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Killing three birds with one stone!

Solar academy launches to address skills training, youth unemployment and the advancement of women.

IT is not every day that one gets to write about good news, but this initiative does deserve a moment to be zoomed into. 

It is 2023 and approximately 80% of South Africa’s power still comes from coal and more than 40% of our youth is unemployed. Scary statistics when we could use these young and strong minds to help us access a cleaner and more affordable energy source. 

While the state is trying to create a shift in its energy landscape, we observe the private sector filling the gaps. This story is that of a group of industry leaders coming together to provide solutions for, and employ our youth to solve our energy crisis. As one of the leading Construction (EPC) companies in the commercial and industrial Solar PV space in South Africa, ACES Africa, alongside a large consortium of industry leaders, decided to contribute and do their bit in this journey. 

The ACES Academy was developed to bridge this gap. Train and empower the next generation to look after our infrastructure in the long run. Quality solar infrastructure proudly built and maintained by South Africans! To contribute and work towards this goal, different programs that range from basic Solar PV knowledge to advanced courses have been built by these leaders. 

This allows both newcomers in the industry to enter the space to find employment and experienced installers to expand their career opportunities and be certified by equipment manufacturers in the installation of their technologies. 

A ladder of programs

Programs start from an entry level, allowing anyone fit-to-work on a site, to enter the industry and find a job within the group of Academy partners. From mounting structures, batteries, inverters, panels and distribution boards (amongst others), the Academy’s partners cover all aspects of a solar PV system and they provide training throughout the different courses. The idea is to build a ladder for our youth in this industry, where anyone can start as a mechanical installer and end up a project manager or even an engineer. 

The Academy is a place of growth and opportunities. “We are excited to provide a space for professionals of the solar industry to further develop their skills, the whole industry needs it!” says Julien Verzier, Managing Director at the ACES Academy. ”But I think the real innovation is the social aspect of the business model. Through our partners, we give funding opportunities to individuals that otherwise would not have had access to the courses – a type of bursary if you will. Our partners can select candidates through our programs and fund their studies partially or in full”. 

We take the opportunity to mention during your August edition of Cape Business News that the Academy is proudly offering a discount of 50% for all women who will be registering for any of our upcoming courses during the month of August. It is one of our Academy goals to impact women’s involvement in the industry and diversify the area of our skilled labour force. 

The Academy provides a hub of professionals that all push in one direction: Make our energy crisis become an opportunity to move away from coal and reduce unemployment in South Africa. The beauty of this model is the collaboration across all sectors of the industry to empower and train our professionals to develop the industry and lead it in the rest of the continent as experts and problem solvers. 

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