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1-Year Youth Solar Training Programme Starts Today in Cape Town

Today marks the start of the first solar training and internship programme at the GREEN Solar Academy in Cape Town. GREEN and Life Choices have combined over 20 years of experience in solar and youth education to offer the first youth solar training programme of its kind.


Together they aim to train the workforce needed to successfully implement a just energy transition in South Africa. In total, the upskilling project targets 138 youths over a period of 3 years. Today, the first batch of 23 participants from the Western Cape, many of whom are TVET college graduates with a minimum NQF Level 4 Electrician qualification, are embarking on their journey in the PV industry with the clear goal of finding employment in the PV Industry.

"Training for a just energy transition is not just a slogan on my T-shirt. For me it means developing training programmes for all, not just for professionals, but also for youth. And looking for ways to work with other institutions and donors to make training accessible to all” says Antje Klauss-Vorreiter, co-founder and CEO of GREEN Solar Academy. GREEN Solar Academy is an internationally accredited provider of professional short courses in solar energy, with academies across Africa and its roots in Germany. However, training young people is not part of GREEN's day-to-day business, but it is a matter close to the heart of the entire team. In 2022, the idea was born to develop a training programme for young people based on the GREEN courses. “But young people tick differently, have different experiences, and most often require an entirely different approach to our standard one. It was clear that we could only do this if we teamed up with a youth training organisation.”

The GREEN Solar Academy Cape Town is run by Life Choices, an experienced Youth Training Organisation, which has already an exceptional track record of implementing youth capacity building and skills training programmes. More than 450 young people have been trained in coding through Life Choices’ Coding Academy; and more than 80% of these were assisted by Life Choices to secure jobs, of which 69% were in coding-related fields.

It is on the basis of their success with the Coding Academy, and from the lessons learnt over the years, that Life Choices now embarks on this pilot solar youth project.
“Leveraging Life Choices Academy’s extensive experience in youth development and employment programs alongside GREEN Academy's renowned technical curriculum, industry experience and expertise, we are confident that participants will be well prepared to embark on their careers in the solar PV sector.” says Ryan Geel, Campus Director at Life Choices. Ryan’s team and Vivian Blümel, Co-Founder and CPO of GREEN Solar Academy, have been developing a training programme adapted to the needs of the young people for the past two years. And today, looking into the expectant eyes of the 23 participants from the Western Cape, it is clear that this work has paid off. Many of the trainees are TVET college graduates aged 22 to 28, who have a minimum NQF level 4 electrician qualification and are not currently employed. The training is offered at no cost to the participants, but partial funding has been received from an international donor, with GREEN and Life Choices drawing deeply on their own resources to contribute trainers, equipment and expertise.

The syllabus of hard and soft skills has been crafted to meet very specific objectives, based on extensive industry stakeholder meetings and Life Choices’ experience in community upliftment initiatives. The participants will not only experience quality PV training to increase their access to opportunities in the solar industry but also training to increase their communication and leadership skills. Equipped with these tools, the graduates will be primed to rise above the high rate of unemployment in South Africa. And make no mistake: the overarching goal of this programme is employment for every participant.

The first phase of the training starts with blended theoretical learning - classwork and guided instruction through an online learning platform - and will focus on solar PV systems and technology. The technical training will then continue with practical mounting, installation and maintenance of solar PV systems and technologies. During this time, trainees will have an opportunity to do field excursions to expose them to the industry realities and see the skills they are learning in action. There will be expert talks during the training sessions where PV professionals will impart knowledge about the industry and their related fields, rounding out the participants’ understanding of the expanding solar industry in South Africa.

The second phase will deal with soft skills and will cover aspects such as professional development, job readiness, and mental health and psychosocial support. Some of the modules used in this portion of the training are lifted directly from Life Choices material used in their intervention programmes such as Leaders’ Quest and Family Affairs.
The final training phase and properly the most important is the workplace experience. “We can teach young people skills, but putting them into practice on a daily basis is a much-needed, priceless experience,” says Amanda Dzivhani, COO of GREEN Solar Academy, who also started as an intern in the PV industry and can therefore speak from her own experience.
The twelve-month training programme consists of three parts: the eight-week training, which starts today, a ten-month internship (quality workplace experience) rounded up by a two-week assessment at the end of the training programme.

“Youth unemployment remains a national pressing issue, and our program and partnership with GREEN takes great pride in offering solutions to equip our youth with future-proof skill sets, ensuring they are poised to excel in emerging industries and advance their careers,” says Ryan Geel, Campus Director at Life Choices. “Moreover, they will serve as ambassadors, inspiring others to follow suit.”

Solar companies that already want to commit to hosting one or more of the trainees once they are ready for their work experience should contact Tsakani Mashila from GREEN Solar Academy on +27 (0) 10 312 6724 or

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