Worldwide, Schneider Electric is helping individuals, households, and communities gain access to energy using a variety of innovative, energy-efficient, and reliable solutions. These solutions range from portable solar lamps and solar home systems to community solutions like micro-grids and solar water pumping solutions.
Implementation of these systems, however, is just part of the larger process to improve access to energy – skills have to be available locally to operate and maintain these systems. To ensure such long-lasting local competencies, Schneider Electric supports and develops training programs in energy-related trades.
“Equipping members of disadvantaged communities with the relevant skills does more than help the communities get efficient and durable use of the systems. It also opens the door to employment and small-business opportunities, gives communities the essential keys to be self-sufficient, and further expands energy access,” said Gilles Vermot Desroches, Senior-Vice President Sustainability, Schneider Electric.
Funded by the Schneider Electric Foundation, training projects have three key priorities:
- basic training (full-time, evening, or weekend) over several months
- multi-year training leading to qualifications
- training of trainers to support effective roll-out of training down the line
Tailored for each particular region, training projects involve Schneider Electric’s local subsidiaries working in partnership with local players and/or national or international non-profit organizations. Where necessary, volunteers from the Schneider Electric Teachers association of current and retired employees are called upon to share their expertise.
Nigeria is one example of Schneider Electric’s commitment to training communities affected by energy poverty.
In 2014, under the Niger Delta Amnesty Program to rehabilitate ex-militants, Schneider Electric Nigeria, the government of Nigeria, and the French Ministry of Education collaborated to establish the Isaac Boro Energy Training College in Grenoble, France. The school, which has three well-equipped laboratories, has so far trained 30 Nigerian students under a one-year certificate course conducted in English.
Also in 2014, Schneider Electric partnered the European Institute for Cooperation and Development, Cummins, and CFAO Group to provide two-year degree-level training in electrotechnics at the Institute for Industrial Technology, a non-profit vocational school in Lagos, Nigeria. Thus far, 410 people have completed the training.
Since starting its Access to Energy Program in 2009, Schneider Electric has helped to train more than 73,000 people from more than 20 countries. It hopes to train 150,000 people by 2017, with the further goal of supporting one million young people by 2025.