In an initiative to develop the practical skills of engineering students at Egypt’s universities, the country’s New and Renewable Energy Authority (NREA) is organising training courses on clean energy applications that are in demand in the labour market.
Essam El-Sayed, director of the authority’s solar energy department, said Egypt’s public and private universities have been cooperating in the project since last year.
He told Al-Fanar Media that the authority’s General Administration of Training and Promotion regularly offered courses to students.
The training subjects include renewable energy, wind energy, solar thermal technology, photovoltaic cell technology, and energy conservation, El-Sayed said. As long as there are at least ten interested students, they can apply to the New and Renewable Energy Authority for training in any of those fields.
Professional experts run the training courses, and participants receive a certificate from the authority once they have completed and passed one of the courses.
The training subjects include renewable energy, wind energy, solar thermal technology, photovoltaic cell technology, and energy conservation, said Essam El-Sayed, director of the New and Renewable Energy Authority’s solar energy department.
With Egypt preparing to host the COP27 climate-change conference next month in Sharm El-Sheikh, El-Sayed said he thinks the training dovetails with the government’s plans to encourage the use of renewable energy in industry, agriculture and tourism.
Renewable energy applications could include small wind systems for generating electricity and solar water heating systems for homes, hotels and industries, he said.
New Opportunities in the Labour Market
Reham Abdul Ghaffar, a solar energy training expert, said the authority and specialised colleges were coordinating the training programmes. University students and graduates can take the courses for a nominal contribution of 1,500 Egyptian pounds (about $76).
Each course lasts five days, with only one day of theory followed by three days of practice. On the last day, the participants take theoretical and practical exams, after which they receive a certificate from the New and Renewable Energy Authority, which is affiliated with the Egyptian Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy.
Ghaffar said it was hoped the project would create new opportunities in the labour market since most countries are trying to go green to tackle climate change. She added that the nominal amount students pay for training goes to the New and Renewable Energy Authority’s laboratories.
Practical Experience for Students
Abdullah Hatem, a student at the Faculty of Energy and Environmental Engineering at the British University in Egypt, took one of the New and Renewable Energy Authority’s courses.
“The training helps us qualify for the labour market in any company working in solar energy,” he told Al-Fanar Media. “I would advise all colleges that offer this specialisation to encourage their students to obtain this training, because of its great benefit in showing how to apply theoretical curricula in practice.”
Hatem said that during the training students learned how to dismantle and install all the components of solar water heaters. He added that he hoped there would be more training to support what they had learned.
The project hopes to create new opportunities in the labour market since most countries are trying to go green to tackle climate change, said Reham Abdul Ghaffar, a solar energy training expert.
Amr Noshy, a student at the same faculty, agreed, saying it was the first course he had done which had given him practical experience, rather than just theory, in solar energy.
He noted that the British University in Egypt had created its Faculty of Energy and Environmental Engineering, with departments specialising in renewable mechanical power engineering and other renewable energy branches, precisely because of the labour market’s increasing demand for such skills.
The NREA course that Noshy completed last month was a collaboration between the New and Renewable Energy Authority and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization on the concepts of installing and maintaining solar water heaters.
“I initially expected that the training would be more theoretical than practical,” Noshy told Al-Fanar Media. But it turned out that “we had a practical training opportunity that greatly helped the organisers achieve their teaching goals.”
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To read more about sustainable development challenges in the Arab world and the COP27 climate-change conference, see Climate and Environment, an archive of Al-Fanar Media’s reporting on these issues.