Nkangala TVET College Students Complete Internship Program at Enel Green Power Solar Plants

South Africa, 24th of June 2024- A group of 10 young women from Nkangala TVET College in Mpumalanga have successfully completed a six-month internship program at various Enel Green Power solar plants across South Africa. Organized by the RES4Africa Foundation within the framework of the Re-skilling Lab initiative and supported by Enel Green Power and EWSETA, this program ran from January 15 to June 15, 2024, offering these students invaluable hands-on technical experience in the booming renewable energy sector. 

The primary objective of this internship was to equip students with practical, real-world skills, giving them a competitive edge as they prepare to enter the job market. The students gained hands-on experience at Enel Green Power's solar plants: Paleisheuwel, Pulida, Adams, and Upington. This participation in a cutting-edge industry is designed to enhance their confidence and technical competence, paving the way for successful careers in renewable energy. 

On June 5, 2024, a special visit to the Paleisheuwel solar plant located in South Africa's Western Cape province was hosted by Enel Green Power and RES4Africa and was conducted by a delegation from Nkangala TVET College. The purpose of the visit was to strengthen ties and discuss the successes and challenges of the internship program. The Nkangala TVET College delegation included Acting Deputy Principal of Innovation and Development Mr. Cyril Mazibuko, Center Manager of the Top of the World Trade Test Centre Mr. Simphiwe Mzimela, and Project Manager Mrs. Elma Oosthuizen. They were joined by Enel Green Power South Africa representatives from the Operations and Communications teams, as well as the Head of People and Organization, Abigail Fidelis, Head of People & along with RES4Africa's Marianna Petrosillo, Head of Southern Africa. During the visit, the delegation had the opportunity to see firsthand the progress and accomplishments of their students, further highlighting the practical impact of the internship. 

During the visit, the delegation witnessed first-hand the progress and accomplishments of their students, emphasizing the practical impact of the internship. Discussions highlighted the program’s successes and challenges, fostering stronger ties between Nkangala TVET College and Enel Green Power. Additionally, the internship has garnered attention from the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) as a potential model to address the increasing need for renewable energy skills across South Africa.  

To assess the program's success and its impact on the students, a comprehensive survey has been launched, capturing the students' own views and feedback from their tutors. This survey aims to understand how prepared these participants feel to tackle the job market and how they can best leverage their newly acquired skills. Students provided insights into their enhanced technical abilities, increased confidence in handling solar technologies, and their readiness to engage with potential employers. Tutors evaluated the students' progress, adaptability, and overall performance during the internship. 

The success of this internship program not only benefits the students but also contributes to the broader goal of developing skilled professionals in the renewable energy industry. By providing these young women with such opportunities, we are fostering a new generation of experts who will drive the future of sustainable energy in South Africa. 

Beyond their technical training, these young women are set to play a crucial role in an awareness campaign by Nkangala TVET College. They will share their experiences to inspire and prepare future students and the local community for careers in renewable energy, emphasizing the preparation and commitment required in this field. The site manager at Paleisheuwel noted the importance of evolving tools like the students’ logbooks to accurately track the comprehensive experience gained through such internships 

"At RES4Africa, we are dedicated to empowering young talent for Africa's renewable energy future. The success of Nkangala TVET College students in this internship is a significant step in our mission to support sustainable development through education. Partnering with Enel Green Power, we are creating a model for vocational training that can be scaled across the continent. These young women are pioneers, and their achievements will inspire others and contribute to a more sustainable future for South Africa and beyond." Stated Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General at RES4Africa Foundation.  

“We are incredibly proud of our students and their accomplishments during this internship,” said Mr. Cyril Mazibuko, acting deputy principal innovation and development at Nkangala TVET College. “This experience is a testament to the importance of industry partnerships in providing our students with the practical knowledge and skills needed to succeed in their careers. We are grateful to EWSETA, RES4Africa and Enel Green Power South Africa for their unwavering support.” 

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