For Enrique Alba (Cartagena, Murcia, 53 years old), CEO of Iberdrola in Mexico, it was evident that if the energy company had to undertake social projects, it should do so in Oaxaca.
There, the Spanish firm has four wind farms, its largest project in Mexico.
His managers also noted that part of the lag in education in the southeast of the country is suffered in that region.
In 2019, the company launched Impulso STEM, an education and scholarship program to stimulate the preparation of young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM careers.
This Friday, Alba has received in Santo Domingo -within the Business Meeting of the Ibero-American Summit- the GOLD award for best practices in terms of Sustainable Development Goals granted by the Ibero-American Foundation for Quality Management (Fundibeg) for the implementation of this program in Oaxaca.
The organization has highlighted that the award has been given to the company for its efforts to break the gender gap.
“We saw that there was a very important lag in Oaxaca in what are called STEM careers and then another second thing was added that encouraged us to do the project, which is that in that state only 10% of the students in the STEM careers engineers are women, with which the project, apart from training talented young people from Oaxaca, also allowed us to attack an issue of inclusion, to incorporate women into the university, to possibilities of well-paid jobs and to break the gap of gender”, says Alba about the project in an interview with EL PAÍS.
The Impulso STEM program, on the one hand, has awarded scholarships to 55 young people to study engineering-related university degrees.
Half of them are awarded to women.
Many of the scholarship students go to the Technological University of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca to complete their studies in the same region.
Iberdrola offers them professional internships at its facilities in the region and some of them start their professional careers there.
“It is a seedbed for generating Mexican engineers and also female Mexican engineers, so that they can join the company.
That is why I say that it is a very complete project of education, of quality, of education, of the future”, adds Alba.
In addition to the scholarships, the company promotes courses and workshops on renewable energy in secondary education institutions in the region.
Alba assures that in this way young people from Oaxaca can receive adequate vocational guidance on the panorama that a STEM career can offer them for the future.
Hand in hand with the Institute of Renewable Energies of the UNAM, Iberdrola has already guided 12,000 students in the area of the Isthmus of Oaxaca.
The director emphasizes that one of the intentions of the program is to train professionals who have opportunities and a professional perspective in their State.
“The workforce of the four wind farms that we have in Oaxaca is 100% Oaxacan.
We want them to train there and be able to work in their State.
We have the philosophy that talent stays there ”, he points out.
Alba assures that despite the uses and customs of the region have limited the participation of women in some industries, Impulso STEM also does work to break down the taboos that some communities maintain on the role of women.
The company has a representation of women in 21% of its workforce.
“It also tries to empower, say 'yes you can', don't set the limits for yourselves and don't let them set them for cultural, family or historical reasons either”, she adds.
Iberdrola has been in Mexico for more than 20 years and is present in 15 of the 32 States with the generation of electricity through renewables.
Alba says that the future of the country in the face of the energy transition looks encouraging.
"Mexico has both at the solar level, where 80% of the Republic is optimal for the development of photovoltaics, and at the wind level, where it has large areas such as the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Puebla, Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Baja California, with much wind.
In other words, Mexico has everything to take advantage of the transition of the energy model that is taking place worldwide and be a leader”, he explains.