After putting its economy back on course, Ireland is turning its attention to boosting its own renewable energy sector. This drive includes the recent launch of a series of courses designed to strengthen knowledge and understanding of Ireland’s renewable wind energy resource among young people.
According to the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA), Ireland has the potential to create 28,000 jobs in renewable energy by 2020. However, a lack of synergy between the government’s energy and education policies could jeopardise the delivery of these jobs.
The Irish wind energy sector, through the IWEA, is therefore seeking to address the disparity between the policy areas and is rolling out a number of new training courses for primary and secondary school teachers this summer. The main objective of these courses is to strengthen the knowledge and understanding of Ireland’s substantial reserves of renewable power.
On announcing the courses last week, IWEA Chief Executive, Kenneth Matthews, said: “To realise the potential of Ireland’s renewable energy, it is crucial that we support our educators in their skills and understanding of Ireland’s cutting edge technology in the wind energy sector.
“We also believe that improving the general understanding of the renewable energy sector, together with its ability to generate jobs, will generate increased interest in maths and science subjects. Ireland’s international performance and ranking in these subject areas has slipped, yet they represent the foundations of a “smart economy” and are vital in leading Ireland’s economic recovery.
“The KidWind initiative will raise young people’s awareness of new technologies and developments in the renewable energy space and help them identify the skills that will be required to work in this area in the future. With the right skills, education and training, the jobs will be theirs for the taking.”
The KidWind workshops will introduce teachers to the science behind wind energy while giving them the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to bring wind energy into their classrooms using standard based activities in an engaging, hands-on manner. After completing the course, participant teachers will be prepared to teach students to test blade parameters, assess wind resource, design blades and even devise projects to site wind turbines at their schools.