#WomenWhoBuild: “Techint gave me the chance to show people what I know and what I can do”
Danya Hernández is a welder at the Precast Workshop in Mexico and trains other would-be welders. Her journey has not been an easy one, but she’s convinced that it’s all been worthwhile.
“Before I joined Techint, my dad had gotten sick, so my mother and I had to go out and find work. Some former classmates told me that there was a company hiring women to work in a shipyard, so without thinking twice, we decided to go there!
I remember that we went to the company offices and to begin with, they told us that they weren’t hiring women after all. But we didn’t give up, we did a bit of research and discovered that the managers would be there the next day, so we came back. One of the shipyard directors gave us some written questions to answer as they were looking for pipe workers—but I didn't know anything and my mother even less!
As we were already there, after answering the questions, I plucked up courage to approach the manager and explain that although we didn’t know the trade specifically, we really wanted to work and that would be the incentive for us to learn how to do it.
I think my persistence paid off, because the next day we went back again, and when he saw us, he said, ‘these two women have already passed the test.’ I was assigned to be a pipe assistant on the afternoon shift and my mother on the night shift. That's where our great adventure began!"
At the company, Danya learned about welding, beginning with rigging supports and then moving on to using oxy-fuel cutting equipment.
Danya Hernandez is 27 years old, from Salina Cruz in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. She joined Techint E&C in June 2019 to work at the Hot Rolling Mill project in Monterrey, and is currently a welder in the Precast Workshop.
She started as a plate welder, doing support, but since there were few operators, she was given some theoretical and practical tests enabling her to qualify as an operator for lifting platforms, so she was able to carry out two jobs.
“One of the important things about this process is that the supervisor running the tests was a woman. She really earned my admiration, as she showed me the ropes, and when I had questions, she’d explain things to me as many times as was necessary. She was my mentor,” recalls Danya.
She picked up other skills over time as the requirements came up according to each project. “In the shipyard, I learned on the fly, starting on a welding table, from there I started using a weld head, and by the time I got to Monterrey, I had amassed quite a bit of know-how. At the Hot Rolling Mill, I learned to weld with argon gas. I think you should always be keen to learn; I took advantage of my free time at lunch to practice and keep pursuing my goal,” she says with a smile.
Today, at the Precast Workshop, Danya is in charge of welding medium and high thickness pipes which are in demand for the different plants at the Dos Bocas Refinery. She’s working with automatic welding, carried out with the support of a machine that her to work more quickly.
“I had to learn how to do this in my free time, as at the Workshop, they gave me the opportunity to qualify as an automatic welder. Also, when I have time, I train men who want to learn the trade,” adds Danya.
As the only female automatic welder at the Workshop, “I feel proud of myself because I know that I’m a long way from home, doing a job that’s not usual for women. My colleagues recognize me for my work, others even say that they admire me! I like that and it motivates me to improve.”
“As this kind of job isn’t so common among women, it’s up to us to show that we are perfectly capable of this kind of specialized work. When managers see that you know how to weld and have experience, the situation changes for the better. It’s really satisfying to be able to positively modify other people’s perceptions!” she comments.
For Danya, there are no limits or borders, and she’s also willing to work outside of Mexico. “I’d love to do this!” she enthuses, "I wish I could go beyond my comfort zone!"
In the future, she sees herself continuing to work as a welder at Techint. “I’d like to continue working at Techint because they were the ones who gave me the opportunity to show them what I could do. They hired me as a welder's assistant, and I was able to show them that I knew what to do, and they gave me the chance to do it. They qualified me as a welder and here I am today, working at one of the company’s most important projects!”