At the Solar Industry Networking Group held in Cambridge this past September the question was put to the crowd ‘How many of you have been in solar for more than two years?’ Only a few hands went up.
That response underscores how very new the industry is, and how much training is needed.
This is a time of rapid economic and industry sector change. As traditional manufacturing and the jobs it provides disappear, new industries requiring new skill sets are emerging.
Our economic survival and ability to compete globally requires that we help workers adapt quickly to new job descriptions.
Shawn DeBruyn, Corporate Training Consultant at Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning says that because of the College’s existing Continuing Education and Corporate Training divisions, they can react to the changes and industry needs very quickily. As a result they have been able to set up and offer training in renewable and solar energy technology. He says that with the speed of this new solar industry’s emergence and growth, there hasn’t been time for many post-secondary educational institutions to set up a full-time degree or diploma program, but the need is definitely there.
DeBruyn says Conestoga has moved to fill the solar knowledge gap with a Three year diploma - Energy Systems Technologist program, along with a number of Continuing Education and online courses under the title of Renewable Energy and Green Solutions. There are courses that cover the kind of basic information homeowners might want if they’re considering using solar panels on their roofs to qualify for the Ontario government’s Micro-FIT program as well as courses that feature advanced information suitable for electricians or engineers looking to generate income from solar work. For information on these courses follow this link to Renewable Energy and Green Solutions
As well, Conestoga is partnering with the Solar Living Institute in Hopland California (a leading provider of green technology training) to offer an Online Solar PV Design and Installation Training course.
It is about 40 hours and offers training in designing, installing and maintaining solar energy installations. Visit our site for information on how to register.
DeBruyn says Conestoga also won the contract to run a six month program in renewable energy on the Six Nations reserve that provides training in geothermal, solar, solar-thermal and LEED- core concepts, as well as courses like business, math, computer and safety training related to green energy.
Conestoga also plans to offer this as a public program in the future.
In addition to their online and campus offerings, DeBruyn says that the Corporate Training division of the College is able to offer tailor-made corporate training for solar or other renewable energies to companies that need more training for their employees. These programs can be offered on site or at a Conestoga campus
For enquires please contact Shawn DeBruyn firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-748-5220 ext 2456.
Originally published in the Business Times for November, 2010. Story written by: Jan Dean