By : Amanda Mkhize

In support of upskilling community youth to be able to work and participate in the growing wind energy sector, Loeriesfontein Wind Farm and Khobab Wind Farm have funded a specialised youth development technical training initiative. The programme was designed to address renewable energy skills shortages amongst community members, as well as indirectly address the high unemployment rates both within Loeriesfontein and the broader Northern Cape (NC) province. The programme targets supplier development within the wind energy industry.

The group of 12 youth commenced the Wind Turbine Service Training programme in August 2021 and have subsequently successfully completed the programme, in addition to a globally certified course.

“Wind farms generally require routine and unplanned maintenance and repairs throughout their lifespan. Our goal with this programme is to upskill community members so that they will be able to maintain turbines at the Loeriesfontein and Khobab Wind Farms, as well as other wind farms in the district, province, and country as a whole,” explained Vanessa Fredericks, Economic Development Manager for Khobab and Loeriesfontein Wind Farms.

The training was implemented under the stewardship of the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC), with the participants having since completed the Global Wind Organisation training. Four of the participants have been provided with on-site practical work experience through Obelisk, an engineering services company.

“As the training programme does not require Maths or Science at a matric level, it allows community members to access the technical field without hinderance. Additionally, this programme provides local capacity for the wind farms’ Operations and Maintenance contractor,” added Fredericks.

Among the training modules were Basic Safety Training (BST) and Basic Technical Training (BTT), conducted by SARETEC at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT); and Advanced Rescue Training (ART) over a three-week period, conducted by AID Renewables. This includes 10 e-learning modules, which were conducted through the Denmark Training Centre of Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy at the Loeriesfontein Business Hub. In addition to the training, participants were provided with accommodation, transport from Loeriesfontein to Cape Town and back, daily meals, and emergency allowances.

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