Young TVET artisans off to China for training in renewable energy

South Africa’s young and newest artisans are at the forefront of an innovative programme to position technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges as production lines for manufacturing renewable energy components.

A total of 54 newly minted artisans from six colleges around the country will take part in a 12-month skills development programme in China. The Just Energy Transition Learner and Lecturer Development Support Programme was launched on May 31 in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.

Partnership led by energy SETA

Six TVET college lecturers will also be part of the programme. The programme is a partnership led by the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (EWSeta) and the Chinese Culture and International Education Exchange Centre (CCIEEC).

EWSeta CEO Mpho Mookapele said through the programme, artisans and lecturers will be exposed various key items. These are high-quality trainers, curriculum development, exchange programmes and research. He said this will benefit the individuals and South Africa’s power supply capacity. Also economic recovery and skills development.

“In the long term, the development of renewable energy production lines within TVET colleges will ensure added revenue streams. This because the manufacturing of solar panels, inverters and lithium batteries will be done locally. These will be for the identified colleges and South Africa’s global competitiveness in a market dominated by China,” he said.

Ensure world-class skills

He said the production lines will grow the TVET college capacity to provide practical experience opportunities to students. They will also ensure that the quality of renewable energy skills coming out of TVET colleges will be world-class.

“From a skills development perspective, the programme will address critical skill shortages in renewable energy and other sectors. [[It will also] prepare students and educators for emerging technologies and industries,” he said.

The participating colleges are Elangeni in KwaZulu-Natal, Vhembe in Limpopo and Ingwe in the Eastern Cape. Also Northern Cape Rural and South West Gauteng and Westco in Gauteng.

CCIEEC general manager Dr Zhilei Lu said the programme will strengthen educational ties between South Africa and China. It will also facilitate cultural exchange and mutual understanding, Lu said.

The first group of 45 artisans and one lecture will leave for China on June 10. The remainder, nine artisans and one lecturer will depart for China at the end of June.

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