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The trainee who went on to became a manager: the road travelled by Valéria Freitas

Published 26.7.2022

Today an engineer, Valéria's professional life initially took her to several different workplaces until she joined the construction world. Thanks to her dedication and hard work, she's the first in her family to earn a college degree.

Getting a job is no easy task, but the results far outweigh the effort. In addition, of course, to the salary and benefits involved, there's also the sense of accomplishment and achievement that decent employment brings. For many who identify closely with their profession, their work is even an extension of their personality.

Apart from the difficulty of getting your first job, you must stay relevant to the job market. Many people manage to do this in their chosen profession or area, and duly follow the same path for their whole lives. Other, on the other hand, change as the opportunity arises until they find a job that they really feel excited about doing. This was the case with Valéria Freitas, now a Construction Engineer working on the Parnaiba V project, a thermoelectric plant built by Techint E&C in San Antonio dos Lopes, Maranhao, Brazil.

Before joining Techint E&C, Valéria had worked as a telemarketing operator, as an intern at a business school and as a trainee in the administrative sector of a restaurant. After so many different experiences, in 2011, she was invited to apply for the company's Young Apprentice program.

At the time she was still studying for the entrance exams to get a place at a Civil Engineering college and her professional aspirations were a perfect fit with the job she was applying for. She got the job and got into college - and from there began building her professional career.

Looking back at her early days, she comments: "When I had the opportunity to take a first-hand look at the projects and to participate in strategic meetings held to close proposals, and most importantly, to be challenged day after day, I was sure that 'engineering' was what I wanted to do."

Valéria is an excemption in a country where formal employment is still largely a dream for much of the population. According to a survey by the iDados platform, associated with the O Globo newspaper, in Brazil, people's average age when they get their first registered job is 28. This underscores the importance that programs such as the Young Apprentice scheme offer a life-changing opportunity not only for those involved but also for their families and communities. For many, this opportunity is just the beginning of a long career.

Valéria's family was on the receiving end of her persistence, as she's the first in her family to earn a university degree and promptly became an example for everyone in that environment.

As she looks back at what she's achieved so far, the engineer emphasizes the importance of the formative experiences she had. "Today, I'm 29 and working in a large company. Over my 11-year career, I can truly say that I've learned an enormous amount. Being able to manage professionals who often have more years of experience than I have of life, and being able to convey credibility and earn their respect, makes me realize that I'm taking the right path."

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