TAPSEC Investing in Caribbean Labour for a Sustainable, Climate Resilient Future

With significant advancements planned and underway in policy, regulation, and financing for sustainable energy solutions in the Caribbean, growing the technical capacity of the region’s labour force is paramount in the transition plan to a low-carbon future. 

The inaugural CARICOM Regional Energy Apprenticeship Programme (REAP), according to Simon Zellner, Programme Lead of the Technical Assistance Programme for Sustainable Energy in the Caribbean (TAPSEC), “is an investment in creating a diverse pool of Caribbean-trained sustainable energy professionals to secure the sector’s future.”  

The REAP, is a paid apprenticeship with placements lasting between three (3) months to twelve (12) months. The programme, which is open to recent graduates (< 2 years), postgraduate students or final year undergraduate students enrolled in a sustainable energy-specific or any energy-related programme within the Caribbean, guarantees valuable on-the-job experience with relevant regional agencies and institutions. In addition to being remunerated, successful candidates will also benefit from mentorship, professional development and networking opportunities.

Interested candidates will be placed in one of 12 key areas of the sustainable energy sector, which include: energy statistics and information management; communications and knowledge management; energy education and research; energy analytics and decision support; energy policy and regulatory affairs; energy diplomacy; energy economics; renewable energy; energy efficiency; power systems; project finance; and project management.

Successful candidates will serve the duration of their apprenticeship at one of six (6) regional institutions. These include, the Energy Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (CCREEE), the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), the Caribbean Electric Utility Service Corporation (CARILEC), the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), and the CARICOM Development Fund (CDF).

According to TAPSEC’s former Capacity Development Expert, Ms. Meshia Clarke REAP will help solve the challenge of unemployment in the field. “One of the main challenges impacting the sustainable energy transition in the Caribbean is the limited available opportunities for regional practitioners and professionals to work or access available job openings in the sustainable energy field, the REAP aims to serve as a platform for the region’s emerging energy cohort” according to Meshia Clarke, former Capacity Development Expert of the TAPSEC. 

The 2018 Annual Review on Renewable Energy and Jobs by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) notes that “jobs in the [sustainable energy] sector could rise from 10.3 million in 2017 to 23.6 million in 2030 and 28.8 million in 2050.” 

Despite an expected increase in employment numbers for renewable energy sector, research from an International Labour Organisation (ILO) 2011 study on Skills and Occupational Needs in Renewable Energy indicates a dearth of female professionals in technical positions in the renewable energy sector . The ILO went further to plug the need for increased training opportunities for women to be empowered to overcome cultural and social barriers including vocational guidance and incentives for participation. In its thrust to advance gender parity within the region’s sustainable energy sector, TAPSEC has adopted a gender-focused approach across programmatic areas, and particularly within the capacity development component. 

The REAP is the brainchild of the Energy Unit of the CARICOM Secretariat and is an intervention of the European Union and the German Federal Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation (BMZ) funded TAPSEC. The TAPSEC is implemented by the GIZ in collaboration with CARICOM Secretariat and the Ministry of Energy and Mines in the Dominican Republic. 

For more information on the REAP visit: tapsec.org/reap