Thirty percent of all children in Brazil do not finish elementary school. Ten percent of all young people drop out of high school. A free, six-month professional training course from Freudenberg-NOK South America provides young people from low-income families with the opportunity to improve their vocational skills.
The course’s very name indicates its goals: “Aprender para Transformar” or in English “Learning for Change.” Young men and women receive a basic certification in the course on how to operate a machine properly, for example. They also learn about marketing, administration and environmental protection. The course also includes classes in etiquette, as the business environment demands polite interaction with others as an important building block for good and constructive collaboration. An examination committee composed of executives and experts from Freudenberg-NOK South America evaluates the students’ final papers. “It gives the students an extra push to really step up and perform,” says George Rugitsky, President of Freudenberg-NOK South America.
Enormous added value
One special feature of the course is having experts from the company teach the courses. As Rugitsky explains, it is a factor that has a very positive impact on employees: “It improves their self-confidence and leadership skills.” In addition the working environment is improved when employees look outside the box. The successful initiative also polishes the company’s image. “The
course allows us to make a meaningful contribution to society and give something back. It has found a lot of recognition,” says Rugitsky.
Since 2009 we have trained 176 students. About 24 percent of them (42 people) now work for the company while half of the remaining graduates have found work in other companies.