To upskill professionals with degrees in the engineering industry and natural sciences, the National Cleaner Production Centre of South Africa (NCPC-SA) has added an expert level course in Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP) to its range of offerings that already includes Energy Management System (EnMS) and Energy System Optimisation (ESO) courses.
NCPC-SA skills development manager Wynand van der Merwe comments that there is currently no specific qualification that provides engineers with these particular skills sets. Conducting these RECP, EnMS and ESO assessments involves a very particular methodology and mode of practice. It also relies on application of particular technology, he adds.
“The purpose of these assessments is to enable engineers to identify savings opportunities that will help reduce companies’ energy and water consumption, as well as improve their waste and material management.”
Van der Merwe asserts that the training on EnMS implementation and RECP assessments is conducted over twelve months and involves the implementation of the solutions and recommendations made during the assessment phase, resulting in substantial savings on the cost of production.
A two-day end-user training course is offered in each of the disciplines offered. These courses are classroom-based theoretical training and it is compulsory for candidates to attend both days to gain access to the programme on an expert level.
Further, he notes that the expert programmes consist of classroom-based training, combined with actual experiential training at a selected host-plant over a number of days. Once the initial training is completed, the candidates are then required to complete their own individual assessments at different plants to the one where the original training took place. On average, eight separate plants benefit from each expert level course offered. Across the seven disciplines, one expert course per discipline is offered every year.
Learner performance is assessed through a combination of practical workplace-based assignments, participation in webinars and a final written exam. “A combination of the exam results and the performance of the students during the experiential phase determines whether they have been successful in the course,” Van der Merwe explains.
Van der Merwe highlights that the significance of qualifying as experts in RECP and energy efficiency is that these experts become eligible to be contracted by either the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) or the NCPC-SA to conduct assessments as well as training.
Unido has already contracted South African qualified experts as trainers in many other countries implementing the Industrial Energy Efficiency project, which was established in 2010 in response to the growing need to improve the energy efficiency of South Africa and others such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Ukraine, Mayanmar and others.Van der Merwe emphasises that once individuals have completed the training successfully, they will be sufficiently skilled to conduct RECP or energy assessments according to NCPC-SA standards, and produce a report that can easily be converted into an investment grade report.
“An investment grade report can be presented to the bank or any government incentive scheme, to obtain financial assistance for implementing cost saving solutions.” he explains.
Further, he points out that as part of its commitment to green skills development, the NCPC-SA recently worked with the Energy and Water Services Sector Education and Training Authority and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) to develop two new occupational qualifications in energy efficiency. Both these qualifications are currently being processed by the QCTO before being submitted to the South African Qualifications Authority for final approval and National Qualifications Authority registration.
Another important initiative is the implementation of a 12-month RECP internship programme, available to engineering and natural science graduates. “This programme aims to develop unemployed graduates as RECP practitioners. This will improve their employability significantly and will result in the majority of interns being employed by the companies where they are placed during the course of their internship,” Van der Merwe concludes.