Renewable Energy Technology is not just for boys, it’s for girls too!

Written by: Tanja Merensky-Hartinger

South Africa is on a journey towards large-scale deployment of renewable energy (RE) technologies. The South African Government has committed itself to investing in its green economy, particularly in renewable energy.                 Nearly 300 000 new jobs, related to climate and the environment, are expected to be created by 2020.

The onus is now on skills development in renewable energy technologies to ensure that a sufficiently large, educated and gender-balanced workforce is available to lead the renewable energy revolution in the country. The Skills for Green Jobs Programme (S4GJ) is an initiative between the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) as well as GIZ on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The Programme jointly developed and implemented a new three-year NC(V) subject Renewable Energy Technologies (RET). RET has to date been rolled out in nine TVET colleges at 11 campuses in five provinces across South Africa. The subject is currently in its second year of implementation. So far more than a thousand male and female students have successfully enrolled to study RET at their respective colleges. Great care is being taken to attract both male and female students to this new subject to ensure that in the end, women can benefit in the same ways as men from the newly created job opportunities in the green sector.

Below you will find a link to a short video which the S4GJ Programme created for the United Nations’ event ‘60th Session of the Commission of the Status of Women’ in New York. The film was screened at the “Women’s Empowerment in Sustainable Development” side event initiated by Global Compact, which took place on 17 March 2016.

The video message illustrates the approach the S4GJ Programme is taking: It creates awareness around renewable energy technologies through for example the green college initiative. Also, students gain valuable knowledge and competencies in the field of renewable energy technologies through their studies of RET. This greatly increases students’ employability within the green job market. Lastly, the creation of apprenticeships forms the basis for RET implementation in the electrical and plumbing industry. The practical knowledge gained will also greatly improve apprentices’ chances of finding employment.

The Programme thus focuses on enhancing green skills development for both women and men, improving their employability, while also increasing the demand for green skills in the South African labour market.

Enjoy the video!