MORE than 20 women are working as welders in Chile’s aquaculture industry, after a special rectuitment programme.
They have been trained for the production line following an inclusion scheme introduced by Norwegian owned AKVA Group that is promoting sustainable development.
The company created the programme at its Puerto Montt base last year, training local women in its production processes and welding workshops.
‘We want to see more empowered women working in the salmon industry,’ said Andrew Campbell, regional president of AKVA group for America, UK, and Australasia.
‘For a year we have been developing inclusion and training projects for women in the welding area, to create excellent products, with the best welders from both genders.’
There are now 23 women in the welding workshop of the company. They were previously trained in the AKVA academy, which initially offered men-only courses, then mixed classes, and finally, the first women-only course.
‘This is a call for women to accomplish everything they set their minds on, and we are willing to accompany them in this process,’ Campbell added.
‘Sustainability is also about people, collaboration among local people and the local communities.’
‘Could I do it?’ wondered Jeanette Salazar, food technician and secretary, and now a pioneer of the nocturnal female welders in AKVA group Chile.
‘I never imagined working in something like this. I had to prove to myself that I could do it. The world is changing. And this is a major turn, very important and positive for me.
‘It was hard in the beginning because it was an area full of men and tough work, and today I really enjoy it. I feel integrated and capable of performing in any area”, she enthusiastically comments.’
In welding, the women specialise in raw material, structure, and accessories, receiving training over six months, to produce pens and walkways of high quality, for the local and export markets.
There are more than 350 people working in AKVA in Chile, including 46 women in different areas.
‘We are going to change what is considered normal. In AKVA group we recognise the female contribution and celebrate their participation,’ said Campbell.
Picture: Jeanette Salazar, pioneer for the group of female welders at AKVA Group in Puerto Montt