant to EWSETA, to support their Wind Industry Internship Programme (WIIP).
The WIIP will provide young professionals who have recently completed a degree or those undertaking graduate programmes, with the opportunity to gain practical work experience in line with their studies or interests, whilst exposing them to works related to sustainable energy solutions.
Whilst the WIIP provides capacity building for the students, it will equally benefit the wind power sector, who seek to source qualified students specialized in various professional fields. “This programme will also enable SAWEA to deliver on its ambitions of developing a thriving commercial wind power industry that is recognized as a major contributor to social, environmental and economic security in South Africa,” explained Lindo Sibiya, Programmes Manager for SAWEA.
Looking beyond the borders of South Africa, Sibiya explains that the aim of the WIIP is not only to provide students with the opportunity to acquire and develop skills in the domestic market, but also in the international wind energy environment.
Growing demand for skilled talent in SA’s renewables sector
As the country embarks on a period of exponential renewable energy procurement, the demand for qualified and skilled talent is growing. Hence, the programme will look to satisfy the sector’s need for a rising pool of qualified potential candidates in the very near future.
SAWEA anticipates jobs in manufacturing, logistics, finance, construction, and operational phases becoming available as Bid Window 5 and subsequent bidding rounds roll out. These comprise of professional services, business services and sales. Requirements include, engineering, project management, project development, and skills in environmental authorizations, amongst others. Direct jobs can already be seen through the employment drives that have been undertaken by various companies operating in the renewables sector.
“So, as we gear up for this period of growth, we also look to the WIIP to enhance the visibility of the South African wind industry and its local skills development activities, whilst helping to achieve energy transformation imperatives, particularly on gender, race and youth,” concluded Sibiya.