The solar energy industry has potential for significant growth in Canada. There are more than 43,000 solar (PV) energy installations on rooftops of homes and businesses providing power directly to them, according to the Canadian Renewable Energy Association. There is also a need among solar installation companies to hire entry-level Solar Energy Technicians.
Relay Education’s Green Careers Program provides job training opportunities for youth. In early 2022, Relay developed a five-day intensive solar installation training course. The course covers the fundamentals of rooftop solar installations. It’s available for young people who want a career in the solar energy industry.
Relay has offered the course twice this year, with the second program ‘Solar Power Camp’ taking place recently in Midland, Ontario. 14 youth attended a solar training course, “Solar Power Camp”, from June 20 to 24, 2022.
Codrina Ibanescu was one of the participants in the course. Codrina shared, “The Solar Power Camp with Relay Education was an extremely informative and meaningful experience. It was amazing to connect with like-minded people on climate solutions and renewable energy.”
Codrina is a recent graduate from York University with her Master’s in Environmental Studies. She recently started a job at York University as a Coordinator of the 4REAL training, where she will work with professors to train 225 students about renewable energy and agriculture.
“I’m very happy to know that the future of solar will be bright with the positive intentions and empowerment of youth,” said Codrina.
Training included hands-on experience and education about electricity and solar energy basics. Youth were able to use solar PV installation equipment and learn about the software used for solar feasibility and design systems. One of the projects involved youth working together to install solar panels on a mock roof.
Rossini Sandjong was a participant in the solar training course. He said about his experience, “I have always wanted to learn more about renewable energy. With the week-long program offered by Relay Education, I had the opportunity to learn about solar energy. The course allowed me to further my knowledge about how solar works and how they could be a solution in fighting the climate crisis.”
Rossini Sandjong is a Master’s in Public and International Affairs Graduate from York University. Rossini is a Co-Founder of Tiny Strides, a Toronto not-for-profit organization that provides financial assistance for sport registration fees and equipment to youth.
Other aspects of the course included Working From Heights training which was delivered by a safety training organization. Equipment was provided to each participant, including a hard hat and steel-toed boots and hand tools.
“I think the Solar Power Camp’s biggest benefit to students was giving them a forum to learn from the instructors and each other about the fundamentals of solar power. As a coordinator, it made me happy to see how seamlessly the students, who are from different regions and cultures in Ontario, worked together and made new connections in the process.” Shared Rebecca Jahns, Relay’s Green Careers Coordinator.
The first course had 18 youth participants and was offered in March 2022 at the York University Campus in Toronto, Ontario. The only need for participants is they are between the ages of 18 to 30 and have completed high school. The program fees and accommodations were covered. Relay Education will continue to offer the Solar Installation Training Courses for youth in 2023.