Eskom hiring engineers to fix load-shedding — and launching a crowdsourced skills database

Eskom says it will soon launch an online skills database to crowdsource experts for the power utility to hire. It will recruit suitable candidates that have already put up their hands to help fix load-shedding “imminently”.

Eskom said it had received an “overwhelming” response to its call for skilled personnel to come forward to assist in rebuilding skills inside the organisation.

The utility said skills acquired through the platform would allow it to resolve its “urgent business needs”, including addressing operational shortcomings that have contributed to load-shedding.

“This crowdsourcing opportunity has been prompted by several offers and submissions received from organisations and individuals, including experienced engineers and technical experts, who have indicated that they could potentially assist Eskom,” the utility stated.

“Since South Africa has a pool of skilled persons, crowdsourcing of these skills may offer a unique opportunity for available and willing citizens to support Eskom to resolve its business challenges,” the utility added.

Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said a diverse cross-section of South Africans had sent enquiries and made themselves available to respond to the “call to national service”.

“Eskom is in the process of matching the skills that have already been made available to its needs and will be recruiting the suitable candidates imminently,” De Ruyter said.

Eskom did not specifically name any organisations that submitted candidates with skills.

However, trade union Solidarity recently submitted a list of around 300 engineers, technicians, and other skilled workers to the utility and the Department of Public Enterprises at the minister’s request.

The union had offered to provide such a list for years. Public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan accepted its proposition in July 2022.

The group of 300 comprises 211 individuals with applicable skills and qualifications in the power industry who approached Solidarity and another 100 consisting of — and compiled by — former Eskom employees with relevant experience.

Solidarity said these candidates had a collective 5,500 years of power sector experience and 400 accredited qualifications between them, of which 14 were PhDs in engineering and related fields.

Solidarity chief executive Dirk Hermann shows the list of 300 names the union submitted to Eskom and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan

Eskom human resources head Elsie Pule said their new crowdsourcing platform aimed to provide an equitable opportunity for all those willing to be considered for service.

“The process will be driven by the needs of Eskom and will follow a standard governance process for fixed-term contracting,” Pule stated.

The utility also said the platform would leverage partnerships with statutory and non-statutory bodies such as the Engineering Council of South Africa (ECSA).

That aims to ensure that Eskom can access the best candidates in the electricity supply industry, engineering, and technical professions.

Eskom said although the platform was still under development, individuals who wished to be considered could contact Pule’s office via email at [email protected].

Eskom said the expertise it sought included mechanical, nuclear, electrical, system and maintenance skills, and senior artisans and plant operators for coal and nuclear power stations.

“Eskom looks forward to collaborating with South African citizens to address the current electricity supply challenges facing the country,” the utility said.

Now read: Ramaphosa asks South Africa to be patient with Eskom

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Eskom hiring engineers to fix load-shedding — and launching a crowdsourced skills database