ENABLING CLEAN-ENERGY CAREERS IN CAMBODIAPublished: Dec 21, 2021 Reading time: 4 minutes
Transitioning to clean energy sources is essential in the fight against climate change, while training young people to work in the clean-energy sector is a vital element of this transition. Not only must the next generation incorporate “green” habits into their lifestyles, they must also have the knowhow and knowledge to make the sector function.
The Clean Energy Internship programme, initiated by EnergyLab Cambodia and co-implemented by People in Need (PIN), is helping to fill this important educational gap. Through skills training and internship placements, young people in Cambodia are getting a taste of the clean-energy market, and connecting with local clean energy companies for employment after college.
During a recent placement round, students studying business management, community development, accounting, finance, environmental science, and engineering found internships in a number of green energy companies with a focus on skills such as digital marketing, solar engineering, community development, sales, and project management.
Learning on the job
Thatt Lengmonor, a fresh graduate from the Royal University of Phnom Penh (RUPP), is a recent programme participant. He began his internship during his final semester in college, spending three months working with Eco Green Energy (EGE) Cambodia. With a degree in community development, Lengmonor started from scratch and worked his way up to a full-time project coordinator. EGE mainly imports solar technologies, provides installation, and offers consultation services on solar energy consumption to local communities.
Lengmonor worked on issues such as natural resource management, economic and community development, social enterprise projects and measuring the green energy costs and needs for farmers. Although his title – Agricultural Development Representative – might sound technical, Lengmonor says the best part of the role is connecting with people.
“Building networks with communities and communicating with relevant stakeholders has helped me negotiate better and more effectively with clients from various backgrounds,” he says. “Working in this sector is not simple, but we need to know how to talk to people in a persuasive way. Otherwise, we cannot build trust with our clients.”
As a student, classroom work did not give Lengmonor a clear picture of how the clean-energy sector functions in practice. That changed during his internship, as he gained a deeper understanding of clean energy technologies and customers’ needs. Lengmonor says the most useful insights were gained during farm visits, where he learned that solar technologies “help farmers save energy and increase their daily income, [which] helps promote the use of clean energy on a wider scale.”
Communication for the common good
Sovanmonyis Tea is another recent participant. Tea worked as a digital marketing intern at Oyika, a Japanese company supplying parts for electric vehicles. During her internship, Tea was a senior at the American University of Phnom Penh majoring in global affairs and minoring at economics. As a digital marketer at Oyika, her main role included raising awareness on green mobility through content creation. “I am glad to be able to help people understand in a simpler way about green vehicles through the content I created,” says Tea. “Before the programme, I only used social media for personal reasons, but after joining I understand that we can actually use social media for good.”
She adds: “While working at the company, I did not just assist others. Instead, I was given the chance to take initiative on digital marketing [projects]. I was nervous that I would not do well …but I was nervous for nothing. My ideas were accepted and appreciated by the team, and that pushed me to try even harder.”
As for her plans, Tea hopes to pursue a master’s degree in an SDG-related field and, if possible, to work in digital marketing but with a broader scope of work. Her goal is to manage bigger projects and work in a more diversified team. Most importantly, she hopes to work with other young people to contribute to clean energy promotion.
About the Internship Programme and the SWITCH to Solar project
Cambodia’s Clean Energy Internship programme operates across the Tonle Sap Region and is co-implemented by People in Need, EnergyLab Cambodia, and Sevea Consulting. It’s goal is to provide Cambodian youth with opportunities to work in clean energy-based companies and present a clear career path for college students and recent graduates. The programme, which is funded by EU-SWITCH Asia’s SWITCH to Solar initiative, aims to encourage micro, small, and medium enterprises in the target region to switch to solar-based technologies and to foster environmentally-sustainable employment.