Developing Local Skills and Expertise (SED)

Led by the RPDC Consortium, this supports the development of skills and expertise to support early-stage testing and scale-up of innovative technologies and business models.


SED builds the skills and expertise required on the African continent to scale up energy access through tailored academic programmes and talent management.

This component of the TEA is being managed by the University of Cape Town and comprises two programmes, the TEA Learning Partnership (TEA-LP) and the Off-Grid Energy Talent Development Initiative (OGTI).


TEA Learning Partnership

The TEA Learning Partnership aims to build the necessary human capital to achieve SDG 7 and increase access to affordable, clean and safe energy for all. The TEA-LP is supporting 8 universities across Africa to develop new postgraduate curricula for the energy access sector. Partner universities are provided with both financial and technical support to develop their new courses and degree programmes.

The universities include:

  • Mekelle University – Ethiopia
  • University of Port Harcourt – Nigeria
  • National University of Lesotho - Lesotho
  • Strathmore University – Kenya
  • Moi University – Kenya
  • University of Malawi – The Polytechnic – Malawi
  • Gulu University – Uganda
  • Pan-African University Institute of Water and Energy Sciences - Algeria

Each university is developing their own curriculum based on their strengths and informed by their market engagement with their regional energy access sector stakeholders. Across all programmes, however, the following core TEA-LP principles apply:

  • Responsive to sectoral needs – each university commences with a market needs assessment which they use these in the design of their outcomes driven curriculum;
  • Multidisciplinary – to produce well rounded graduates with diverse skillsets and competencies,
  • Gender mainstreaming – in both course content and classroom and teaching settings;
  • Soft skills – emphasizing the development of soft skills together with discipline/subject specific knowledge and competencies.
  • Sustainability – each partner will also develop a comprehensive business plan and marketing strategy to ensure operational success.

In its next phase, the TEA-LP will add up to 8 more universities to the partnership, and continue to facilitate connections between academia and industry, including industry-led student research, guest lectureships by industry and funding for graduate internships.

The TEA-LP is hosted by the African Climate and Development Institute at the University of Cape Town. The ACDI is UCT’s collective response to the challenge of climate change in the context of sustainable development in Africa.

It is an inter- and transdisciplinary research and training institute co-generating new evidence and innovations to solve Africa’s climate and development challenges.

Find out more at TEA-LP.


Off-Grid Energy Talent Development Initiative (OGTI)

The overarching objective of this initiative is to improve the skills and expertise of African talent and to facilitate the pursuit of careers in the off-grid energy sector. In response to key market needs expressed by off-grid energy enterprises, this project aims to support talent development at junior and mid-management levels in off-grid energy enterprises through a graduate work placement programme and a mid-management development programme, as well as supporting the implementation of the sister TEA Academic Support Programme.

The project will consist of the following components:


Graduate work placement programme

The graduate work placement programme is aimed at addressing the ‘education-employment gap’ by providing young professionals who have little or no previous work experience with a structured learning experience in organisations working in the sector.

Shortlist has been appointed as the service provider for this programme. Shortlist has significant experience matching people and job requirements. In this programme they match the skills of young graduates with the sector demand and place graduates in companies.

The first placements started in November 2019, and to date 56 candidates have been placed in companies. Jobs include Accountants, Business Development Associates, Analysts, Engineers, , Customer Care Representatives, Sales Agents, Special Projects Fellows, Data Analysts, Agroecology Fellows, Supply Chain, IT Support, amongst others. Placements of another 50 other candidates is currently underway.

Jacinta Mutevu, Manager, Finance & Operations Analysis, Sanergy
“Overall, I am super impressed with the quality of candidates I had to review and how closely they matched what we are looking for. The site is also very user friendly and it gave me an easy time to review. This may just end up being the most pleasant recruitment process I have gone through. Thank you for making it easy.” -

Esther Altorfer, Managing Director,
"Shortlist helped find great talent through the OGTI Clean Energy Leadership Program. The Shortlist team was professional and efficient, listened to what our needs were, and found strong entry profiles that have contributed real value to our team. It has been a real game-changer to have young, smart and open-minded young talent joining at no financial risk for It's been a great resource to have Shortlist's top recruitment services at no charge, and UKAID and Carbon Trust's program is an excellent opportunity to help energy access companies to scale." -

Valerie Meyo, HR Fellow at MKopa Solar
“The OGTI program helped me find the fellowship at MKopa, which has been an amazing experience. I’ve grown in self confidence, taken on impressive responsibilities, and have stepped out of the box and surprised myself with what I can actually do given the autonomy and support I have from the MKopa team. Thanks to Shortlist, UKAID, and the Carbon Trust.”

