Heinrich Cleophas, local resident of Hopefield, always dreamed of owning his own business.  This is a dream that he has achieved through the support provided by Umoya Energy.
Cleophas attended the Umoya Energy funded training programme during 2014 and is now using these skills to benefit local Hopefield residents, through his own company, Cleo Construction.
“I believe that every person deserves the chance to build a career. With the Home Improvement Project I was able to go to college and find a job, build my career and even start my own business,” said Heinrich Cleophas.
He is one of nineteen previously unemployed local Hopefield residents that completed skills training courses, designed by Northlink College.  They were provided with electrical, plumbing and carpentry training and the project offered the chance of employment to make use of these practical skills. The training is coupled with an Entrepreneurship Incubation Programme that provides mentorship and business skills.
Cleophas previously worked as a plumbing artisan on this programme.  Having gained both the work experience, together with the business mentoring provided, he successfully bid for the carpentry contract.  He is more than adequately qualified and supported to manage his own business, which is able to provide jobs to others in the area.
“We are so pleased to be able to share Heinrich’s story, which demonstrates the unique attributes of the Home Improvement Project, which transitions and grows artisans into entrepreneurs.  The Project’s enterprise development programme is designed to develop skills of local businesses to be sustainable and ensure enduring benefits for the people of this community,” explained Veronique Isaacs, Regional Community Operations Manager for Umoya Energy.
A recent study measuring the social impact of the Home Improvement Project, which has benefited around 3 000 community residents within the Saldanha Bay Local Municipality, confirmed the success of the project.   It conclusively showed that this project has been effective in improving living conditions of residents living in low cost homes, with 99% of the study’s residents affirming this.
Umoya Energy is situated about 105 km north of Cape Town and has been operational since 2013. This 66 MW Wind Farm, comprises 37 wind turbines and is part of the Department of Energy’s first REIPPP Programme bid window. The wind farm generates enough electricity to power about 65 000 low-income homes, or 27 000 medium-income homes.