In 2015, Dudley College entered into a British Council International Skills Partnership with Goldfields College in South Africa in order to help develop an accredited Solar Photovoltaic training centre and associated facilities. Together with Bradford College and other British partnerships, we provided good practice and expertise in delivering solar power programmes, including:
- Training Goldfields teachers on the practical aspects of installing, maintaining and commissioning Solar Photovoltaic equipment;
- Providing teacher training workshops;
- Working with Goldfields College to obtain accreditation from City and Guilds
As a result of this, Goldfields launched a new qualification in Renewable Energy Technology in January 2016, which gives students the skills they need to find employment in the Solar PV industry around the city of Welkom and South Africa as a whole. Goldfields is currently the only college in the region offering this programme, and so they will be targeting electricians from around South Africa in order to build the skills of the country’s workforce; already, almost 50 students have enrolled on the course.
In the UK, we have brought local Solar company Sun Solar into the partnership, who have provided technical support and expertise to Goldfields; this relationship has now expanded to other international projects in Jordan and Indonesia.
With the success of this project a foundation has been established upon which Goldfields’ solar academy will go from strength to strength. New courses in renewable energy have already been accredited and launched, forming part of the college’s ongoing curriculum, with improved employer links meaning that the college is more responsive to the needs of industry. The British Council now aims to progress this through an advanced follow-up project bringing Northern Cape College into the consortium – it is clear that this partnership has a sunny future!