“Since we arrived in Antofagasta, the Jesuit Service has been very supportive. We had talked about the fact that I was interested in solar energy, so when the opportunity for the course came up, they offered it to me and I didn't hesitate to accept it. I owe this opportunity to them.”
Morillo participated in Enel Chile's three-week “Energía con fuerza local” (Energy with local labor) program, aimed at training men and women in trades related to photovoltaic electricity generation. The program aims to develop skills for both the construction of new renewable projects in the country and to cultivate knowledge for other types of solar installations.
As of June 2021, 130 people had already joined the project, more than 50% of which were women, from different backgrounds and nationalities, including people from the Colla indigenous communities that is located beside Enel’s Campos del Sol photovoltaic project. There were also people from the Education and Work Center (CET) of the Antofagasta Gendarmerie. Due to the pandemic, the theoretical part was taught online by the INACAP institute. A maximum of 10 people, in accordance with health protocols, then went in person to the various Enel Green Power solar projects in the regions of Antofagasta and Atacama, where they received around 14 hours of theoretical and practical training.
"The experience was wonderful and I think it is an excellent opportunity for people to learn this new trade. Here in Chile, it is being promoted a lot and it will have its place. Those who learn this trade now will have a guaranteed job, especially here in Chile, where they can take advantage of the sun", Morillo said.
Other opportunities in the energy transition
"Energía con fuerza local" (Energy with local labor) is one of several initiatives that also aim to promote job opportunities arising from the transition to clean energy, this time in the electricity distribution sector. One of these is the training project at Enel Distribución’s Center of Operational Excellence (CEO), located in Lampa.
With academic support from the INACAP higher educational institute and the REDES project, promoted by the Red de Liceos technical training schools of Chile's industrial development organization SOFOFA, professionals from Enel Distribución and INACAP have trained young people aged between 18 and 24 in technical competencies, skills and conduct for working with electricity infrastructure.
This program began with students from the Colegio Bicentenario de Lampa in 2020. Using a replica of the Santiago electricity grid at Enel Distribución's Center of Operational Excellence, students got practical experience and learned about the needs of the real electricity market. The success of the initiative subsequently allowed several students to carry out their professional internships with Enel Distribución contractors.
“Here we are learning from hand-on experience and about all the safety measures that one must take, such as how to insulate electricity and about what teamwork means.”
“It gives us greater knowledge and is helping us to learn a trade. It is something that will be useful to us in the future. Enel was the one that gave us a hand and helped us to continue with our studies and our work,” Cristina said.
Moving towards transformative and productive recovery in the Electrical Distribution
Another academic initiative is the Domestic Electrical Installations Training Course, which seeks to train people from Enel Distribución's concession areas as domestic electricians.
In collaboration with INFOCAP, 20 electricians obtained certification from the Superintendency of Electricity and Fuels (SEC), which helps them increase their chances of finding a formal job or to start up their own electrical businesses.
As part of the fair transition route, this post-pandemic community initiative provides workers with skills to help them become more professional in their trade and to take advantage of their knowledge to help them start a business or increase their chances of finding a formal job.
“This boosted my confidence in the work that I am doing. Now I can do safer and more efficient electrical installations for people and improve my employment prospects by adding value with my certification as an SEC installer,” said Diego Leslie, who won one of the 2021 scholarships.
These courses fall under UN Sustainable Development Goal No. 8 ("Decent work and economic growth"), which Enel Chile and its subsidiaries adhere to through various sustainability initiatives and through which they aim to bring energy transition opportunities to everyone.
According to Nestor Bascuñan, “this course helped me gain more knowledge than I had previously and left me wanting to continue studying. What I have learned here has given me the necessary skills to do a more formal job. I'm thankful to Infocap and Enel for giving us the opportunity to become fully qualified technicians."