Education is one of the most effective strategies to transform the social, cultural, economic, political and environmental realities of a country. However, in countries such as Colombia, the low rates of access and coverage are alarming. According to the National Higher Education Information System (SNIES, in spanish), for the year 2020 the coverage rate in higher education was 51.6%, a figure that represents 23.5 percentage points below the average of OECD economies, which is 75.1%.
The Institución Universitaria Antonio José Camacho (UNIAJC), hereinafter referred to as the "University", is a public higher education institution located in Cali-Colombia. In 2023-1 it trained 12,391 students, 60.91% of whom come from different regions of the country, from rural and urban areas, and mostly from the southwest of Colombia. The southwest of Colombia has historically lived in conditions of extreme poverty with limited access to education and other problems such as unemployment, forced recruitment, and involvement in illegal economies, among others. Therefore, it is necessary to offer opportunities for economic sustainability to ensure that students remain in higher education, which can be achieved through technical qualification processes and decent employment during their professional studies.
The main objective of the project is to increase the possibilities of access to decent employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for young students of the University in situations of social and economic vulnerability, through the training laboratory in renewable energies and their integration into the Bioenergy cluster of Valle del Cauca.
The specific objectives are:
1-Implement training strategies in renewable energies and skills of being that allow students and graduates access to decent employment in the labor market of the environment.
2-To develop capacities in entrepreneurship and innovation that will enable students and graduates to create entrepreneurial projects in renewable energies with environmental impact.
3-Strengthen University's relations with companies in the bioenergy sector that offer employment to students and graduates of the project's beneficiary communities.
During the first year of operation of the laboratory, it is expected to benefit up to 120 students of the University; it is estimated to benefit up to 500 people over a period of 5 years. The target population will be socioeconomically vulnerable students, especially those between 16 and 32 years of age, from southwestern Colombia, who may belong to any ethnic group or gender.
The training activities to be developed by the university through the laboratory will be free of charge for participating students.