Solar needs technical experts

Although solar is viewed as a solution for future electricity, its current implementation is hampered by a lack of skilled technicians for installation and maintenance.
Helping to close this skills gap, the Namibian and the German Governments decided to cooperate in the area of Technical and Vocational Education and Training. An agreement was reached on the “Promotion of Vocational Education and Training” project and then jointly implemented by the Namibia Training Authority (NTA) and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).
One of the project objectives is to develop and implement training programmes in the area of renewable energy.
“This is a milestone in our joint efforts to promote vocational training in Namibia. A training for skills which meets the demands of the industry and the potential of this country. Where, if not in the field of renewable energy, this potential is more than evident!”, the German Ambassador, HE Christian Schlaga, said at the official handover of one of six renewable energy installations that will be used to train Solar Maintenance and Installation technicians.
Over the past three months these installations, a small wooden bungalow with a photovoltaic and solar warm water system on top, were set up at the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology Arandis campus, Valombola VTC, Zambezi VTC, Rundu VTC, Eenhana VTC and Windhoek VTC.
The planning as well as the building and installation works for these solar huts were carried out by Namibian VET instructors to help them with project planning skills and to make them familiar with the new solar technology. The instructors came from the Namibia Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT), KAYEC, Monitronics Success College and the VTCs in Windhoek, Katima, Rundu, Okakarara, Valombola and Eenhana.
The project, called “Etango” is part of the training of trainers project, which will lead to qualified trainers and instructors when it comes to the rollout of the new training programme. Implementation is planned for the second quarter of 2017.
The NTA, supported by ProVET, developed the qualifications and related unit standards on Solar Equipment Installation and Maintenance from level 1 up to level 5. Course material was prepared as a collaboration between the University of Science and Technology (NUST), KAYEC, SolarAge, Sol Square and the Ministry of Mines and Energy. The unit standards and qualifications are currently under review by the Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) for registration on the Namibia Qualification Framework.