In addition to teaching standard subjects like mathematics, history and literature, the two public high schools in the Tarapacá Region of northern Chile are now also offering secondary students an unconventional, employment-oriented course: renewable energy systems maintenance.
In 2013, our Quebrada Blanca Operations partnered with the Ministerial Secretariats of Education and Energy to develop a renewable energy education program for local public schools. Through the program, students at Liceo Padre Alberto Hurtado Cruchaga in Pica and Liceo Alcalde Sergio González Gutiérrez in Pozo Almonte gain practical knowledge about solar and wind power.
Students who participate in the program learn how to install and maintain solar and wind power systems, and how to provide technical assistance to farmers, tourism operators and other local community members who use alternative energy systems. After completing the program, students are able to practice their skills by working at local energy companies as interns.
And it’s not only students who are learning — when the program started, teachers at both schools were trained to deliver the solar power education modules. Now, instead of hosting one-time workshops, teachers can share their knowledge with the next generation of students.