EWSETA introduces specialised training for renewable energy and water management

This was revealed during a media engagement with the organisation in Rosebank, Johannesburg yesterday.

EWSETA Chief Executive Officer, Mpho Mookapele, engaged the media on the back of growing research that macroeconomic trends and technological advancements continue to disrupt labour markets worldwide. Mookapele highlighted some of the courses implemented by the organisation and others currently in the pipeline, including water works management, solar panel installation, wind turbine maintenance and other green energy solutions, among others.

She said as the energy sector is rapidly evolving the EWSETA is currently developing qualifications that will respond to the gaps in the curriculum. The skills programmes that will be introduced include wind turbine operation, biogas installation, microgrid and battery energy storage operation, solar PV manufacture, design, and installation.

“When the sector needs certain skills, we are committed to working together with industry to build these capabilities. Ultimately, we exist to ensure industries are successful.

“As such, we aim to move with agility to ensure that these programmes and qualifications are concluded and submitted for registration with Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO) and South African Qualification South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA),” Mookapele said.

She said due to the boom in the photovoltaic sector and more people going solar, the SETA is also currently working with industry to ensure that minimum skills requirements are mandated for the PV Green Card training – a quality assurance standard for solar PV installers.

These minimum requirements will hopefully mitigate against substandard installations.

Mookapela said the EWSETA is looking for partners to enable retro-fitting technical workshops for TVET colleges to ensure that they are responding to the tech-developments in the industry.

Developing water-related qualifications

The EWSETA has also partnered with water boards, including municipalities and private industries, to develop water-related qualifications that aim to address the challenges around clean drinking water and wastewater treatment plants.

“In response to the evolving water landscape, a Water Works Management NQF 6 qualification has been registered. EWSETA is in the process of developing a Water Resource Management qualification at NQF level 8 and a skills programme for a Water Conservation Practitioner,” she said.

Advances in water treatment processes will necessitate the development of qualifications that will respond to the future treatment landscape, and these include biological water treatment and smart water grids, amongst others.

“As the world transitions to net zero, the traditional career landscape is changing, and it is up to all of us to future-proof our workforce. The Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority is taking strides to harness the opportunities that these exciting changes present,” Mookapele said.

Skills development initiatives

Meanwhile, Mookapele underscored the importance for businesses to share their skills plans with the EWSETA to enable the organisation to capacitate learners accordingly.

Investing in skills development secures the long-term sustainability of industries and contributes to economic resilience.

“Together with government and private entities we are collaborating to fast-track skills development initiatives that seek to upskill and reskill employees to meet the workforce demands of the changing energy and water sectors,” Mookapele said.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) last year revealed that 4.7 million more people were employed in clean energy globally in 2022 than in 2019.

Mookapele noted that concerns around the “green skills gap” have been echoed by a recent report from LinkedIn, which shows that only 1 in 8 employees globally possess one or more green skills.

“We don’t want to leave South Africa’s young people and workforce behind; it is important for businesses to share their skills plans with us, so that we can capacitate learners accordingly,” she said.

EWSETA’s mandate is to participate, build and strategically plan and manage skills development, and training needs in the energy and water sectors, as directed by the National Skills Development Plan 2030.

Source: SAnews.gov.za 

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