Transformando com Energia - Empowering people and creating opportunities
Voltalia knows that it can count on its employees to leave a lasting, positive impact wherever they operate. This can be seen in Brazil, where the company is developing large-scale renewable energy projects with wind, solar, hydroelectric, and hybrid power plants.
Good to know:
Voltalia initiated many projects with a distinctive socioeconomic orientation and aimed at going beyond the company’s immediate needs.
For instance, “Transformando com Energia” (“Transforming with energy”) is a vocational training program rolled out at an unprecedented scale. Let’s take a closer look at this project.
Promoting local workers’ employability
Voltalia has joined forces with two local institutes, SENAI (National Service for Industrial Learning) and CWSE Brasil Company (a Brazilian training center), to develop the “Transformando com Energia” project: a Brazilian nationwide program providing training for people living in regions where Voltalia operates. This project allows the local workforce to develop a variety of professional skills that do not only align with Voltalia’s renewable energy projects but are also highly sought after on the regional job market.
“I really believe in the kind of project that involves training people. Aside from the skills they learn, it helps them gain confidence and embrace new opportunities that come their way.”
Andressa Spata - Socio-environmental Development Coordinator
Some regions where Voltalia operates in Brazil are marked by a strong need for skilled workforce due to historic, social, and economic reasons. This is the case for the regions in which the ”Transformando com Energia“ project has been rolled out so far:
• Oiapoque (municipality in the state of Amapá): this region with high potential for industrial growth lacks qualified workers to work on the ground, which discourage companies from investing there.
• Canudos (municipality in the state of Bahia): a region with a rich history but also the scene of violent clashes between farmers and republican police in the 1890s. The area was marked by flooding in the 1970s. These local tragedies have subsequently given the population sense of empowerment and self-resilience.
• Serra do Mel (Rio Grande do Norte): a region that benefits from exceptional wind and sun conditions. Voltalia saw the opportunity to diversify clean energy generation efforts– but also to leave a lasting impact by hiring local workers and implementing professional training programs for them.
Most jobs in the construction sector require a certain level of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience. In Serra do Mel, for example, 70% of the workers on site were recruited locally. They followed courses which aimed at training them on specialized solar energy skills that were needed for the construction and installation of photovoltaic plants from Voltalia.
“We were always very well informed of everything that was going on, of the improvements put in place for us. This training has been a great help in my life because today I work in construction as I have always wanted to.”
Samara - Trainee - Vila Ceará, Serra do Mel
A challenging but successful deployment
All participants, organizers and candidates were highly motivated
to make this project a success and generate tangible and sustainable results.
Overcome the distance issue
The nearest Brazilian institutes that specialize in vocational training are located in large and medium-sized cities. On the contrary, most of the remote communities with which Voltalia worked did not have the necessary infrastructures for training sessions.
Therefore, Voltalia invested in infrastructure improvements close to where most of Voltalia’s workers lived and arranged transportation for those of them that lived particularly far away. Improvements to existing buildings will surely provide lasting benefits to the local population.
In some areas such as Oiapoque, the infrastructure improvements initiated by Voltalia are still benefiting the school where the classes took place. These include, among others: increasing the height of a building by 2.64 metres by adding two supporting columns, raising garden beds, improving the drainage system, and replacing four sockets.
A vocational training program for Voltalia’s workers
Voltalia set out to develop skills and train a proficient workforce by teaching basic technical skills which are essential to entering a profession and delivering quality work in a safe and efficient manner.
The courses were open to everyone with a minimum level of graduation (high primary school) – as defined by the two local institutes, who took the general lack of access to education into consideration.
The training consisted of both theoretical and practical courses, allowing students to become familiar with key concepts and immediately apply these concepts to the reality of a construction site.
This resulted in the development of vocational training courses in several professions that are highly in demand in the construction sector: carpenter, bricklayer, load handling assistant, mason, welder, electrician, and so on.
“I found the course methodology interesting with both a theoretical and a practical part. The teachers used communicative methods to facilitate our learning. This course has been very useful for our personal and professional life.”
Allison Dez - Trainee - Vila Ceará, Serra do Mel
Overall, the training program went very smoothly and Voltalia’s teams were able to count on the active participation and interest of the 379 participants. They were especially struck by how quickly the students took ownership of the training outcomes and could envision a long-term professional future for themselves in these construction professions.
- These training courses come with a recognized certificate by the local institutes and pay particular attention to health and safety at work: equipment and machine safety, load handling safety, elevated work safety, etc.
- These training courses have specific HSE (Health, Safety Environment) programs, and the students receive Certificates both for the courses taken but also for their training in the national standards necessary to be employed legally in the trade they chose.
A project with significant and lasting results
There is no doubt that the “Transformando com Energia” project has created sustainable opportunities for the local population in the long term and job satisfaction in the short run, as it became obvious when some former students were interviewed.
This is what Samuel Silva, a construction worker on the Serra do Mel project, told us: “You wake up in the morning and know that you are going to a place where you are considered a professional and valued worker”. His colleague, Suiane Silva, added: “Every day, I was able to hone my skills together with the wonderful team we had here”.
In Oiapoque, more than 20% of the registered participants were women. It seemed that many of them felt empowered by being able to choose the profession they want in fields that are typically dominated by men.
When it comes to course graduation rates, the numbers speak volumes:
|Serra do Mel||Oiapoque||Canudos|
|Dates||From August 2nd to October 1st , 2021||From March 28th to April 11th , 2022||From August 1st 2021 to October 31st 2021|
|Number of participants||100||74||205|
|Number of graduated||95||72||169|
The goal was to not only provide Voltalia with a necessary, skilled and professional workforce, but also to leave a lasting and positive mark on these regions. These new professionals will undoubtedly increase their region’s attractiveness for companies willing to invest in construction projects.
In addition, these newly trained men and women will be able to support their families through better-paying jobs and inspire people around them to follow in their footsteps.
“Developing and executing projects that encourage people to get a professional qualification, that bring education and knowledge to people, is the same as bringing hope. It allows them to broaden their horizons. The sight of 100 people with a twinkle in their eyes and men and women holding their certificates up in the air is extremely gratifying for us.”
Jady Marques - Trainee - Serra do Mel
As a responsible energy producer and service provider, Voltalia strives to develop many social and environmental projects tailored to a particular context. The aim is to create long-term relationships with local partners wherever the company settles in order to ensure the workforce’s long-term employability – which will in turn serve as a lever for the economic development of the whole region.
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