In South Africa, renewable power company Globeleq South Africa, has recently launched a skills development programme to help meet the demand within the industry for qualified engineers.
The renewable energy and engineering sectors have received a boost through this scholarship programme, which has seen over ZAR2 million ($164,000) invested to develop young engineering students for this nascent energy industry.
Closing the renewable energy skills gap
Managing director of Globeleq South Africa Management Services, Mark Pickering explained:”It is our hope that through this programme we will not only be able to create a skills pipeline for our organisation, but also support and contribute to the industry and the country as a whole.”
This scholarship programme enables aspirant engineers from around the country to acquire the qualifications and skills demanded by this budding sector, particularly in the field of mechatronics – an inter-disciplinary field, combining traditional electrical, electronic, mechanical, control and computer engineering skills.
According to Pickering: “The recent announcement by the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, concerning the addition of 6,300MW to the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme, means that there will be an increasing need for qualified specialist engineers now and into the future.”
Students receive assistance to achieve
The financial investment covers students’ tuition, daily living expenses and learning expenses such as books and materials.
In 2014, the company initiated the programme nationally through universities offering mechatronics, namely:
- Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University
- Tshwane University of Technology
- University of Stellenbosch
- University of Cape Town
- Cape Peninsula University of Technology
Twenty-five beneficiaries were selected for the scholarship from over 150 applications received.
Internship programme applies knowledge
A selection from the group of students will have the opportunity to apply what they have learnt through a 12-month on-site internship as the scholarship includes a service obligation.
The next round for scholarships will be made available through the identified universities in September 2015 for students who are in their second year of mechatronic studies.
“With the growing demand for electricity in South Africa and on the continent, we would like to play our part in helping to provide more qualified and skilled engineers”, concluded Pickering.
Globeleq is currently the management services company of the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, Droogfontein Solar Power Plant and De Aar Solar Power Plant in South Africa.