South African Wind Internship Programme Signals Energy Sector Growth

  • The second Wind Industry Internship Programme (WIIP) has announced that it will double its placements for 2023 and offer supplementary work readiness training for the first time. 
  • The programme supports the development of specialist skills needed to facilitate the exponential growth of the industry, to support the country’s growth.

Funded primarily by the Energy and Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSETA), in partnership with the South Africa Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), the programme is expected to place 35 interns, selected from over 90 applications, this year.  These interns are being placed across approximately 30 renewable energy companies – illustrating a growth of over 100% in just one year.

“We are encouraged by the uptake of this programme and huge increase of placements, knowing that young professionals are being absorbed by our sector and are receiving the mentorship and practical experience that they need,” said Niveshen Govender, CEO of SAWEA.

The WIIP provides 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.

This year, for the first time, the programme will include a 10-day work readiness training segment facilitated by an external service provider, that will coach the graduates in the soft skills necessary to enter the workplace, for example, email etiquette, communication, working as a team etc. Whilst the WIIP provides capacity building for the students, it equally benefits the commercial wind power industry seeking to source qualified students specialized in various professional fields.

“Equally important, the programme is recognized as a major contributor to social, environmental and economic security in the country,” explained Govender.

The demand for qualified and skilled talent is growing and the South African industry, like its international counterparts, needs a rising pool of qualified candidates to draw from.

SAWEA anticipates jobs in manufacturing, logistics, finance, construction, and operational phases becoming available as Bid Window 5 and Bid Window 6 projects come online. 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.

The wind industry has diverse skills requirements; with the focus areas of this programme being on the following broad skills areas:

  • Engineering: Energy, Electrical, Mechanical, Chemical, Industrial, Civil etc.
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics (Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics and Environmental Sciences.
  • Administration and Management (Accounting, Business Administration, Finance, Procurement, Human Resource Management)
  • Social Sciences/Humanities (Economics, Gender, International Relations, Communication, Population Studies, Law)
  • Information Technology (Computer Science, Management Information Systems, Multimedia Web Design, Software Engineering)

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: SAWEA

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