“Mujeres al volante”, the first professional driving school of transport and heavy equipment for women in Ecuador.

● Holcim Ecuador, NIRSA, ESCOP (School of Professional Operators of Heavy Machinery of the UTPL), with the endorsement of UN Women, come together to work for equal opportunities for women and created this school.
● Participants will receive a 90% scholarship for their training.
● In the first class, 25 women are expected to graduate and obtain the G-type professional license.

According to INEC statistics, only 7.8% of heavy transport drivers in Ecuador are women and only 3.9% in the construction sector, so Holcim Ecuador, being a company committed to gender equality and sustainable development, has joined the School of Professional Operators of Heavy Machinery of the UTPL and NIRSA to create the first professional driving school of transportation and heavy equipment for women in the country.

Registrations were opened on August 29 and will remain enabled until September 14 on the website www.holcim.com.ec/mujeres-al-volante, where so far 477 women have registered. Classes will begin in October and the modality will be hybrid, 75% online and 25% face-to-face.

“Mujeres al volante” (Women on wheels) was born with the purpose of building progress and opportunities by promoting diversity and inclusion in the professional development of heavy machinery, leaving aside the social stereotypes that surround it. “In Holcim Ecuador we want to transform the construction industry, the challenge for equality in the sector is in the operational positions, so we are proud to be part of this initiative that seeks to break paradigms,” says Dolores Prado, CEO of the company.

In the different types of industries from mass consumption to construction, driving is immersed, especially heavy equipment. Therefore, the license that the students will obtain at the end of the course will be type G, which allows them to operate up to 4 types of heavy machinery simultaneously such as: excavator, retro excavator, loader and tractor.

Part of the creation of this school is thanks to the alliance in conjunction with more companies that work for gender equity within their value chain, one of them is NIRSA, who within their operation promote equality by creating development opportunities for women, “as corporate governance we consider that work has no gender; we work every day under the commitment to achieve a better, more equitable society with better opportunities for all”, says Jorge Arpí, executive president of the company.

Another of the fundamental alliances to create “Mujeres al volante” was with the ESCOP of the UTPL, who will be in charge of teaching the classes with their highly trained teaching team. “In other countries, women operators have gained a lot of space, and that motivated us as a school, to look for ways to encourage the participation of women in areas where men predominate,” said Mauricio Ramírez, regional director of Costa and Insular of the institution.

Creating initiatives such as “Mujeres al volante” that inspire and intensify the efforts made to ensure the presence of women at all levels of the organization is one of the objectives of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which, since 2013, have been working in Holcim Ecuador with the endorsement of UN Women. “In this sense, it is important to include women in all aspects since they have the same abilities and even similar attributes, but not the same opportunities as their male peers, so “Mujeres al volante” the same time is a very important step to achieve equality in a historically masculinized industry”, says Ana Elena Badilla, UN Women representative in Ecuador.

The first class will graduate in February 2023 and it is expected to continue with more promotions to raise the percentage of women trained to drive heavy machinery in the country.

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