Read more on the Placement programme


Mid management training programme

The mid-management training programme ‘Empowering Managers’ targets mid-level managers in off-grid companies. The objective of this programme is to equip middle management, team leaders and supervisors with soft skills to lead dispersed teams, manage rapid growth, create a performance culture, and help front line staff to become more productive.

African Management Institute (AMI) enables ambitious businesses across Africa to thrive, through practical tools and training. AMI programmes combine online and mobile tools with experiential in-person workshops and on-the-job practice and support.

The first two cohorts of the Empowering Managers programme, who started in October 2019, have now graduated. See some of their stories below. Currently 160 professionals from various countries including Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire and Nigeria are in various stages of their training. 51% of participants in the management programme are female managers. This is exciting, in a sector where only 35% of the employees are female and even less have a managing function.

Susan Blixen Nderitu, Procurement and Logistics Associate, Biolite, Kenya
"I have been able to lead myself better and thus leading others. The course on self-management has helped me to be very curious and gracious with people. This has improved my people skills and relationships with people at work."

David Lumatete- Installation and Maintenance Manager, Sunami Solar
“I have empowered one employee through my leadership story ... I am already seeing the results as his work productivity has increased. Planning is also a lot easier when I use the tools from the programme."

Ida Ogembo - Assistant Manager Retention, Dlight Solar, Kenya:
"The most valuable lesson I’ve taken away from this training is that in order to successfully lead others, you must learn to effectively lead yourself. While this seems like a simple concept, it can be challenging for many managers. Learning how to accept criticism and feedback from team members is difficult and uncomfortable, but crucial for continuing to learn, grow and develop important leadership skills.

“Through feedback I’ve received, I’ve changed my approach when strategizing with my team members. Instead of just giving out assignments and instructions, I create more of a collaborative discussion. Learning and implementing this has helped develop a strong mutual respect among my team and coworkers, which has improved communication, efficiency and morale."

Read more on the Management Training


Provide inputs into the Transforming Energy Access Academic Partnership

The aim is to develop greater synergies between universities and industry needs. The service provider’s role will be to help establish those feedback loops from industry to academic and strengthen linkages with the market. Their activities may include providing expert input into curricula, sitting on curriculum advisory committees, advising on industry needs, training university staff on pedagogy and teaching methods to inculcate critical thinking and problem solving skills, facilitating linkages for graduate work placements, industry-relevant dissertations etc.

Read more on the TEA - Learning Partnership

Gender and wider inclusion considerations

Gender and wider inclusion considerations will be mainstreamed throughout all project components. In addition to diversity targets for beneficiaries, all training materials in intern and mid-management courses will include gender sensitisation content. This could include training on the gender dimensions of energy access; recognising and understanding bias, sensitisation of how organisational culture and communication affect women and other minorities, and how to create an inclusive work environment.

In addition issues like female mentors and peer networks for female course participants will be established or linked with existing Women in Energy country networks.

Read more about ACDI

Low Carbon Energy for Development Network

Partnerships for Skills Development

LCEDN has been funded to deliver an integrated 18-month' Partnerships for Skills Development’ programme of activities via two major streams of work:

LCEDN Programme of Skills Development and Research/Innovation Integration - mobilising and developing energy and development capacities and expertise across research and innovation communities in North and South, at the same time as focusing on strengthening the coordination of UK energy and development research and innovation.

Specific Capacity Building Alliances - with key partners and stakeholders through which specific knowledge and skills can be nurtured and developed, including the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP), the Africa Sustainability Hub (ASH), the ENERGIA international network on gender and sustainable energy, Energy 4 Impact (E4I), Engineers Without Borders UK (EWB-UK), the International Conference on Developments in Renewable Energy Technologies (ICDRET), the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Practical Action (PA), the Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng), the Smart Villages Initiative (SVI) and the UK Collaborative on Development Sciences (UKCDS).

Read more about LCEDN

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