Mpumalanga, 28th of November, 2023– RES4Africa Foundation, in collaboration with Nkangala TVET College and the Energy & Water Sector Education Training Authority (EW SETA), marked a significant milestone with the successful completion of the end-of-year closing event for the Re-skilling Lab. Hosted at the Villa Roma Boutique Hotel in Emalahleni - South Africa, the event showcased the transformative impact of the initiative in empowering local training entities and youth with renewable energy-related training and catalyzing a paradigm shift within the community.
As part of its Southern Africa Programme, the RES4Africa Foundation gives special focus to South Africa. South Africa has ambitious goals for its energy transition, moving away from a legacy yet decaying coal sector. With this goal for the country’s energy transition, RES4Africa’s Re-skilling Lab programme targets some of the communities impacted by the decline of the coal sector by providing the skills necessary for riding the wave of the energy transition. In doing so the Southern African Programme hopes to be an active contributor and fomentor of a Just Energy Transition for the country.
Adopting a collaborative ethos, the Re-skilling Lab has been designed through a participatory working group, featuring key local entities and international players in the renewable energy sector. This dynamic platform bestowed upon the Re-skilling Lab a three-fold mandate: roll-out of TVET-based skills programs, implementation of artisan recognition of prior learning, and the creation of entrepreneurship training for the community.
A standout achievement of the Re-skilling Lab, concluding the first year of pilot project in collaboration with the Nkangala TVET College, is the successful provision of the first entrepreneurship training to the community members taught by the TVET lecturers, previously trained by the Re-skilling Lab, in collaboration with industry leaders from the RES4Africa network. Specifically tailored for qualified and unqualified Electricians and Electrical Technicians in Nkangala District, this initiative centres on PV rooftop installation and entrepreneurship fundamentals, hopefully leading to the establishment of new businesses in the area.
The end-of-year gathering was the perfect occasion to present the Re-skilling Lab pilot project’s objectives and achievements this year to all the partners that have supported the project and to outline the proposed direction for 2024. This includes not only additional training for the TVET and its students, but also 6-month on-site renewable energy internship opportunities kindly provided by Enel Green Power to 10 of the TVET learners going through the renewables study pathway designed by the Re-skilling Lab.
The closing session counted on the participation of (in order of intervention) Cain Maimela (Nkangala TVET College) Sabelo Buthelezi (DHET), Khetsiwe Dlamini (EWSETA), Lindiwe Johnson (Presidential Climate Commission), Chipo Hamukoma (GEAPP), Dana Gampel (Eskom), De Wet Taljaard (SAPVIA), Abigail Fidelis (Enel Green Power RSA), Cyril Mazibuko (Nkangala TVET), Marianna Petrosillo and Iarina Ciceu (RES4Africa Foundation).
"The Re-skilling Lab isn't just a skill acquisition hub; it's a dynamic force propelling the energy transition forward, fueled by the irreplaceable resources of human skills and intuition," stated Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4Africa Foundation "Through the empowerment of educators and the cultivation of our youth's talents, we're not just planting seeds; we're sculpting the foundation of a more sustainable future, a legacy that resonates not only in South Africa but across the entire continent."
“Nkangala TVET College strives to offer relevant skills programs by working with partners like RES4Africa for the transformation and sustainability of our society” stated Cyril Mazibuko from Nkangala TVET.
"TVETs should, by design, be responsive to changes in labour market skills requirements, this is achieved by having close links with employers, industry bodies, training authorities. I would like to thank Nkangala TVET, RES4Africa Foundation and all partners for proactively developing the talent and expertise required for the establishment, growth, and long-term sustainability of emerging green economies” commented Sabelo Buthelezi, Chief Director at the Department of Higher Education and Training.