How many women electricians do you know? The answer may be 'few', but this reality has been increasingly changing. Neoenergia's commitment to promoting diversity in the professional environment, an action that is carried out with several initiatives, has enabled the development of exclusive classes for women within the School of Electricians project. On March 9, 74 women who completed the course joined Neoenergia team, an initiative that contributes to the promotion of gender equality in a profession previously dominated by men.
“There are no barriers", says electrician Nailana dos Santos who, at 21, is the youngest student in the newly graduated class. She was studying electro-technology when she found out about the opening of the enrollment for the School for Electricians at Coelba, Neoenergia's concessionaire that operates in the state of Bahia. The initiative is carried out in partnership with Senai and has both exclusive classes for women and mixed classes. “This experience has been very important for me, of learning and knowledge. I understand the importance of the equal opportunity initiative, because after because after I have been through, I realized that everything we want and can accomplish", says Nailana.
Similar feeling is expressed by Aline Alves dos Santos, 26 years old. She was working in Human Resources when she saw the School for Electricians as an opportunity to put into practice the interest she had always had in electricity. “The beginning was very challenging, I came to think that it was not for me, but over time I started to like it and to find myself. Today, I know that the course was a watershed in my life and opened my eyes to more opportunities", says the electrician. She also highlights the support shared among the other students, which impelled her to move on. “Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something. The first step is to put in your mind that you can do it, we are here to make the difference".
The change brought about by the Neoenergia initiative, in addition to impacting the lives of almost 100 women in 2020 alone, has been a source of recognition and benchmark. The company's project to offer exclusive classes for women at the School of Electricians was highlighted by the UN as an example of one of the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), i.e., promoting education and professional development for women. The achievement arose from a case study on the initiative was published in WeEmpower, a UN Women program with the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the European Union aimed at encouraging good practices by companies.
Neoenergia was one of the highlights in the IX Corresponsables da Iberoamérica Award, being recognized in Large Companies category with School of Electricians Project. The award is aimed at valuing the best initiatives and good practices of social responsibility, sustainability and communication in Ibero-America region, which comprises countries in which Portuguese and Spanish are the prevailing languages.
“We have an ongoing commitment to promote gender equity, because we know that equality and diversity add value on many levels, both for the company and in the empowerment of professionals. Contributing to a scenario in which more women have equal opportunities in the labor market fuels positive transformations in the world", says Neoenergia's superintendent of Organizational Development, Régia Barbosa.
In 2020, the School of Electricians project was carried out in 47 cities and trained 1,437 electricians, including men and women. Of this total, 764 were hired by Neoenergia. For this year, the forecast is to complete 50 classes and 14 new classes to be started. The project covers the concession areas of Neoenergia's distributors in four states - Bahia, Pernambuco, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Norte - and offers the vocational course, including theoretical and practical disciplines, lasting up to seven months and 596 training hours.
In addition to developing and strengthening the qualified technical professional training focused in safety, this action is a part of Neoenergia's group commitment with U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs), that sets Gender equality as one of the big global goals to be achieved by 2030.