Well over two million rand has been invested to develop young engineering students wanting to enter the renewable energy industry, through the recently launched Renewable Energy Scholarship Fund (RESF). This scholarship programme enables aspirant engineers from around the country to acquire the qualifications and skills demanded by this budding sector, particularly in the field of mechatronics – an inter-disciplinary field, combining traditional electrical, electronic, mechanical, control and computer engineering skills.
Globeleq South Africa Management Services, in its capacity as the management services company of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, Droogfontein Solar Power and De Aar Solar Power, launched the RESF to help meet the demand within the industry for qualified engineers. “The recent announcement by the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, concerning the addition of 6 300MW to the Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme, means that there will be an increasing need for qualified specialist engineers now and into the future; and it is our hope that through this programme we will not only be able to create a skills pipeline for our organisation, but also support and contribute to the industry and the country as a whole,” explained Mark Pickering, Managing Director of Globeleq South Africa Management Services.
In 2014, the company initiated the programme nationally through universities offering mechatronics, namely; Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Tshwane University of Technology, University of Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town and Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Over 150 applications were received from which 25 beneficiaries were selected. The Scholarship programme covers tuition, daily living expenses and learning expenses such as books and materials.
Scholarship recipient, Reghardt Pretorius, who is currently studying towards his Bachelor of Engineering in Mechatronics at the University of Stellenbosch says, “I feel that the awarding of scholarships is great as the private sector is supporting the youth of South Africa to reach their goals.”
Gugu Hlati, who is attaining a National Diploma in Mechatronics from the Tshwane University of Technology will be doing her internship at the Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm. She shares, “It feels great and humbling at the same time to have been awarded this scholarship. I never thought I would get such an opportunity. It is still overwhelming…When I complete my studies, I would like to see myself as one of the rarely recognised female engineers. I would also like to own my own company or have shareholding in a company, working as the CEO.”
“With the growing demand for electricity in South Africa and on the continent, we would like to play our part in helping to provide more qualified and skilled engineers as well as benefitting students from our local communities, ” concluded Pickering.
The next round for scholarships will be made available through the identified universities in August 2015 for students from their second year of mechatronic studies. For more information visit: www.globeleq.co.za