Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm launches renewable energy scholarship fund

AUGUST 1, 2015

The renewable energy and engineering sectors have received a boost through a recently launched scholarship programme, the Renewable Energy Scholarship Fund (RESF), which has seen well over two million rand invested to develop young engineering students for this blossoming energy industry.

This 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,” explained Mark Pickering, General Manager of Jeffreys Bay Wind Farm.

Five of these students are currently studying mechatronics at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, one of the five institutions that offer this engineering discipline.  Husain Haspatel from Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, is one of the 25 scholarship beneficiaries from the province chosen out of 150 applicants. 

He said “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. I find that these technological advances and innovative ideas show our willingness to save this planet and ensure a cleaner earth for future generations.”

 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.

According to Pickering, “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.

“With the growing demand for electricity in South Africa and on the continent, we would like to play our part in helping to provide more qualified and skilled engineers as well as benefitting students from our local communities,” concluded Pickering. -