Advit Foundation is a Tata Institute of Social Sciences – School of Vocational Education (TISS-SVE) Hub Partner for B.Voc courses.
Renewable Energy Skilling: From CSR funded short programs to B.Voc Renewable Energy Technology – Advit Foundation’s journey – Mr. Chandramouli Guest Author
“When the colleges roll out degrees in Renewable Energy, when the students start paying for these courses and when solar power systems have an installation and repair ecosystem comparable to a typical home appliance, Solar Energy in India would be set to reach its true potential.”
The above is a vision statement that is discussed in many conferences. Not unlike other new and emerging technological interventions, renewable energy is also going through its journey from being a niche and expensive technology to a widely accepted, economical one.
In 2010, the Government of India launched the National Solar Mission with an intention to incorporate more renewable energy technology in its energy mix, which already had some amount of wind power but still mainly depended on thermal power plants. At its inception, the National Solar Mission targeted 20GW of Solar Energy by 2022 which was eventually revised in 2014. This opened up opportunities for job seekers and training providers alike.
In 2013, Advit Foundation (www.advit.org) initiated a skill upgradation program on solar energy, targeting vocational and engineering candidates. The “solar electrical training program” was implemented in Mahendergarh, Haryana with CSR support. The objective was to target the economically weaker sections and backward areas around Delhi NCR and provide them with a short course on Solar Energy that could add value to their profile. The target audience were ITI students and engineering college students from electrical, electronics, mechanical and related fields. The program was a great success and paved way for the future. A total of 200 candidates were trained in the basics of solar photovoltaic system design, installation and maintenance.
The targets of the National Solar Mission were revised in 2014 to 100 GW by 2022. In the same year, Advit Foundation received support from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to implement short 1- week long programs across Delhi NCR in Solar Photovoltaic Systems targeting vocational and engineering candidates. A total of 300 candidates were trained through these sessions. Having developed an in-house capacity for content creation and innovation, Advit’s approach to these 1-week programs has been unique. Advit adopted a “go to the student” approach. In conventional programs, the students would come to the training centre to get trained. In Advit’s case, the trainers decided to go to the students.
This made the program very flexible for the students as they did not have to worry about travelling to a training centre. Advit’s trainers would strike a partnership with the participating institutes (ITI and engineering colleges) and work out a suitable time to conduct this session for its students at the institute itself. However, a major challenge in this approach was the practical training. For this, Advit developed portable training kits in-house.
These kits have the capacity to conduct 6 key experiments and five such kits can be easily carried in a car. Students were divided in groups of five and each group used a kit for the practical training. This was very well received and subsequently, various corporate CSR support ensured that in the next 2 years, more than 2500 candidates were trained in these 1 -week programs. Most major ITI and engineering colleges across Delhi NCR were covered. The training kits were upgraded. Portable mini-power plants were also developed and used for practical training.
Advit’s vision for its solar skill development vertical was to eventually develop the short- term course into a formal program that is more rigourous with adequate practical exposure and which could be taken forward in a student paid mode. This led to an affiliation with TATA INSTITUTE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES- School of Vocational Education (www.sve.tiss.edu) to impart the 3 -year Bachelor of Vocational Education degree (B.Voc) in Renewable Energy Technology. Advit Foundation became affiliated in 2018 and initiated its first batch of B.Voc aspirants in July 2018. The B.Voc is a recognized 3- year graduation degree program that emphasizes on 360 hours of on-the-job training with an industry partner in every semester, which is unlike any other technical degree program in the country.
The program is intended to bridge the gap between the classroom teaching and the actual industry requirements. The program also comprises 90 hours of technical classroom training and 180 hours of general employability skills. This is designed to address the rising concern of poor employability skills among fresh graduates in the country. In partnership with TISS-SVE, Advit Foundation intends to take forward B.Voc – Renewable Energy Technology and many other diploma and certification courses in renewable energy and electric vehicles.