The Department of Science and Innovation is collaborating with technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges in Pretoria to skill young people under its hydrogen fuel cell technology programme.
The Department’s Hydrogen South Africa (HySA) programme seeks to diversify the energy sector, promote the green economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris Agreement, while ensuring the just transition espoused in the country’s National Climate Change Response White Paper.
The HySA programme is shifting its focus from research, development and innovation to address manufacturing capability. To support the manufacturing and deployment of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies in South Africa, local capacity must be built.
The Department has partnered with Bambili Energy, the South African National Energy Development Institute, and the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority to present a six-week course to unemployed TVET graduates with N4 or N6-level qualifications in electrical and chemical engineering.
Participants have learnt about the installation, operation and maintenance of hydrogen fuel cells, including safety aspects.
Given the high rate of unemployment among TVET graduates, it is hoped the introductory course has equipped the graduates with skills that will increase their chances of employment in the emerging sector of low carbon energy technologies.
Current projections indicate that the deployment of hydrogen fuel cells, combined with renewable energies such as solar and wind power, is set to grow exponentially in the next five to 10 years.
The Department of Science and Innovation is therefore engaging with both public and private sector partners to expand the programme and ensure that trained students are employed by industry.