February 2023.

Xabiso Mfabana, from the Eastern Cape’s Cookhouse community, is part of a cohort of young graduates from the Wind Turbine Service Technician (WTST) programme. He has also recently taken up employment with Suzlon, Cookhouse Wind Farm’s Operations and Maintenance Contractor, and partner, in this joint development initiative that is providing skills training for youth in the wind power sector.

This employment opportunity means that Xabiso is able to put these skills into practice, inspiring other programme graduates to do the same.

“For me, this opportunity represents personal growth and the realisation of a dream because I have long aspired to work for Suzlon, at Cookhouse Wind Farm. My hope is to inspire my peers and other young people. Through my conduct and performance, I also hope to open doors for other locals to take advantage of future opportunities in this space,” expressed Xabiso.

Xabiso underwent training and completed his training in 2022 under the stewardship of the South African Renewable Energy Technology Centre (SARETEC). Since then, three of the graduates have found employment, in addition to one starting his own business.

For Zongeziwe Nofuya, Suzlon Manager, the employment of Xabiso places a responsibility on his shoulders, while inspiring hope for the young ones, “This means as much for the community as it does for the company, because it means the beneficiary towns will be able to see that Independent Power Producers are serious about employing local people and that they make them ready for this opportunity through training.”

The WTST programme trains and qualifies wind turbine service technicians for the country’s wind Energy industry. Once trained, they are able to take on the responsibility for the service, maintenance, and repair of wind turbines. They can inspect, diagnose and maintain, adjust or repair wind turbines, resolving electrical and mechanical malfunctions. Very importantly, training means that they are able to work at heights in all weather conditions, including extreme cold and heat, for extended periods.

“We are very pleased with this development because what started out as a contract extension negotiation in 2019 has led to opportunities beyond any piece of paper. Xabiso is now a great ambassador, not just for Cookhouse Wind Farm and Suzlon but for Renewable Energy Development as a whole,” said Lifa Baskiti, Community Liaison Officer for Cookhouse Wind Farm, which funds this programme.

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