Occupational qualifications developed by the National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA) in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, the German Development Institute (GIZ) and the Energy and Water Sector Education and Training Authority (Ewseta) for energy efficiency have been finalised.
One of the qualifications has been registered in accordance with the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA).
“It fills us with some satisfaction to advise that the Energy Efficiency Technician (Energy Audit Technician) Occupational Qualification, ID number 99426 has been registered on the NQF by SAQA, at Level 6,” reports NCPC-SA skills development manager Wynand van der Merwe.
He notes that the NCPC-SA and other entities have been trying to reduce energy consumption since 2010, partly through equipping people and corporations with skills to optimise the efficient use of energy.
“As we progressed, we realised that it was necessary that these people were recognised for the unique skills they acquired. “This recognition enhances the technician’s credibility while also allowing for upward movement in terms of their personal career development.”
NCPC-SA marketing and communications manager Julie Wells notes that the significance of this qualification is far reaching for the energy and engineering sectors.
“Until now, the only certification a professional could get in South Africa in this field was an international one – a certified energy manager qualification, for example. Now there are South African qualifications, this means that not only can those who receive them claim a professional designation, but employers can report this training as part of their skills plans in line with broad-based black economic-empowerment requirements.”
Van der Merwe stresses that the qualification will equip technicians with specialised, scarce skills.
“For the NQF 6 qualification, typical applicants are likely to have already completed technical and vocational education and training at further education and training (FET) colleges, and have worked in an energy-related field. This qualification will ensure that technicians have a unique skill set that is in high demand.”
Further, he comments that credit is also due to the GIZ and its Building Energy Audit Technician Project, which aided the qualification development process greatly.
Van der Merwe says Ewseta is the designated Assessment Quality Partner for this qualification, with additional capacity and support from the NCPC-SA.
“This means that training providers, such as FET colleges, can apply to Ewseta accreditation against this qualification. “We as the NCPC-SA will assist in equipping these providers with skills and approved material.”
Wells notes that ensuring that training providers nationally were able to apply for accreditation to offer these qualifications was always the aim of the NCPC-SA and its Industrial Energy Efficiency Project (IEE) – the mandate of which was to capacitate local industry to train high-quality energy managers, rather than just offering the training themselves.
The second qualification – Energy Management Advisor – has already been recommended for registration in accordance with the NQF at Level 8 and is expected to be registered shortly by SAQA, Van der Merwe states.
He adds that the typical applicant for this qualification will in all likelihood have completed a degree in engineering or the natural sciences and be working as a consultant or management level employee in the area of energy management and sustainability.
“For both these qualifications, the NCPC-SA and GIZ have collaborated to develop comprehensive sets of learner and trainer support material that will be made available to training providers that successfully apply for accreditation,” Van der Merwe notes.
Wells adds that the content of the two new qualifications is based on the best international practices, while including significant localisation to make it current and relevant to the South African situation. “A long consultation process was run with industry, the energy sector and the training sector. The development process was led by the NCPC-SA together with Ewseta.”
Van der Merwe notes that through the NCPC-SA’s flagship IEE, the organisation is also committed to capacitating FET colleges and other training institutions by training their lecturers in the required disciplines, in order to qualify for accreditation.
Trainers, lecturers and training providers are invited to contact the NCPC-SA and register their interest to obtain the necessary support.
The NCPC-SA is sponsoring and exhibiting at the 2017 Africa Energy Indaba, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre from February 21 to 22. They will also be hosting a side event on addressing energy efficiency in industry.