The European Union (EU) and the German Government have launched the Initiative dubbed “VET Toolbox” through which, Ugandans will be trained as solar technicians to support Ugandan rural electrification ambitions.
The VET Toolbox initiative, co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is implemented in five countries including Uganda.
In Uganda, rural electrification through solar mini grids has been identified as the key priority sector for the VET Toolbox activities.
The regional focus will be on Lamwo District in northern Uganda and Mpigi district in central Uganda.
The initiative will support Ugandan rural electrification ambitions by complementing the promotion of clean energy, particularly the solar powered mini-grid solutions with skills development and tailor-made training for the needs and opportunities of the private sector and beneficiaries.
Focus shall be supporting the set-up of solar-based mini-grids and solar home kits through skills development efforts, leveraging the creation of access to electricity in rural areas, as well as developing knowledge products on productive use of energy measures.
The initiative will also support the development and introduction of practical training modules and curricula for PV system maintenance (specialisation) and productive use of energy at Vocational Training Institutions (VTIs) in northern Uganda.
In addition, the capacities of VTI instructors shall be strengthened, enabling them to train technicians on the proper design, installation, and maintenance of solar PV systems and productive use of energy.
Speaking at the launch of the initiative in Kampala, the Head of GIZ Energy and climate programme, David Otieno said, “the project intends to capacitate a total of 20 teachers and train 100 persons as solar technicians.”
“The skills acquired by the trainees shall enable them to find gainful employment in the solar sector and offer improved services to local communities. The project also targets 300 beneficiaries to train in the Productive use of Energy,” he added.
Ms. Caroline Adriaensen, the Head of Cooperation, European Union (EU) stated that, “under this project, selected enterprises shall undergo a business diagnostic to identify key constraints limiting their growth and competitiveness, which shall be followed by a series of training and technical assistance in areas of innovation and digitalisation, quality management, market development and access to finance.”
She said that the EU continues to support national economies to expand their share of local value addition and local job creation.
John Tumuhimbise, the Assistant Commissioner, bio energy in the Ministry of Energy said access to clean energy in Uganda is still a challenge.
Most Ugandan households, he said, still use charcoal as the major source of energy, which in turn has led to massive deforestation, and loss of forest cover.
The problem of unclean energy, he said could be solved by adoption of renewable energy, but added that there is shortage of professionals and technicians to push the cause.
“We do realize that the solar sub sector is growing and expanding at a fast rate, but we lack the technical and professional people to do the installation, the maintenance and the repairs,” he said.
“We have been experiencing challenges, in that, some technicians are not proficient and competent enough to do the installations, and sometimes, the installations end up being faulty, and then there are complaints from the public.”
Tumuhimbise said that VET Toolbox initiative will help in solving the problem.
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