Wind Farm launches scholarship fund

2015-07-30 06:00

THE renewable energy and engineering sectors have received a ‘green’ boost through a recently launched scholarship programme, the Renewable Energy Scholarship Fund (RESF).

Over two million rand will be invested to develop young engineering students for this blossoming energy industry.

The programme is funded by three independent renewable energy companies - Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm, Droogfontein Solar Power and De Aar Solar Power - who initiated the scholarship to help meet the demand within the industry for qualified engineers.

“It is our hope that through this programme we will not only be able to create a skills pipeline for our organisation, but also support and contribute to the industry and the country as a whole,” explains Mark Pickering, General Manager of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.

Five of these students are currently studying mechatro-nics at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, one of the five institutions that offer this engineering discipline.

Husain Haspatel from Port Elizabeth is one of the 25 scholarship beneficiaries from the province chosen out of 150 applicants. He says: “While I am overjoyed that I am a recipient of this prestigious scholarship, I am also humbled and grateful for this fantastic opportunity. What I find most interesting about the renewable energy sector is the fact that it involves innovative technology to bring clean and efficient energy to different sectors.”

Other universities include Tshwane University of Technology, University of Stellenbosch, University of Cape Town and Cape Peninsula University of Technology.

This scholarship programme enables aspirant engineers from around the country to acquire the qualifications and skills demanded by this budding sector, particularly in the field of mechatronics – an inter-disciplinary field, combining traditional electrical, electronic, mechanical, control and computer engineering skills.

The two million rand invested in the programme covers tuition, daily living expenses and learning expenses such as books and materials.

Pickering says: “The recent announcement by the Minister of Energy, Tina Joemat-Pettersson, concerning the addition of 6300MW to the Renewable Energy IPP Procurement Programme, means that there will be an increasing need for qualified specialist engineers now and into the future.”

In addition to this, some of the students will have the opportunity to apply what they have learnt through a 12-month on-site internship as the scholarship includes a service obligation. The next round for scholarships will be made available through the identified universities in September 2015 for students from their second year of mechatronic studies

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