NIGERIASahara Foundation, a Non-Government Organization, has partnered the Energy Training Centre (ETC) and Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria (REAN) in an effort aimed at providing employability skills for youth in Lagos, Edo, and Rivers States.

According to the foundation, the move will ensure that the organisations envision and implement the inaugural Sahara Regenerator Technical Programme; a Sahara Foundation initiative especially on two technical skills including meter installations, solar systems installation and maintenance required in the energy sector.

“ETC in its capacity as the technical partner for the SRTP programme, will deliver hands-on practical training and provide certification for the trained Installers,” the foundation said in a statement.

“This training will provide participants with the necessary technical skills for employment as meter installers currently needed in large numbers in the power sector to help achieve the aim to get all electricity consumers metered through the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP).

“The Solar PV technician-training program has been supported through GIZ’s NESP’s capacity development program which trained the facilitators.”

Speaking during the programme, the President of REAN, Mr. Segun Adaju commended Sahara Foundation and ETC for taking on such a laudable initiative, adding that the program is filling a major gap in the industry by ensuring that there are well-trained solar installers who are certified and meet international standards.

He called on other organizations to come in and train Installers, Engineers, and Supervisors to become technically capable.

“The Regenerator technical programme is aimed at building additional capacity across two critical areas; capacity for meter installer technicians to support the federal government’s mandate to all distribution companies regarding metering all customers,” he said.

“Secondly, the Solar Photovoltaic (PV) technician program will support the federal governments electrification agenda and economic sustainability plan through the installation of five million solar home systems in underserved and off-grid communities across the country.

“It will also equip youth (especially those without formal education) with these high-demand skills and over 100 immediate beneficiaries will be provided with world class certified knowledge, skills and resources needed to build sustainable businesses and become employers of labour.”

In his remarks, Pearl Uzokwe, Director of Sustainability and Governance, Sahara Group said the continent must not be left out in the global transition to cleaner energy. She highlighted the importance of the partnership with ETC as critical to ensuring the programme produced certified professionals and technicians in the field.

She explained that the meter installation technician programme, will add to the resources necessary to effectively carry out the federal government’s mandate to power distribution companies to provide meters for all customers as one of the initiatives to bring added stability and reliability to the power sector in Nigeria.

The Managing Director of Energy Training Centre, Ibiene Okeleke appealed to the participants to go out to the field and be different and set themselves apart by putting into practice all that has been learnt during the training.

While thanking Sahara Foundation for the programme, she said that there is the need to have more women take up the challenge in the power sector, female trainees should also step up and be counted.

CEO of Ikeja Electric, Folake Soetan highlighted the huge gap in meter deployment and installation. She emphasised the magnitude of the responsibility of being a trained meter installers and their importance as part of the solution to the problems in the power value chain.

Oluseyi Ojurongbe, Manager, Sahara Foundation also reiterated that the programme comes at a time where a gap exists in technical skills needed to drive efforts aimed at providing clean energy through solar and bridging Nigeria’s huge metering gap.

The GM, CONLOG Nigeria, a Meter Asset Provider, Elungile Mzimba encouraged the participants to develop people skills, integrity, and discipline. She urged them to carry it along with them after the training as characteristics that will set them apart in the field and help them contribute to the work being done in the sector.