Droogfontein Solar Power has put their support behind the Solar Water Heating Enterprise Development (SWHED) Programme in Kimberley. The programme includes the repair and replacement of defective solar heating systems and provides the ideal platform for technical training at different skill levels and the opportunity for work-based experience in all aspects of the SWH installation; from identifying installation and system defects to repairs and replacement installations. “20 unemployed young people were recruited from within the Kimberley municipal area and given the opportunity to attend a bridging programme in preparation for the technical skills training. This was then followed up by enterprise development training,” said Marion Green-Thompson, economic development manager for Droogfontein Solar Power. “We were very pleased that all 20 trainees remained in the programme and achieved an average attendance of above 97% for the 10 week training period.”The SWHED programme provides access to hot water for low income households, creates jobs in the solar water heating industry, stimulates the development of SMME’s and increases access to the labour market for young men and women. The remaining two phases of the programme, namely the incubation and SMME development programme and the mentoring and support programme, still need to kick in. During the three month incubation and SMME development phase, trainees will be introduced and guided towards applying learned skills and knowledge in a real work situation, but under a controlled environment. They will be provided with both an assigned mentor (qualified artisan) as well as a business incubator that provides entrepreneurial skills training and mentorship support. Participating teams in the incubator which successfully complete the three-month incubation period and show signs of being able to function in a sustainable manner, will be given the opportunity to register a formal new SMME.