A state-of-the-art solar lab has been inaugurated in New Delhi as part of NDMC’s (New Delhi Municipal Council) Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK) Smart City Center, with the objective of educating young people on the renewable energy sector in India, particularly solar. This is part of Schneider Electric India Foundation’s (SEIF) – the social-commitment arm of Schneider Electric India – ongoing skilling mission in the country for better employability of the youth. The centre has a capacity of skilling 4,000 youths annually and is a collaboration between National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), an executive arm of the ministry of skill development and entrepreneurship, and New Delhi Municipal Council Smart City Limited (NDMCSCL) as a part of the PMKK initiative.

Schneider Electric now has 10 functional renewable-energy training centres and 271 training centres conducting electrician-training initiatives across India. The training programme is of a three-month duration. The company has trained 85,000 unemployed youth since 2009. As per its own assessment, almost 70 per cent of them have either gone into jobs or are self employed. Of this, about 70 per cent are engaged as electricians. While there’s no data on how many of them end up working with Schneider Electric, the company claims to take on board skilled youth from their centres, provided that their basic qualifications match the local labour law requirements. In the solar sector, the company has trained more than 600 youth and plans to train another 1,500 technicians by March 2018. Globally, the company plans to train one million youth and 10,000 trainers, and support 10,000 entrepreneurs by 2025.

 In a press release shared with CB, Venkat Garimella, vice-president, CSR & Energy Efficiency, Schneider Electric, said, ‘At Schneider, we believe that access to sustainable energy is a basic human right. Considering the growing climate concerns, renewable energy is becoming a key source of energy generation worldwide. Today, lack of trained resources with relevant knowledge to construct and operate solar plants is a challenge within India’s workforce. This skill gap is increasingly seen as a barrier to realise the country’s renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022, with 100 GW expected to come alone from solar power. This leads to the need of right skill sets in the renewable energy sector. At Schneider Electric, the commitment to promote and provide access to safe and clean energy is at the core of its business philosophy.’