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Young women training to be wind turbine service technicians

Eyethu Mabena, from the Eastern Cape’s Cookhouse community, is one of the two young women selected to participate in a Wind Turbine Service Training (WTST) programme.

The training programme is part of a youth development joint technical training initiative between Cookhouse Wind Farm and Suzlon, the wind farm’s operations and maintenance contractor.

Twenty-five-year old Mabena is part of a cohort of eight youth all from within Cookhouse Wind Farm’s beneficiary communities, namely Cookhouse, Adelaide, Bedford, and Somerset East who is currently being trained under the stewardship of the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC). 

“This is a dream come true for me as I’ve been yearning for an opportunity to receive training in the field that I have studied. The stipend will help with transportation and rent and I will be able to send something to my family, which is a big help,” said Mabena, who is set to receive her qualification in February 2022.

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Wind turbine service technicians training includes practical work experience

The wind turbine service technicians programme trains and qualifies wind turbine service technicians for the country’s wind energy industry, over a seven month period. The participating students receive stipends for the duration of the programme and are based at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, for five months of their training. The last two months of the training, will be in the field, where they will receive practical training.

According to the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), the country needs approximately 1,700 service technicians, if the sector is to successfully deliver wind power to the national grid, in accordance with the Integrated Resource Plan. The programme will be rolled out over seven months.

“Considering that the Wind Energy industry is entering a period of exponential growth, we are positive that qualified Wind Turbine Service Technicians will be in demand, making this an ideal opportunity for our communities’ youth, especially as the role of these specialist technicians begins during the busy construction phase of a wind farm and continues up through the commissioning, operation, repairs and maintenance of wind turbines,” explained Tshepo Kgoloane, Community Operations Manager for Cookhouse Wind Farm.

Wind turbine service technicians are responsible for the service, maintenance, and repair of wind turbines. They inspect, diagnose and maintain, adjust or repair wind turbines, resolving electrical and mechanical malfunctions. They are able to work at heights in all weather conditions, including extreme cold and heat, for extended periods. Wind turbine technicians must be capable of working closely with other individuals.

The course outline includes wind energy technology; health and safety; wind turbine electrics; wind turbine mechanics; hydraulics; rotor blade repair; and control systems.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.