Green hydrogen to transform workforce

Staff Writer

Namibia’s groundbreaking green hydrogen project, a remarkable venture in sub-Saharan Africa, presents a transformative opportunity for the country’s workforce. As the Government of the Republic of Namibia (GRN) collaborates with the private sector to establish and operate this fully integrated project, there arises an urgent requirement for a comprehensive workforce solution. This is precisely where a Temporary Employment Services (TES) provider comes into play, offering a unified solution to address skills transfer, labour, and HR/IR needs, from start to operations.

By partnering with a TES provider, Namibia can leverage their expertise, ensuring streamlined operations and unlocking the full potential of the multibillion-dollar project. This is the largest green hydrogen project in the region, with a total investment of US$10 billion, which is roughly equivalent to Namibia’s annual GDP, making it a major economic development project for the country. With the project’s goal of producing two million tons of green ammonia annually, the impact on Namibia’s economy will be significant, and a well-managed and skilled workforce has the potential to catapult Namibia to the forefront of the renewable energy sector while generating invaluable job opportunities and fostering sustainable development.

Located in the Tsau //Khaeb National Park, one of the most remote and sparsely populated areas in Namibia, this project will have minimal environmental impact. It will help to bring economic development to a region that has traditionally been marginalised. In addition to the economic benefits, the green hydrogen project is also seen as a way for Namibia to achieve its climate goals. The project will produce zero emissions while reducing Namibia’s dependence on fossil fuels, making Namibia a leader in the global transition to a clean energy future.

The project is likely to take between 10 and 15 years and is expected to create up to 15,000 new jobs during its construction phase and 3,000 permanent jobs during operation. This will be a major boost to the Namibian economy and will provide the backdrop to train and upskill the country’s workforce in green hydrogen technologies. The project will create new jobs in the renewable energy sector, which is a growing field with high demand for skilled workers. There will be a need to train and upskill the Namibian workforce in green hydrogen technologies, improving the skills and productivity of the workforce, and ultimately making Namibia a more attractive destination for foreign investment. The project will help to diversify the Namibian economy, which is currently heavily reliant on the mining sector. This will make the economy more resilient to shocks and fluctuations in the global market.

However, the required partnership for this project between the GRN and the private sector to develop Namibia’s green hydrogen industry highlights the need for a comprehensive workforce solution in several ways. Where government bodies lack the experience, TES providers worth their salt have over fifty years of experience in how to operationalise and activate projects of this magnitude and can act as s single-source solution that addresses every component of the human capital, skills and labour requirement to take such projects through to commissioning, and onward to operation and maintenance.

The entire value chain of employment can be effectively completed through a TES provider who offers a comprehensive solution for the project’s skills transfer, labour, and HR/IR requirements. They handle various aspects, including recruitment, onboarding, staffing, payroll, benefits, skills transfer, and labour relations. TES providers recruit and select workers from all over the world with the necessary expertise and experience in renewable energy or hydrogen production. These workers are brought in, to fill the immediate need for skills, while performing the much-needed task of internal skills transfer through training and mentorship programmes. This will bring much-needed skills to Namibia, ensuring that locals benefit from job creation in the long term.

*Donné Nieman and Jimmy Samuels are executives at Workforce Staffing

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