The fifth quarterly Garden Route Skills Mecca (GRSM) Forum was held virtually in May 2022 and focused on renewable energy strategies for the Garden Route.
This follows a fruitful engagement Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) had with the Energy & Water Sector Education Training Authority (EWSETA) on Tuesday, 17 May 2022. During the engagement, EWSETA expressed its desire to support renewable energy projects in the Garden Route, which is in line with its support of Just Energy Transition (JET), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH (GIZ), and the work done in South Africa by The South African Photovoltaic Industry Association (SAPVIA).
EWSETA has a significant demand-based focus, and it is important for them to determine what the needs are of employers and businesses. They receive a limited skills levy income and need to partner with other agencies to address this challenge. This is why they’ve agreed soon enter into a memorandum of understanding with GRDM.
During his opening remarks, the GRSM Forum chairperson, Ald. De Vries remarked that renewable energy is gaining momentum as countries around the world are increasingly understanding the benefits it offers.
During the forum, Mr. Warrick Pierce, Technical Leader on Energy Systems Modeling at the Energy Centre of CSIR, presented the Draft Municipal Electricity Master Plan for the GRDM. The Draft document was funded by GIZ and co-funded by the CSIR and is considered to be a mini Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
Mr. Pierce noted that the plan looks at different possible energy futures and the employment opportunities it may hold. Furthermore, the plan’s focus is twofold as it looks at each municipality individually in the region and the Garden Route as a whole to achieve optimisation.
To draft plan addresses issues of future demand usage and that municipalities need to know their customers – their past behaviors towards energy and how this is changing in terms of self-generation. There seems to be clear indication that Solar PV is the priority option for the Garden Route to consider. The Draft Energy Master Plan will be tabled to the GRDM Council this month for adoption and a media release about it will be issued.
The final presentation was done by Kirsten Freimann, from GIZ, who is the Head of Project: Career Path Development for Employment (CPD4E), which is a new 3-year program that started in June.
The program aims to address two major concerns identified by GIZ, which are the economic recession and the high youth unemployment rate plaguing South Africa. With the help of the Swiss Development Agency, The German Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development Government was able to raise €10.5 million for the project.
CPDE4E strives to improve the employability of the youth by unlocking employment potentials by supporting entrepreneurship and SME development in township economies, as well as (ecologic) industrial parks.
The transition from learning to earning will be done by matching soft skills with entrepreneurship training with specific measures in place for girls and women.
Demand-driven TVET/ skills development will improve delivery capacities, through lecturers, in-company mentors, short skills programs, new occupational profiles, and curricula development. It is anticipated that it will strengthen private sector involvement in agile training interventions. This could lead to job creation and meeting demands.