RENEWABLE ENERGY EDUCATION
"By Daniel Schuett and Victoria Butegwa
GIZ-Energising Development Uganda and Barclays Uganda held the inaugural EnDev Summer Academy 2018 for 31 graduate students from two leading universities at the forefront of Renewable Energy education in Uganda
Bridging the gap between education and youth employment through skills development with unique courses on renewable energy technologies and services, and soft skills from Barclays ‘ReadytoWork’ Programme
EnDev Summer Academy 2018
The EnDev Summer Academy 2018, held from 28th -31st August, 2018, was designed in an effort to contribute to bridging the gap between education and youth employability in Uganda, where skills-related underemployment has been found to largely affect youth with post-secondary education. Additionally, many graduates do not yet grasp the importance of constantly improving skills such as communication, presentation, and money management– but largely focus on the theoretical knowledge in their field of study.
[[File:]] To put this in perspective, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) estimates that with over 40,000 university graduates entering the job market annually, it is only 8,000 jobs are available to employ them. This creates a need to engage youth in programmes which equip them with adequate skills in order for them to become contributing members of today’s competitive job market and cultivate tomorrow’s energy leaders.
Against this background, GIZ Energizing Development (EnDev) Uganda, in collaboration with Barclays Bank created the “EnDev Summer Academy 2018”. With EnDev Uganda’s mission to provide access to modern energy products and services, Summer Academy students could gain valuable insight into clean energy technologies and opportunities, and improve their soft skills through the accredited Barclay’s ReadytoWork Programme. “Our goal is to bring them into contact with people who work in renewable energy, so that they have the chance to engage with them, listen to their stories, understand the career opportunities, and how wide the area of renewable energy is.” Daniel Schuett – Head of Project, GIZ-EnDev Uganda.
[[File:]] The Academy enrolled 31 graduate students from Makerere and Ndejje University from interdisciplinary backgrounds (technical and non-technical), some of whom this was their first foray into the clean energy space.
Under the theme “Why Energy Matters”, students interacted with energy business experts and entrepreneurs across topics on solar, biomass, mini-grids, and climate change, among others. It was characterized by lively roundtable discussions, panel sessions, group work, and role playing. It attracted facilitators from organizations such as Boundless Minds, Innovation Village, EnVenture, and ProInterns who volunteered their time and effort to share their expertise with the students during the sessions.
Ready to Work programme
[[File:]] The certified Barclays ReadytoWork programme is currently offered in 10 countries and the modules highlight the importance of effective communication, CV writing and interviewing skills when applying for jobs or attending job interviews, smart budgeting skills, and entrepreneurship guidance. “The course we are offering under ReadytoWork is to prepare you for the world of work, it’s an employability initiative.” Juliana Lugayizi - Head of Citizenship, Barclay’s Bank.
Two-day Energy Exhibition
[[File:]] The Summer Academy also included a two-day Energy Exhibition where clean energy companies providing innovative solutions - such as improved cook stoves (UpEnergy and AVSI Foundation) and solar home systems (Village Power and Anuel Energy) - demonstrated their products and services to the students. A solar water pump from Anuel Energy was also used on site to illustrate how the system operates.
Follow up after Summer Academy and future editions
The majority of students have been able to make use of the skills learnt during the Academy through starting businesses, and also gaining valuable experience with Academy partner organizations such as ProInterns and Raising Gabdho.
Christopher Bakawa presented his innovative bio pesticide project to the ResilientAfrica Network (RAN) following an introduction by Innovation Village, and is working on refining the technology and business plan for possible piloting. Another example is Sheba Musiimenta, who is currently completing a Business Development Fellowship with EnVenture – working with community based organizations on clean energy access for rural communities. When asked about her expectations for the Summer Academy, Sheba explained that she had wanted “to learn more about the different applications for clean energy technologies, especially regarding managing our natural resources, as well as how youth can get more involved in clean energy initiatives. ‘’
[[File:]] EnDev aims to use the Summer Academy as a platform to link the graduates to internship opportunities within GIZ, as well as with their partners across different sectors. As expressed by Ms. Lugayizi, “Six months down the road, I would want to know – how did the Summer Academy impact you? How can we continue to be of support to you?” Following a highly successful inaugural event, many students, universities and other organizations have already expressed a keen interest to take part in another EnDev Summer Academy.