In 2019, Alessandra Meza was one of the first to receive Statkraft Peru's scholarship. She started working with the company in a trainee capacity position for her remaining two years of school.
Today, Alessandra Meza is a junior plant operations engineer at the Statkraft-operated La Oroya hydropower plant in the province of Yauli in the Junin region in Peru. It started as a scholarship and trainee program. It evolved into an employment opportunity.
The Energía 22 programme is Statkraft Peru’s answer to building a stronger female talent pool and injecting some youthful energy into its organisation along the way.
With students as a new source of energy
Veronica Arbulu didn’t accept the excuse that there weren’t enough female candidates in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) talent pool to take positions at Statkraft Peru.
As the head of Legal and Corporate Affairs at Statkraft Peru, Arbulu is dedicated to helping the company improve its gender balance and overall diversity, something that is very close to her heart.
But the gender gap is wide in Peru in the technical fields that Statkraft is seeking to fill. So the team realized that to make a change, they had to go back to school.
“We decided that instead of being frustrated that there weren’t women applying to our positions, we would look to the universities and start our talent search there,” Arbulu explains.
“Our idea was to encourage women to study and pursue careers in science and technology by offering scholarships followed by traineeships. It’s not all about good grades either – we aimed to find candidates who will make the greatest impact and change our business for the better.”
Gender gap in Peru
Women enrolled in science, technology and innovation studies: 29.2%
Women STEM professionals: 31%
STEM is an abbreviation for science, technology, engineering, mathematics and is a collective term for fields of study in science and technology.
The people of Statkraft Peru speak out on gender balance:
The first round of Energía 22 brings two talented women on board
To remedy the gender problem in the talent pool, the Energía 22 programme was born. This programme is aimed at students from the seventh semester of the Mechanical, Electronic and Mechatronic Engineering careers from the University of Technology and Engineering (UTEC) in Lima.
It kicked off in 2019, when the Statkraft Peru team selected the first two candidates – Alessandra Meza and Noelia Santana. They received the Statkraft scholarship and affiliation with the company as trainees.
“In my traineeship, I’ve been able to carry out photogrammetry and autonomous robotics projects that helped me apply what I was learning at university. I learned a lot about how mechatronics projects can be applied to the energy field through practical and real cases with the company,” says Alessandra Meza.
She sees that the number of women studying science and technology subjects is improving, but more must be done.
“It is important to create an inclusive environment within companies and give more opportunities for women to enter more companies. I think this would encourage more women to bet on STEM careers.”
“My dream has been to study engineering, and I am now successfully completing the last year of my degree!” says Noelia Santana.
“As a student of energy engineering, my traineeship at Statkraft is very much in line with my career profile, allowing me to apply my knowledge and enhance my skills with a leading power generation company in Peru.”
Santana believes that companies must take a leading role in helping to reduce the gender gap in areas such as engineering.
“The companies must generate change through their commitment to policies and initiatives that promote gender balance in the organisation.”
“In the first round of Energía 22, we managed to find two women with so much energy to share. Everyone wants to work with them,” says Veronica Arbulu.
“And now, Alessandra has moved into a full-time position with the company and Noelia continues as a trainee,” she points out with a smile.
Kicking off round two of Energía 22
The Energía 22 programme has been such as success that Statkraft Peru has decided to embark on another round.
The company's Human Resources team are once again on the hunt for female candidates with qualities and abilities to make a difference in the company.
“With the Energía 22 scholarship programme, we are forming future women leaders to work within our operations management,” says Veronica Arbulu.
The Gallito Ciego hydropower plant is located 125 kilometres west of Cajamarca city and is operated remotely from Statkraft's dispatch centre in Lima.
Statkraft in Peru
Statkraft has been present in Peru for two decades. Today, the company has nine hydropower plants in operation in the South American country. Annual production of renewable energy is approximately 2.500 GWh, equivalent to providing lighting for more than 1.8 million Peruvian households.
More about Statkraft in Peru