Engineering the Future Career Path in Clean Energy Industry
Written Chansochetra Lon, Edited Melissa Liu
Clean energy is a new emerging sector for Cambodia. Not only does it help the environment, but it also leverages the economy, investment and job creation in the country. However, Cambodia's economy is now heavily reliant on the tourism and garment industries. This drives people out of the agriculture sector, and away from rural areas into urban areas, to work as low-skilled workers with less value. (1) So, what can we do to shift the type of work today and in the future to bring more value to workers?

Bringing youth to tackle clean energy
Youth are integral to the development of the country. EnergyLab supports university students who are passionate about sustainability and the environment, especially where clean energy supports the environment. The Clean Energy Internship program is one of EnergyLab's key programs that collaborates with clean energy companies to place students in the workplace. Our goal is to strengthen the student's professional and technical skills so that they are ready and qualified for their job. The benefits of being a Clean Energy Intern are 1). Experiencing what it's like to work in a real clean energy company and solving real problems. 2) Receiving formal work-readiness training before work placement starts as well as monthly mentoring and allowance, 3). Joining a network of Clean Energy Alumni, who get more chances to network and be a part of the growing community.
Career Path and the value of Clean Energy
Choosing a future career is essential to living a financially sustainable and stable life. Energy is a part of every sector, and as we move into the future all industries are looking to use cleaner, cheaper and more sustainable energy. Energy usage is growing exponentially in Cambodia, with generation needing to be built just as fast. Solar farms not only can be built in months, compared to coal power stations that take 3-6 years, but are also cheaper in the long run. The clean energy industry brings far-reaching value to the market and many new opportunities. For instance, a solar farm, 80 MW in Thmart Porng, was built by SchneiTec company that secures 60 careers. Clean Energy Interns also have opportunities to attend a site visit at the farm. Another example is Spinwell Global who recruited Cambodian employees as Site Electrical Engineers with a salary of US$5500/month and Site Civil Engineer with a salary of US$4500/month. This ideal job is not in the future, but today.

Clean Energy Market in Cambodia
The clean energy sector is growing rapidly in Cambodia. 410 MW of solar farms have been approved by the government, 150 MW of which have already been built and are feeding electricity into the national grid. Other clean energy projects are also being developed. An 80 MW wind farm near Kampot is on the cusp of receiving approval. This represents just a portion of the 500 MW of potential wind farm projects that wind farm developers believe are viable in Cambodia. Wind and solar are the cheapest form of electricity available and as prices continue to fall, growth of the clean energy sector is expected to continue.

Being a part of the growth of clean energy is a huge advantage in the development of Cambodia. The Clean Energy Internship program is an opportunity for students to improve their skills and gain professional work in the clean energy industry.