How will the collaboration between Enlight & Signify Foundation offer skill-based training to youth?
The off-grid solar industry is evolving. Millions of youth worldwide are unemployed, uneducated and un-engaged. They are frustrated at how they are locked out of local decision-making as well as economic and life opportunities. These disengaged, disenfranchised youth are a growing concern of governments and various international organizations.
Young people are the future of an increasingly sophisticated and interconnected world in which those who have skills will find employed much more easily than those who are unskilled. Training is important at a time when many unskilled jobs are disappearing rendering the youth to be three times more unemployed than their elders. With one fourth of Uganda’s population aged under 19, young people have the potential to be key contributors in the growth of the local communities and economies. In response to this opportunity, Signify Foundation has partnered with Enlight to narrow the unemployment gap.
In 1999 the United Nations declared 12th August as International Youth Day. The goal of celebrating the International Youth Day is to celebrate the role of young men and women as essential partners in change, an opportunity to create awareness about the problems and challenges facing the youth of today. This year’s theme is centered on the efforts to make education more inclusive and accessible for all youth.
In Uganda, Decentralized Renewable Energy (DRE) companies account for 10,000 formal workers who are employed directly. Between 2022-2023, the 10,000 is expected to grow by 70%. By comparison, the state utility UMEME employs 1,514 formal workers (2018). DREs are creating double the number of informal jobs compared to the formal jobs and is still on the rise. Research from Power4All’s just-released Powering Jobs report indicates that renewable energy employs 11 million people globally, yet only 2% of these jobs are in sub-Saharan Africa. However, it estimates that strong investments & evolution in the solar space, employment growth is projected at 29% by 2022-2023.
Enlight began as a travelling solar academy concept developed in 2016, with the launch and incorporation in 2018. Since then we have trained over 40 solar technicians and sales trainers, developed solar curriculum for Ugandan national certifications standards, won contracts to train over 300 youth as technicians over the next two years, and are working with a number of Ugandan solar companies on solving their last mile HR needs.
Enlight’s partnership with Signify Foundation bridges the unemployment gap in the ever-growing solar industry, by equipping youth with the solar technical, sales and professional skills to join the industry. We focus on achieving gender diversity within the solar sector by opening career opportunities for rural women in particular. We look forward to empowering more youth to join the employment sector or be independent contractors and continuing to solve the human capital challenge at the last mile for clean & renewable energy.