On Monday, 6 May 2013 a special Award Ceremony was held in Touwsriver to celebrate the graduation of the 18 students who completed the first course of the South African Concentrating Photovoltaic Training Program (CPV Training Program) which was developed by Soitec Solar GmbH. The students received their certificates of basic training and are well on their way to a very promising career in the renewable energy industry.
“I am really proud of these 18 students and it shows that in any career path you are presented with a ladder which is not always easy to climb, the more effort you commit to the course the higher you climb and in the end you will reach success,” adds Dion Miller Programme Manager Engineering Studies and coordinator of the project for Northlink.
Soitec Solar is currently in the construction phase of the 36 MW CPV utility scale power plant, which it developed in Touwsrivier and which was one of the successful Round 1 Independent Power Producers under the South African Governments IPP Programme. In development of the project and in close collaboration with the University of Cape Town and Northlink College, Soitec developed the South African CPV Training Program. The program is funded by Solar GmbH and Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgeselloschaft, Germany.
The program aims at training applicants from the local community to prepare them for recruitment for employment during the construction and operations & maintenance periods of the utility scale CPV Power Plant currently being built as well as to further skills transfer in order to grow the CPV industry in the country.
The training for the program was facilitated by Mr. Johan Holtzhausen (Electrical Engineering Lecturer) and Mr. Henry Mafumba (Moderator), both from Northlink College Belhar Campus. “We looked forward to starting this project with our partners as it also presented our students the opportunity pursue a field that is in demand of such skills,” said Mr Lensing Academic Head at Belhar Campus.
The initial leg of the Training Program commenced in January this year and was focused on basic electrical training. All of the 18 candidates who participated in the first leg have successfully completed their training and are all progressing to the second leg, due which commenced this month. The second leg will include further specialised electrical and mechanical training.
The facility is located within the town of Touwsrivier, and is fully equipped with electrical training boards, workbenches, necessary equipment as well as toolkits for the students. Although access to the facility is convenient for the students, a small stipend is paid to the students on a monthly basis for either transport and/ or food during the day.
The Training Program has proven very successful and has been greatly supported by the local community. “We are very proud of this great initiative, which is adding value to lives and which also reinforces Soitec’s social commitment to the upliftment of local communities in South Africa through skills transfer,” said Kate Saunders, Soitec Solar Republic of South Africa (RSA).