The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Associations – Alliance (REEEA-A), hosted a career fair, first of its kind, designed to facilitate the matching of competences with available opportunities within Nigeria’s clean energy sector. The career fair – ENERGIZE! – was organised and implemented in collaboration with the Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP), a technical assistance programme co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Power. Human resources (HR) advisory was provided by foremost consultants, Phillips Consulting Limited (pcl.) and West Africa Vocational Education (WAVE), a social venture focused on screening, training, and placing local talents.
The pilot fair, which targets two major Nigerian cities, kickstarted in Lagos with the participation of over 25 companies in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector and over 115 professionals seeking to pivot or advance their careers in the clean energy sector.
In a keynote address, the Honourable Minister of Power, Abubakar ALIYU, represented by the Director, Renewable and Rural Power Access, Engr. Abubakar Ali-Dapshima, noted that, “the Nigerian renewable energy (RE) and energy efficiency (EE) sector has continues to grow rapidly, leading to a heightened need for a skilled workforce to support the strengthening of power and energy access initiatives of government, sector actors and partners.”
Welcoming participants on behalf of the REEEA-A Steering Committee, Dr. Aminu ISA, highlighted the importance of sector collaborations as a key driver of the expected growth in the energy sector. “As an Alliance of associations within the RE and EE sector, we are very much interested in joining synergy to improve the quality and standards of RE and EE technologies, while also strengthening capacity in terms of knowledge generation and skills distribution,” he said.
In a goodwill message, the Head of Section, Green and Digital Economy at the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms Inga STEFANOWICZ, said: “Youth and job creation is a major KPI for the EU in Nigeria and we are happy to support the implementation of this activity that contributes to multiple Sustainable Development Goals in one go, particularly the creation of decent work within the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector to foster economic growth in the country.”
The Head of Programme, NESP, Mr Duke BENJAMIN represented by Mr. Olumide Fatoki, Head of Unit Sustainable Energy Access NESP emphasised the commitment of the programme to reinforcing the skills and capacity force in the sector. “With the support of our funding and implementation partners, this career fair is only the first step we are taking towards establishing a skills-matching collaboration platform that will end up creating career pathways and quality opportunities for the skilled workforce in the rapidly growing power sector”, he said.
Following the successful completion of the ENERGIZE! career fair in Lagos, REEEA-A, NESP and their partners will host the Abuja leg of the fair on April 12. Over 100 professionals are expected to physically participate in the Abuja event, with capacity provided for an additional 250 to participate virtually.
The Nigerian Energy Support Programme (NESP) is a 48 million Euro technical assistance programme co-funded by the EU and the BMZ and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with the FMP. It aims to foster investments for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and to improve access to electricity for disadvantaged, rural communities.
Meanwhile, experts said at the first day of the event that Nigerians do waste power and people should be cautious in its usage.
It is a fact that in the industrial sector, 40% of cost of production comes from energy and if companies don’t make much profit, they will reduce their work force while International Energy Agency (IEA), has emphasised energy efficiency.
Recently, President Muhammadu Buhari was in Glasgow, Scotland and promised that by 2060 the country will attain net zero emission, to achieve this, the IEA said only energy efficiency will make it attainable.
The experts reveal that currently, Nigeria does not have up to 150 professionals working in the energy efficiency space with huge gaps in the power sector. Japan for instance has over 200,000 Mega Watts (MW) as at 2013, but Nigeria is still struggling with over 3000 MW.
They said Nigeria lack professionals in the power sector and few available ones cannot cover the gap hence the country needs to make effort to close its power gap before 2025.
Since transportation plays vital role in boosting economy, Nigeria needs efficient transport system with professionals to enhance the sector. Energy is mostly used for transportation and the building sectors. There is need to get professionals for the sectors to thrive in order to achieve desired results.