Minister of Science, Energy and Technology, Fayval Williams, says the Government is working to develop the energy sector and infrastructure to enable young persons to secure jobs in the field after obtaining the requisite training and experience. “As Energy Minister, I am passionate about our youth and providing them with opportunities so that they can achieve their full potential; and I believe that the area of energy is a good place for them to excel,” she said.
The Minister was speaking at the official launch of the Jamaica Public Service (JPS)/Marubeni Power International Innovation Lab (iLab) at JPS’s head office in New Kingston, recently. Williams noted that with renewable energy sources and other options, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG), becoming more widely incorporated in Jamaica’s energy mix, greater employment opportunities will be provided for the youth. “The energy sector is where all the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) converge, and our youth are living in a time where this convergence is changing the nature of the industry and providing tremendous job and career opportunities,” Williams said.
She noted that the energy revolution will require more electrical, civil and mechanical engineers, solar photovoltaic (PV) technicians, experts in wind systems and energy efficiency, and “a whole gamut of other professionals. Our power-generation plants are being made more efficient and we are also exploring the possibilities of electric vehicles, hence we will need expertise in all areas to build out the necessary infrastructure that we will need, and our young people will be a critical part of our energy plans,” she added.
Williams further pointed out that, globally, the renewable energy sector employed 11 million people in 2018, noting that employment in wind power supports 1.2 million jobs while 3.6 million jobs are in the solar PV industry. Meanwhile, the Energy Minister praised JPS and its parent company, Marubeni, for creating the iLab, which will produce young persons who are equipped with the skills and competencies to lead the energy revolution.
“I am aware that in addition to germinating fresh perspectives and approaches, the iLab will also create a connection to potential employees, providing new employment opportunities for graduates in the future, as well as provide interns and students with the opportunity to work on real business challenges and develop new and innovative models and solutions,” she said. Williams expressed the hope that “this facility will be an incubator for greatness and that the products and solutions that will be created here will change, not just Jamaica, but also the world”.
iLab, which was developed in consultation with the University of the West Indies (UWI), aims to provide students and university graduates with valuable work experience in the energy industry.