It was a great delight for INTERMOBEX to arrange, for the second year, an Erasmus+ VET Staff Mobility dedicated to the Building sector, in partnership with the Ausbildungszentrum-Bau of Hamburg (Germany). The mobility took place on 23 and 24 of May 2019 in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria and it was focused on the topic “Women, Training & Construction” (for the full program, see at the page bottom).
This time we hosted three fabulous ladies, who visited the city to learn from successful canaries companies involved in working and training in the building sector and to exchange experiences and professional knowledge:
- Petra Dörr – Teacher;
- Ludmila Harten – Teacher;
- Birgit Bauditz – Accounting department.
DAY 1 – Women in Construction and Infrastructure sectors
As habit, the mobility started with a short Welcome Meeting, aimed to complete the last administrative documents and to summarize the activities program. After the bureaucracy, we welcomed the guests who would have been given a speech on the topic of the day.
The first day was reserved for a round table with representatives of some leading entities and companies for the the construction and infrastructure industry in Canary Islands: Labor Foundation of Construction, Satocan Group, OHL Group and the Infrastructures Department of Las Palmas Port Authority. The speeches rotated around the presence of women in the building sector and emphasized that gender equality and equal opportunities for men and women in training and employment in the sector should be promoted more in order to obtain significant results.
The first speech was held by Satocan Group, a successful Canarian construction company represented for the occasion by Maria Carmen Socorro, Responsible person for Quality and Labour Risks Prevention at Satocan. The company counts with a 20% of female employees and one of them is Maria José Pérez Sosa, a crane driver working since 20 years in the sector and being one of the first women in Spain to start working in this work position. She explained that, by her hard work and the love for what she does, she crushed all the social stereotypes. “At the beginning of my career it was not common to see a woman who managed to drive a crane, but once I showed my skills, all my colleagues’ doubts completely disappeared. Although it is still strange for some people to see a woman working in the building sector, I see nothing controversial about it. I love and live my job and I think that’s the most important thing. We need to overcome the gender competition at work and to understand that there aren’t male and female jobs: with skills and passion, anyone can do any job” Maria said.
The Labour Foundation of Construction completely agreed with these values of gender equality and women empowerment. Armiche Pérez Hernández pointed out how the Foundation is facing the challenges of modern times and doing big efforts to promote the involvement of more women as trainees and employees in the building sector. An example of that, as explained by Javier Santana Afonso, is the campaign “Women can build” based on an international project carried out in collaboration with other EU countries with the aim of promoting the values of equality in society and in the construction sector.
Recently awarded by the Government of Gran Canaria as influential woman in the field of construction and ports, Olga Frias Verde represented the international construction OHL Group. She talked about her experience as a woman Civil Engineer in the ‘90s and how the sector has changed during last decades, registering an always bigger and more usual the presence of women. She also guided our visitors to a tour around the Puerto de La Luz of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in behalf of Las Palmas Port Authority. During the visit, she showed to the visiting participants the port and its activities, presenting some completed and upcoming impressive projects to be completed by 2021 in leading port in mid-Atlantic.
DAY 2 – Training on Construction as a tool for entering in the Labour Market
On the second day of visit, our German visitors discovered how and why public entities are investing on training in the construction sector to help young and adult people to get a second chance in the labor market. The group visited the “Taller de Empleo San Fernando”, a training project funded by the Spanish Public Employment Service and carried out by the Las Palmas Delegation of the Ministry of Defense. Here participants receive general skills-oriented theoretical training and practical training on building and hydraulics.
Lieutenant Colonel Malo and Lieutenant Colonel Satomé emphasized that “This training is an excellent example of cooperation between government bodies aimed to provide theoretical and practical knowledge. Moreover, at the end of the training the pupils get a certificate of competences that allow them to have more opportunities in the labor market; in that way we may contribute to reduce the number of unemployed people, which is a big problem in our city and country as well.”
At the end of the institutional activities, we still had time to bring our visitors to have a typical canarian lunch and to visit the old town of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Vegueta. According to their reviews, our German ladies spent wonderful days in Gran Canaria and we couldn’t be happier than that.