As South Africa embarks on the development of a renewable energy industry, the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm has focused on skills development that will empower a workforce that can sustain the industry without long term reliance on foreign expertise.
“Job creation cannot be seen in isolation and we regard skills development as an essential component for Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm,” said Mark Pickering, General Manager of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.
Eden Syce, a resident of the Pellrus community in Jeffreys Bay, has benefited through training and skills development, which is a critical area in the Renewable Energy industry.
Originally employed as a general worker, Syce is now employed as a Quality Assistant and can pride himself on a number of achievements.
Over the last seven months, he has completed and rated highly in a number of courses, including a week’s ISO 9001 training in Pretoria, which encompassed the implementation and evaluations of quality systems.
Having achieved almost 80 % in the exams, his confidence has increased in proportion to his training.
“Since I’ve been working on this project my self-discipline and confidence has improved enormously, as well as my attitude towards life’s challenges and handling my responsibilities, both at work and in my personal life,” said Syce.
“This community is also very dependent on the building, retail and clothing manufacturing sectors, all of which are in a current economic downturn,” explained Pickering.
Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm began erecting the first of its 80m tall turbines in August this year.
The project is one of the first wind farms arising from the South African Government’s Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (REIPP) and is expected to start supplying electricity to the national grid by mid-2014.