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By 21 April 2022March 13th, 2023Press

By Tania Govender, National Sales Director at Worldwide Staffing

As South Africa gears itself toward the Independent Power Producer (IPP) market, the country is poised for economic growth and socio-economic development. Aside from bringing much needed electrical power generation capacity, these projects will also facilitate job creation, social upliftment, and local industry development. However, delivering the skills required for these projects – particularly in the rural areas where the renewable generation plants are being developed – can prove to be a challenge. In addition, there is the need to create long-term, sustainable economic development around projects that are temporary in nature. A Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider can assist on both counts and help to bridge the skills gap to assist with the successful deployment of IPPs.

Opportunities and challenges on the horizon

The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Program (REIPPPP) introduced designated local content, where 40% of an IPP project spend must be sourced locally. This ruling creates tremendous opportunity for our economy, including a significant positive impact on job creation since the REIPPPP bid window 5 is expected to create almost 14 000 jobs, and bid windows 6 and 7 are due to follow, with further opportunities.

However, it also creates challenges for the IPPs. Firstly, there is a shortage of locally available skills, as renewable energy is still new to South Africa. While there are individuals with the necessary certifications and qualifications, they often do not have experience specifically within the energy and renewable energy sectors. When it comes to engaging with ward councillors and community leaders, managing these relationships requires dedicated attention and a significant understanding of the South African market and labour force. Contentious issues like wage negotiations can increase the potential risk of strikes or unrest if they are not expertly and successfully managed, which could result in very costly delays.

Temporary problems

In addition to these challenges is the fact that the construction phase of each site requires certain skills only on a temporary or project basis, which can be quite difficult for an IPP to manage when trying to source the right talent. This includes civil, mechanical, electrical, and engineering skills, as well as new skills required to work with solar panels and inverters. A reputable TES provider can therefore be hugely beneficial in addressing these challenges.

A provider with experience in the energy sector as well as relationships in the communities can help IPPs to navigate and manage the intricacies of the relationships between the community and unions to mitigate any risks and concerns for the IPP. In addition, a TES can manage the full recruitment process together with the payroll, human resources, and industrial relations, and provide a pool of skills to draw from at short notice. TES also gives those with certifications and qualifications the ability to gain the necessary on-the-job skills training to meet demand and maximise future employment opportunities.

TES providers are committed to local economic development objectives and will continue to play a vital role in assisting IPPs to meet the local content target required by the REIPPPP. Success lies in partnering with a TES provider with a solid understanding of the renewable energy sector, the South African economic environment and local labour legislation. This enables IPPs to remain focused on their core function, which in turn ensures they can complete projects on time and within budget.



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