Enrique Alba (Cartagena, Murcia, 53 years old), CEO of Iberdrola in Mexico, is clear that if the energy company is to undertake social projects, it must do so in Oaxaca. There, the Spanish company has four wind farms, its largest project in Mexico. Its directors also noted that part of the backlog in education in the country’s south-east is affecting that region. In 2019, the company launched Impulso STEM, an education and scholarship program to inspire young people to prepare for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM careers.
This Friday, at the business meeting of the Ibero-American Summit, Alba received the Gold Award for Best Practices presented by the Ibero-American Foundation for Quality Management (FUNDIPEC) in Santo Domingo. This project in Oaxaca. The organization highlighted that the company was given this award for its efforts to break the gender gap.
“We saw that there was a very significant lag in the so-called STEM careers in Oaxaca, and then another second thing was added that motivated us to do the project, which is that only 10% of the STEM career engineers in that state are students. Not only training talented young people from Oaxaca, but also enrolling women, in the university The project also allowed them to attack issues such as the inclusion of women, access to well-paid jobs and breaking the gender gap, 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 it is given to women. Many scholarship students go to the Technical University of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca to complete their studies in the same region. Iberdrola offers them professional placements at its facilities in the region and some of them start their careers there. “This is a seeding point to create Mexican engineers and female Mexican engineers so that they can join the company. That’s why I say it’s a complete program of education, quality, education, future,” Alba says.
In addition to scholarships, the organization promotes courses and workshops on renewable energy in post-secondary institutions in the region. In this way, Alba promises that Oaxaca youth will be able to receive adequate professional guidance in the panorama that STEM careers can offer for the future. Hand in hand with UNAM’s Renewable Energy Institute, Iberdrola has already guided 12,000 students in the Isthmus region of Oaxaca.
The director emphasizes that one of the aims of the program is to train professionals with opportunities and professional perspective in their state. “The workforce of the four wind farms we have in Oaxaca is 100% Oaxacan. We want them to train there and work in their state. We have a philosophy that the talent will stay there,” he points out.
Although the region’s usages and customs have limited women’s participation in certain professions, Alba affirms that Impulso STEM works to break down the barriers that some communities maintain the role of women. The company has 21% female representation in its workforce. “It’s trying to empower, say ‘yes you can,’ don’t set limits on yourself and don’t let them be placed on you because of cultural, family or historical issues,” she adds.
Iberdrola has been in Mexico for more than 20 years and is present in 15 of the 32 states that generate electricity through renewable electricity. Alba says the country’s future is encouraging in its energy transition. “Mexico is at the solar level, where 80% of the Republic is suitable for the development of photovoltaics, and at the wind level, it has large areas such as Tehuantepec, Puebla, Tamaulipas, Nuevo Leon, Baja California. , with more wind. In other words, the change of the energy model that is taking place all over the world “Mexico has everything to take advantage of and be a leader,” he explains.