Preparing Palestine Refugee Youth in Jordan to Work with Sustainable Energy

02 August 2017
© 2017 UNRWA Photo by Viola Bruttomesso

“I heard about the UNRWA Wadi Seer Training Centre through my friends, and I decided to join the solar panel course in 2016,” says 20-year-old Mahmoud. “It’s definitely an amazing specialization, and it provides you with several job opportunities.”

Mahmoud is one of the 70 students currently enrolled in the solar panel construction, maintenance and installation course at the Wadi Seer Training Centre, one of two UNRWA Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) centres in Amman, which collectively benefit approximately 2,400 students in Jordan each year. Integrated into the TVET curriculum in 2015, the course gives students the skills and hands-on training they need to work with solar panels. It also complements the Agency’s broader efforts in Jordan to ensure and promote sustainable energy provision. In the last three years, UNRWA in Jordan has installed solar panels at three of its installations: the South Amman Area Office, the Baqa’a Camp Health Centre and Jabal al-Taj School. With the amount of sunlight Jordan receives – nearly 3,000 hours of sunshine per year – solar power is an untapped renewable energy source with the potential to transform Jordan’s energy sector.

According to Khaled Abu al-Hayja, Director of the Wadi Seer Training Centre, the new course was established in order to respond to the growing demand for solar panel engineers across the country. “Nowadays, solar panel technology is becoming increasingly popular in Jordan, given the economic benefits that come with it, such as the reduction of electrical bills,” he explains. “As a vocational and technical training centre, we have to be able to keep up with the fast-paced development of technology and the constantly changing demands of the labour market.”

© 2017 UNRWA Photo by Viola Bruttomesso

Speaking about the new course, Dr. Jehad al-Jundi, a senior technical instructor at the TVET centre, remarks, “We set up the solar panel workshop two years ago thanks to the support of trainees’ expertise from other courses here at the Wadi Seer Training Centre – they handled the furnishing and equipping phase. The carpenters contributed by making the furniture, while the electrical engineers set up the electrical system. This workshop should have cost JOD 40,000, but we managed to establish it with only JOD 15,000.”

For students like Mahmoud, developing skills in innovative industries like renewable energy opens a whole new set of doors for their future. “Once I have finished my studies, I will look for work in this field,” he says. “It’s not a very common specialization yet, but the future and the whole world are going in that direction.”