Energy, in South Africa has become one of the most talked about topics with the rolling blackouts of a few years ago and high tariff increases forcing this issue to the dinner table of every household in the country.

On a daily basis we see Eskom’s 49 million marketing campaign on billboards and televisions. This campaign asks consumers to switch off the lights and make intelligent selections around energy management and energy using devices. Apart from this marketing campaign, Eskom has also created a number of rebate and incentive programs aimed at motivating consumers of energy to reduce their consumption and make the changes they need more affordable. All of these actions are commendable and while progress is being made it’s not being made quickly enough.

As the Managing Director of an engineering company that focuses on Energy Efficiency I can tell you without any doubt that finding qualified individuals that can conduct Energy Efficiency Assessments is becoming a bigger and bigger problem with each month that goes by. I am in constant contact with a number of other CEO’s and Managing Directors of Energy Management companies and they all tell me they are having the same problems. There is lots of energy efficiency work out there but finding the people that have the skills we need to conduct this work is not easy and is throttling the growth of this industry.

What is needed are the skills required to aptly assess the requirements of companies and come up with viable and valuable solutions that merge cutting edge technological advances with behavioural change programs and then use the existing Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Eskom inventive and rebate programs to accurately show customers the financial opportunities associated with making specific changes. I hear you asking: What do I need to do to take advantage of this opportunity?

While we can’t all be Electrical or Mechanical Engineers this is not a specific requirement to playing a useful role within the Energy Efficiency job market. Yes, highly skilled Engineers are required when one is tasked with complex industrial site assessments and recommendations, but many of the opportunities are within the office, retail or residential space and the skills required to conduct successful assessments and make bankable recommendations do not require a qualified engineer.

It is with this in mind that our Academy has created an Introduction to Energy Efficiency course which aims to help individuals who want to play an active role in this new and exciting job market. This course is perfect for facility managers or individuals with no knowledge of energy efficiency at all but who want to begin a career in the energy efficiency space. On the 6th June 2012 the South African Government announced that it intends to create 300,000 new “Green jobs” by 2020. I would challenge this number as being too low when one considers all of the potential components of a Green Economy. One thing’s for sure, becoming a competent Energy Efficiency Assessor in a time when skills around the energy efficiency industry are in short supply will all but ensure that your future job is “recession proof”.