The South African minister of energy, Jeff Radebe, addressed members attending the School Energy Day event in Buffalo City to engage young people on different energy-related issues.
The Minister noted that he wanted to place emphasis on career opportunities that can be accessed within the sector.
“Our investment in the green economy initiatives such as the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Programme has boosted youth employment particularly during the construction, engineering, operation and maintenance phases,” Radebe said.
He added: “Large numbers of young people exited the education system prematurely and possess no professional or technical skills, making them effectively unemployable. We also know graduates are employable as compared to those without qualifications. With the growing renewable energy sector here in the Eastern Cape, skilled labour is required to drive implementation of projects in the sector across the value chain such as manufacturing, construction, engineering, project design, operation and maintenance.”
He continued: “South Africa faces a shortage of critical skills that are significant to drive the economy. Transformation of the economy can be eased if our youths can take education seriously and have courage to follow career paths that are scarce such as engineers, artisans, project managers, environmentalists, technologist and other skills that remain scarce in the economy. ”
The Minister encouraged the youth to pursue developmental activities in different government programmes such as energy efficiency, operation Khanyisa, global warming and environmental degradation.
“The need for energy safety, environment conservation and energy efficiency conscious society has become increasingly important. While we have stabilised our energy challenges, we must not neglect our responsibilities of being energy efficient nation. We must reduce amount of energy we use by choosing energy-efficient appliances and services, and ensuring we do not waste energy,” Radebe said.