The South African Wind Energy Association (Sawea) has launched a programme to connect leading women in the energy sector with senior students at South African universities and young professionals currently entering the energy sector.
The WindAc Africa Mentoring Programme seeks to promote the professional and personal development of youth who are interested in pursuing careers in the energy sector.
The programme will also proactively address issues of gender and transformation in the wind sector by connecting male and female students with exclusively female mentors.
This approach will be pursued to sensitise the next generation of male leaders to the challenges faced by women in the energy sector, according to the Call-for-Mentors statement.
“It is intended that, when they enter the workplace, they will promote gender inclusivity and contribute to changing workplace culture,” the statement reads.
This programme also moves to specifically grow future energy leaders in the wind sector and to address issues of transformation in the renewable-energy sector generally.
“Transformation of the four-year-old South African renewable-energy sector requires specific programmes focused on actively addressing the value chain within renewable power,” says Sawea CEO Brenda Martin.
She explains that the programme aims to contribute to the work of transforming the leadership of the industry over time, emphasising that it is part of Sawea’s commitment.
The structure of the mentoring programme includes matching mentors with mentees, establishing mutual commitments of time, and ongoing advisory and guidance. The first cohort of mentors and mentees will be announced at the WindAc conference, which will be held from November 14 to 15 in Cape Town.
Sawea will facilitate the first meeting at the conference, where the mentors and mentees will be paired and will commit to participating in the programme for ten months.
The parties can agree on a mentoring focus that may include aspects, such as receiving an independent perspective on career paths, providing networking opportunities and insights on how to maintain a good work-life balance, according to the Call-for-Mentors statement.
Sawea will also provide details of other areas of transformation-related work programmes over the next few months.