National recognition for NCPC-SA skills development initiatives

The National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPC-SA) was announced as the winner of the 2016 Achiever Award Best Public Sector Training Programme at the recent Skills Summit in Pretoria. The award was made in recognition of the NCPC-SA’s work in providing solutions to support industry’s scarce and critical skills in support of the country’s transition to a greener economy.

The NCPC-SA is a national programme of government that promotes the implementation of Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP) methodologies to assist industry to lower costs through reduced energy, water and materials usage, and waste management. It is managed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on behalf of the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).

NCPC-SA Director, Ndivhuho Raphulu explains that the Centre established its skills development programme as part of the NCPC-SA’s Industrial Energy Efficiency (IEE) Project, launched in South Africa by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in 2010, as part of the global drive towards greater energy efficiency. This was done in partnership with the Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), the UK Department of International Development (UKAID/DFID), the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) and the Department of Energy (DOE).

“As a key industrial sustainability programme of the dti, the NCPC-SA has enjoyed strong support from the Department in its efforts to introduce solutions to scarce and critical skills needs not provided for through existing qualifications,” says Raphulu.

A key objective of the NCPC-SA has been to ensure that its skills development initiatives have a direct and measurable impact in industry in the form of substantial financial savings, as well as a significant reduction in energy consumption, carbon emissions and waste generation. “Energy savings achieved in industry plants over the past five years, primarily as a direct result of the NCPC-SA’s expert-level training amounted to 2140 GWh – enough to power 297 000 middle-income homes for a year,” according to Raphulu. This translates into R1.76 billion in financial savings or 1.7 million tonnes in terms of CO2 savings.

Training offered by the NCPC-SA includes both end-user and expert-level courses in the areas of energy management systems (EnMS), RECP and energy systems optimisation (ESO). The NCPC-SA plays a leading role in the establishment of a Professional Body that will set qualification standards in the green industry that would be recognised by South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) and will have powers and authority to assume responsibility for qualification development and quality assurance.

The NCPC-SA also has a strong focus on the youth through an internship programme offered in partnership with industry. “The programme involves the placement of unemployed engineering graduates in industry plants to identify and implement actual savings opportunities under guidance of expert mentors. Interns gain valuable experience and a sought-after discipline, thus increasing their employability,” says Raphulu.

Special initiatives are undertaken to increase the number of women in the broader field of resource efficiency and cleaner production, include free training for women registering during Women’s Month and recruiting and training female engineers, environmental scientists and natural scientists.

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“The first day I attended a user awareness course, other courses on offer were announced. I knew I have found something that I can sell – the value proposition that my business was looking for. I attended all the courses and today I am happy to say I have managed to build an energy consulting business based solely on the training received from the NCPC-SA.” Moses Mataung, energy consultant and EnMS and ESO Expert-level graduate.

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