South African Energy and Water Skills Sector Education and Training Authority-accredited training provider Terra Firma Academy believes that South Africa’s commitment to reducing carbon emissions and its intention to provide a sustainable energy and water supply can be supported through appropriate short training courses.
Terra Firma Academy manager Bianca Lindemann comments that it is very important for South Africa to have such training courses available, as many professionals need to continually enhance their knowledge and skills. This can often be more quickly achieved by attending professional short courses instead of doing the research themselves.
She highlights that the Terra Firma Academy is one of the few training providers in South Africa offering high-quality continuous professional development through validated solar photovoltaic (PV), energy and water efficiency courses, offering engineers quick and intense training sessions on very specific topics.
“The courses have been developed by Terra Firma Solutions’ senior engineers and sustainability experts; this enables them to share their knowledge [and] not only offer training to external delegates but also develop capacity and knowledge in our clients’ businesses, as well as upskill junior engineers joining Terra Firma Solutions.”
Lindemann notes that the academy has a set training schedule for the year, with courses offered in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. The academy also offers in-house training, depending on client requirements.
She notes that some of the courses, such as the awareness and behaviour-change courses are three to six hours long, while the skills-based courses are presented over two to three days. She adds that the academy also focuses on topics pertaining to solar PV, energy efficiency, water efficiency, carbon management and corporate environmental strategy.
The courses also include information about financial indicators, which are important to obtain approval for potential projects and are often not covered in university degrees.
“All courses are business- and solution- orientated, with a focus on financial indicators, which is very important [in terms of] buy-in for potential projects and to assess opportunities. “It is beneficial for delegates to be trained by sustainability experts and senior engineers who consult daily to the biggest corporates in South Africa.”
Further, she illustrates that, depending on the course, delegates should be proficient in Microsoft Excel or, for example, have basic knowledge of different solar PV technologies.
Moreover, Lindemann highlights that the academy is planning to expand its offering by developing additional content on water and waste management. Demand for water training has increased dramatically since the drought last summer, while companies are becoming more aware of the financial and general supply risks of water management.
She concludes that what cannot be overlooked is the positive impact that staff training has on addressing skills development and enterprise development, imposed on companies to meet broad-based black economic-empowerment expectations.