In President Ramaphosa’s latest state of the nation address, he confirmed that the government’s overriding priorities for 2021 were to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerate economic recovery, and implement economic reforms to create sustainable jobs and drive inclusive growth. Another priority for the government is to rapidly expand energy generation capacity in addition to what Eskom generates.
As if the pandemic wasn’t enough,
rolling blackouts have become the norm,
and unemployment in South Africa has
grown to the highest levels on record.
Load shedding is likely to continue in the near future as Eskom completes “fundamental maintenance” and has hampered the state’s efforts to rebuild the economy and create jobs. As part of the measures to address the power shortfalls, the government has requested for proposals from wind and solar energy industries.
In addition, the government has introduced a five-year plan to reduce youth unemployment, which stands at over 40%. To some extent, it could be a lack of qualifications, but there could also be an issue on the demand side of things. The oversupply of labour often makes it difficult for inexperienced youth to get a foot in the door when employers prefer experienced candidates over non-experienced graduates. Creating local economic development programmes and increasing internship funding for the youth is ideal to identify and fill these gaps for the sake of economic growth.
The wind energy industry has experienced
rapid growth in the past decade and is
expected to grow more as demand for
renewable energy increases.
This will provide many opportunities for
young workers and job seekers in
search of new careers.
These careers aren’t just based on wind farms; it also takes the efforts of workers in factories and offices to build and operate these turbines.
Most of the jobs in the wind industry are in the manufacturing sector, followed by construction, operation, and then maintenance. Although many of these jobs require special skills unique to wind power, in most cases, skills can be acquired in other industries.
Some wind companies hire people with experience in other industries and give them training specific to the wind energy industry:
- Engineering technicians
- Construction workers
- Project managers
By focusing training on the wind energy industry, more workers and sectors will be able to experience growth as they take advantage of new wind farms are built and existing ones upgraded, a win-win for job and power shortages.