YOUNG WOMEN GET TRAINED TO SERVICE WIND TURBINES
Esethu Mabena, (25 years) from the Eastern Cape’s Cookhouse community, is one of the two young women selected to participate in a Wind Turbine Service Training programme, as part of a youth development joint technical training initiative between Cookhouse Wind Farm and Suzlon, its Operations and Maintenance Contractor.
Mabena is part of a cohort of eight youth all from within Cookhouse Wind Farm’s beneficiary communities, namely Cookhouse, Adelaide, Bedford, and Somerset East who is currently being trained under the stewardship of the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC).
“This is a dream come true for me as I’ve been yearning for an opportunity to receive training in the field that I have studied. The stipend will help with transportation and rent and I will be able to send something to my family, which is a big help,” said Esethu Mabena, who is set to receive her qualification, February 2022.
According to the South African Wind Energy Association (SAWEA), the country needs approximately 1 700 service technicians, if the sector is to successfully deliver wind power to the national grid, in accordance with the Integrated Resource Plan. The programme will be rolled out over seven months.
The WTST programme trains and qualifies wind turbine service technicians for the country’s wind Energy industry, over a seven month period. The participating students receive stipends for the duration of the programme and are based at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, for five months of their training. The last two months of the training, will be in the field, where they will receive practical training.
“Considering that the Wind Energy industry is entering a period of exponential growth, we are positive that qualified Wind Turbine Service Technicians will be in demand, making this an ideal opportunity for our communities’ youth, especially as the role of these specialist technicians begins during the busy construction phase of a wind farm and continues up through the commissioning, operation, repairs and maintenance of wind turbines,” explained Tshepo Kgoloane, Community Operations Manager for Cookhouse Wind Farm.
Wind turbine service technicians are responsible for the service, maintenance, and repair of wind turbines. They inspect, diagnose and maintain, adjust or repair wind turbines, resolving electrical and mechanical malfunctions. They are able to work at heights in all weather conditions, including extreme cold and heat, for extended periods. Wind turbine technicians must be capable of working closely with other individuals.
The course outline includes: Wind energy technology; Health and safety; Wind turbine electrics; Wind turbine mechanics; Hydraulics; Rotor blade repair; and Control systems.