The skills gap is a concern many employers must deal with regularly. They say good help is hard to find, particularly with experience in the energy industry, but this challenge can seem insurmountable when developing energy resources in third–world communities, where such resources are so desperately needed. Two-thirds of Africa’s population of around 640 million people do not have access to electricity. To further illustrate that fact, only 16,000 people are working in the renewable energy sector. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the gap between people who need electricity and those who are qualified to provide it is incredibly severe.
What that means for companies looking to bring energy to those who need it most is that skilled local workers are even more difficult to recruit. But a paradigm shift is already in progress, and the distribution of renewable energy markets can drive real job creation in Africa and around the world. Here are several ways that power generation employers can develop a well-trained and specialized local workforce from which to draw high–quality candidates which will directly help communities grow from within.
Invest in local talent
There is already a big push to fill the skills gap in Africa. Training hubs focused on providing the necessary education and training to up-level workers already in the power sector are already coming to the forefront. Programs such as the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) cater to people who are ready to improve their skills, as well as those eager to start a career in the energy sector. Other initiatives such as the #PoweringJobs campaign in Africa offer a collaborative community effort to tackle energy poverty issues through the creation of jobs that will in turn help to stimulate the local economy. Investing in these local workers committed to addressing the global issue of energy poverty is a direct way to recruit the talent you need and make a difference in the battle against energy poverty.
Work with local schools and community colleges
Working with local schools is an equally valuable recruitment strategy. It enables the entire industry to train and educate the next generation of skilled workers on a truly local level. As an employer, you are in the convenient position of knowing exactly what skills and technologies are most in-demand in the manufacturing industry, but many schools simply aren’t as up to date on the needed technologies and processes. An exciting way to minimize the skills gap is to work directly with local schools and colleges to influence the programs that will produce highly skilled technical workers that you want to hire. This can take the form of regular outreach with students (through career fairs or guest lectures), with faculty, and even through internship or job shadowing programs. Reach out to a nearby local institution to see what opportunities are available.
Encourage training and continued education
Creating a culture of mentorship and continued education is critical to helping a community address the skills gap and tackle energy poverty in a big way. Think about how your workers can actively encourage local talent to focus their training and skill development to address real-world energy challenges. While a shortage of the most skilled individuals on the market remains, your business needs to do all it can to remain a competitive employer in the job market and develop a strong talent pipeline that actively addresses your recruiting needs.
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