New program fast tracks students for jobs in renewable energy sector

Alberta program builds skills to take sustainable energy projects from concept to completion

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A new certificate the University of Alberta started offering this fall will help fast-track workers into the province’s rapidly growing renewable energy sector.

The Renewable Energy Technologies (RET) Certificate is the first of its kind in Alberta to offer learners the flexibility of online, part-time classes, without admission barriers. It can be completed in as little as one year, making it a viable option for working professionals to enhance their knowledge and for those actively seeking employment, said Nimmi Dua, lead program co-ordinator for the Faculty of Extension.

“The certificate gives energy professionals the knowledge and skills that employers want and need to effectively respond to renewable energy technologies advances.”

In Cana­da, Alber­ta is the province poised to see the most impres­sive growth, with jobs set to increase by 164 per cent over the next decade, accord­ing to the Clean Energy Canada 2021 report.

construction build solar panel alternate renewable energy power
The workforce in renewable energy is set to explode Photo by Science in HD on Unsplash

Nationally, the cur­rent work­force sits at 430,500 peo­ple, a num­ber expected to grow almost 50 per cent to 639,200 by 2030.

The RET certificate will be awarded to U of A to students who complete seven related courses in renewable energy, including wind and solar technologies.

The certificate offers foundational and mid-level expertise to professionals who want to devel­op, man­age or improve their under­stand­ing of the sustainable electricity sec­tor, including policy analysts, envi­ron­men­tal sector workers, project man­agers, indus­try exec­u­tives, project devel­op­ers and investors.

Collectively, the courses provide specific knowledge and skills in the field of renewable energy by helping individuals understand every step required to conceptualize, plan, initiate, operate and manage a sustainable energy project.

There’s a growing demand for such workers as climate change makes itself felt in events like continued unprecedented heat waves, wildfire and drought, noted lead course instructor Gabriel John Malashi.

“Renewable energy sources and efficient technologies are at the forefront of finding solutions to climate change, and industries and organizations are undergoing an energy transition,” he said.

“They need professionals who can provide the understanding and strategic solutions around the challenges and opportunities in the renewable energy space, and this certificate is designed to get people into that conversation.”

The engaged learning design of the courses encourages critical thinking and problem-solving by examining current energy events and issues through a lens of sustainable practices and building awareness of environmental, socio-economic, distribution and energy-access benefits.

Malashi said the courses offer a “two-way dialogue” between students and their instructors, with discussions of real-life energy issues as part of the lesson plan, such as a solar electricity project built in Fort Chipewyan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“It makes for meaningful learning as students try to gain insight into elements like best practices and very balanced and environmentally progressive policies around the world.”

| By Bev Betkowski


This article was submitted by the University of Alberta’s Folio online magazine. The University of Alberta is a Troy Media Editorial Content Provider Partner.

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Troy Media is an editorial content provider to media outlets and its own hosted community news outlets across Canada.

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