Innovative apprentice electricians set to drive NamPower’s in-house energy savings
Two young apprentices at the NamPower Vocational Training Centre are using their skills to save their employer some of the electricity it needs to light its own buildings.
Sem Mathews (left) and Juan Pete Compaan are in their fourth year of the Electrical General course. Following their participation last year in the World Skills Namibia competition, their interest was kindled in electrical automation for buildings through Programmable Logic Controllers or PLC.
“We first came to know of the World Skills Competition in 2018 when we were still Level 2 trainees. Our instructor, Mr Piet Viviers, told us about this competition which he had previously attended as an Expert in Electrical Installations.
Viviers told them that their training in conventional electrical installations can be applied to automated installations as well. This sparked their curiosity and set them on a quest to find places where their knowledge can be used for innovative solutions.
In the World Skills 2019 competition under the category Electrical Installations, Mathews scooped the gold prize while Compaan received silver. Their victory sent them to South Africa for an 18-week training in Building Automation.
After another training course at a South African company, the two successfully completed an advanced course in building automation.
At that point, their technical competence had developed to such a level that the Head of the NamPower Vocational Training Centre, Mercy Situmbeko submitted a formal request to the utility to implement a structured programme of building automation in its own buildings. It was approved and will officially start in 2021 with the training centre’s main building the first candidate for an overhaul.
In the meantime, the two young electricians continue honing their skills by teaching other students the ins and outs of building automation.
“If it were not for Piet and Mercy’s encouragement to be innovative and explore our passion, we would not have discovered the vastness and broadness of electricity. We are grateful for the opportunities provided for us at the NamPower Vocational Training Centre,” said Mathews and Compaan.