TVET and the promotion of innovation for green employment

Project description

Title: TVET and the promotion of innovation for climate and environment-related employment; Skills for Green Jobs (S4GJ)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: South Africa
Lead executing agencies: Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET); Department of Science and Technology (DST)
Overall term: 2015 to 2017

South Africa. Recycle your waste © GIZ


There is a growing focus in South Africa on investing in a ‘green’ economy. The expansion of renewable energies and an orientation towards growth that conserves resources are regarded as important milestones in the country’s economic and social development.

In line with this, there are plans to construct power plants with a total capacity of 40,000 megawatts by 2030. Half of this energy is to be generated from renewable sources. Greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced by 34 per cent by 2020 and energy consumption is to be cut by 12 per cent by 2015. At the same time, these plans are expected to impact on the labour market, with estimates anticipating the creation of up to 400,000 new jobs in the ‘green’ economy. Environmentally friendly production standards and competitive energy costs will also preserve existing jobs and increase their quality.

In addition to a stable supply of ‘clean’ energy, the success factors for a ‘green’ economy are well-trained experts and appropriate technological solutions. Qualified managers, engineers, technicians and mechanics are needed in addition to technologies to increase the local manufacture of equipment for the energy sector, and for energy and resource-efficient production processes.

This need cannot currently be met by the universities, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) colleges and technology transfer institutions. They are not in a position to supply the experts and technologies required to operate a ‘green’ economy. In addition, only a limited number of experts with ‘green’ qualifications are being hired by companies, while corporate strategies only exist in some cases and cooperation between the key actors is unsatisfactory.


The individual, institutional and societal frameworks needed to provide qualified experts and adequate technologies for establishing a ‘green’ economy have been improved.


On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is working closely with the South African Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The aim is to improve coordination of ministries, TVET colleges, technology transfer institutions and companies. This is carried out in experiential learning projects: in a way that is practical, visible and replicable that use hands-on training and applied technology transfer, for example for:

  • the installation and maintenance of solar water heaters and photovoltaic systems,
  • water/wastewater and waste disposal management,
  • increasing energy and resource efficiency in production processes,
  • increasing local content in technological components for equipment that is used for renewable energies.

Three fields of coordinated action have been defined:

  1. Designing the frameworks of the experiential learning projects for ‘green’ capacity development and technology transfer
  2. Implementing the experiential learning projects
  3. Mainstreaming the lessons learned and knowledge transfer

In addition, a number of topics – gender, HIV/AIDS, climate change and the environment – cut across all fields of action and focus awareness on environmental sustainability.

The consulting firms PEM/Mesopartner, GFA/Wertsicht, Warenform, support the implementation of the project.


The South African-German Skills for Green Jobs initiative has already achieved some initial results:

  • Green College Initiative: all the public TVET colleges are involved in self-defined ‘green’ projects across the country.
  • At the start of 2015, the topic Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) was integrated into a three-year NC(v) programme at seven TVET colleges with 500 students. Lecturers at the TVET colleges are receiving ongoing training in this new subject. Teaching and learning materials have been developed and are now being used.
  • New occupational qualifications needed to implement the experiential learning projects, including those of a Solar Water Heater Installer and a PV Systems Installer, have been approved.
  • Experiential learning projects have been outlined.
  • The Green Economy Network has been established in the Eastern Cape, the priority province for German development cooperation.

Further Information