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Tuesday, 21 April 2015 | MYT 12:00 AM

Solar Academy to provide education and on-the-job training for underprivileged students

The future is looking bright for green technology growth in Malaysia as non-governmental organisation SOLS 24/7 Malaysia launches the country’s first-ever Solar Academy.

Solar Academy aims to provide underprivileged youth aged 17 to 28 with the technical skills, theoretical knowledge and practical experience in the solar industry.

“This has been a passion of our founder and the entire team to bring solar education to the poor and we are excited to see so many of you here for the official launch of the Solar Academy,” said SOLS 24/7 deputy chief executive officer Tim Spijker.

“Solar Academy will provide poor students with solar education, internships and on-the-job training with solar systems.

“This academy is the first of its kind in Malaysia dedicated to educating poor youths with solar and renewable energy knowledge and skills for future job placements,” said Spijker.

Spijker explained that Solar Academy students would be provided with an intensive one- month solar technician training programme, followed by an internship programme.

He added that Malaysia was one of the top 10 producers in the world of solar systems and there was ample solar energy in the country.

Solar Academy industry partner Solar NRJ Sdn Bhd technical director Joseph Koh echoed this sentiment, adding that the local solar industry was definitely picking up.

The self-proclaimed technopreneur Koh said he hoped that Solar Academy would get a lot more students and support in the future.

Along with Solar NRJ, other industry players like Russ Coara, Suria Infinity and Ecoknights are industrial partners of the Solar Academy, offering a two to six- month internship programme to the academy students.

The Solar Academy programme is launched by SOLS Tech, the technology arm of SOLS 24/7, in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) programme Volunteering for International Professionals (VIP), which is an initiative under the National Blue Ocean Strategy (NBOS).

“I understand that SOLS 24/7 has been working hard to get this Solar Academy launched, but has faced many hurdles before this,” said Finance Ministry National Strategic Unit director Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai.

He added however, with VIPs’ collaboration, SOLS 24/7 was able to progress further with their vision.

“I am glad that the government of Malaysia could also play a role in the SOLS 24/7 endeavour through this VIP programme,” said Sundaran.

The Solar Academy programme is catered specifically for underprivileged students who come from a household income of less than RM3,000 but candidates must have a basic command of English.

In addition to free training from the academy, students who enrol will also be provided with free meals and accommodation during the programme.

This academy is in line with SOLS 24/7’s desire to turn their entire youth development centre into a green school.

According to 24-year-old VIP volunteer Liu Chai Hong, the first batch of 34 students from all over Malaysia were inducted into the Solar Academy programme on April 6 and they will finish their technical training on April 30.

Student Dharshiniee, 18, said that her time during the classes has been very good.

The classes, scheduled from 9am to 3pm every day, teaches students about fundamental technical knowledge regarding energy and force, among others.