Empowering women to enter the male dominated electricity sector
Women have a clear desire to join the electrician field and, with that, we seek to empower and equip female talent with the skills and training required.
What did you want to achieve?
Neoenergia, a subsidiary of the Iberdrola group in Brazil, identified an opportunity to empower women to enter the electricity sector, creating greater gender balance in an otherwise maledominated industry.
What did you do?
We created the School of Electricians for Women, with training and education exclusively for women interested in building electrical installations and energy distribution grids. Doing so has expanded employment opportunities for female talent in areas of economic difficulty. It has also created a mutually beneficial relationship for society and the company.
Neoenergia focuses on the safety, qualification and professional training of female electricians to operate in the energy sector. Specialised courses in Bahia and Pernambuco prepare women to join the workforce as electricians and eventually gain employment within one of Neoenergia’s energy distributors.
The programme selection process consists of a written test (Portuguese, maths and writing), psychological assessment, altitude practical test and interview. Four classes of 25 women in each city receive 596 hours of training over seven months.
Employees support female trainees through the company’s volunteer programme. Volunteers monitor trainee development and discuss relevant organisation topics with trainees. After completing the programme, successful trainees are encouraged to apply for an electrician position within Neoengeria with the same benefits and pay as men entering the field.
What have you learned?
We learned that women are interested in entering this field, and that encouraging them throughout their learning journey is critical. We also learned that allowing men and women to work together from the start breaks down unconscious biases around women working in this field. In the future, to create a more inclusive workplace, the electrician school will be mixed gender.
Through this initiative, we have learned that we can adapt our work environment to consider women, purchasing uniforms for women and installing dedicated bathrooms, for instance.
What are the results so far?
Since the programme’s creation in August 2019, more than 21,000 women have applied for the 200 trainee positions available. Approximately 3,000 women attended the first in-person information session.
This training programme is allowing us to grow female talent in our sector and attract a diverse pool of talent to our organisation where women will continue to be supported and encouraged in their development.