Young people looking to join the Energy space in Africa struggle to find internship opportunities to gain work experience that is often a prerequisite to enter into the job market. They also struggle to pay for certification programs, another entry barrier into the industry. On average, energy certification programmes cost over $100 each, an amount that is high for most of the unemployed youth to pay for themselves. Eenovators Limited, an energy consulting company, is working to address these challenges through its Youth In Energy Empowerment Program (YEEP), an initiative that offers mentorship, training and internship opportunities to young people to gain the necessary industry skills to find employment in the renewable energy sector.
The program was launched on 19 January 2021 in partnership with the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) through the Water and Energy for Food (WE4F) programme with ten young people, seven men and three women, all from Kenya. Its aim was to equip the young graduates, aged between 21-30 years, with the essential skills and professional training required to not only position them for employment but to effect behavioural change within the energy industry. The program entailed an energy management technician course and essential skills training in the first phase followed by mentorship and a six months internship in the second phase.
The young trainees underwent six months of industrial attachment with companies in the Agri-Food sector (with a focus on tea, horticulture, and cold storage). During this period, they conducted energy and water audits and installed smart metres that enabled real-time monitoring of energy and water consumption for the facilities. The implementation of these measures led to visible increases in productivity, food sustainability and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
The first cohort graduated on 23 October 2021 during World Energy Day annual celebrations held in Kampala, Uganda. They all managed to find jobs within the energy industry as a result of the marketable skills they had gained from the program.
The outpouring interest in the program from other young graduates in Kenya and beyond has led to the expansion of the program to other countries. In 2022, for its second cohort, the program recruited 30 young graduates from Kenya and Uganda. They have already completed the training phase of the program and are waiting to be placed in organisations for their internship.
One of the major challenges that the YEEP program faces is the overwhelming number of applicants, and unfortunately, all cannot be accommodated due to financial constraints. Eenovators Limited is calling for funders and sponsors to support the YEEP Program, to empower as many young African people as possible. To learn more about how you can support the program, visit https://eenovators.com/yeep-sponsorship/
It has also been a big challenge to get organisations to come on board and host the trainees for their internship. As hosts, they not only support the young people to grow their careers but they also benefit from having a trained professional guide them on how to adopt positive behavioural change and implement energy efficiency projects and measures.. Cohort two trainees are heading for their internships in September, and a call for organisations to participate in the program as host sites is ongoing. Apply to be a host site here.
Eenovators hopes to automate the program to allow youth from across the continent to access the valuable training material and be assessed and certified as energy managers capable of transforming the energy sector in Africa. Additionally, through partnerships with organisations across the continent, the YEEP program can offer practical skills through internships and job placements after completion of the program. The future is bright for African youth with a passion for the energy industry as the Youth in Energy Empowerment Program (YEEP) serves as the springboard for career growth and skills development.
Testimonial from a YEEP Cohort 1 graduate:
“YEEP has been an amazing experience for me. I have acquired different skills both in technical classes and the essential skills sessions. It has empowered me as a youth and has given me an amazing experience. I’m excited to meet my mentor and learn from a more experienced professional. Thanks for this opportunity Eenovators Limited,” Gloria Maruti
Emily is the Strategy and World Energy Day Coordinator at Eenovators Limited. She also handles digital communications and supports trainees in the YEEP program.