Practice makes perfect
The Professional Internships scheme is a major educational commitment for Tecpetrol and an opportunity to aim for the future and expand toward all those companies keen to join.
If the ProPymes Program and Technical Gene at Tecpetrol were missing something, it was a way of bringing their paths together. After a lot of work and effort, they did it. Today, the Professional Internships program is the result of this merger: an important achievement for the Neuquén basin and for the Vaca Muerta region as a whole.
Marcelo Guzsul, the Supplier Development Specialist, explains that, “from ProPymes we identified those SMEs that wanted to join this program and give kids the opportunity to carry out professional internships at their facilities. We’re working with CORE (Community Relations) to integrate technical schools with local companies. We also train teachers and provide support for infrastructure. The idea is for students to learn first-hand about the world of work.”
Pablo Martellotta, CORE Corporate Manager, adds that, “A professional work experience is a requirement for sixth-year students and one that enables them to continue learning while in a real-life work environment. As we needed companies that would be able to integrate this kind of practice, we started looking among our suppliers, particularly within ProPymes, because they had the closest links to Tecpetrol. Finally, this year in Neuquén, we were able to offer our first on-the-job experience.”
This is where the company Nanotech joins the story, an environmental services and civil works company that has considerable experience in oil & gas. They are members of the ProPymes Program and welcomed the students to their base in the Neuquén Industrial Park. Marcelo has nothing but gratitude towards them: “They worked incredibly hard from the beginning, they really liked the idea and took it very seriously. They dedicated a team of people to working with the kids, and the added value of the difference they made is noticeable.”
And what do the students have to say about it all? Guillermo Vázquez Sendon, who’s studying at the Provincial Technical Education School (EPET in Spanish) No. 3, shares how rewarding the experience has been for him. “It's a dream come true! The coordinators help us every day to learn new things and continue growing. When our teacher first told us that we had a chance to do this internship, he said we should take some time to think about it—but it was a no-brainer!” Facundo Delgado, a friend from school and a work colleague in practice, echoes the sentiment: “It was all very new. We learned about structure, piping, and pipe rules and we learned how to survey, how to go to the workshop and measure the parameters for welding and structures.”
Santiago González, the Quality Coordinator at Nanotech, has become an ardent supporter of the professional internships scheme: “The most important thing for the students is to understand how their skills and knowhow can be applied in the field. It’s incredibly positive for them to appreciate the technical side of things as well as how they work in real life, measuring welding parameters, seeing the risks of welding and grinding, and understanding what the quality control department does.” “And why Quality?”, continues José Vera, the Commercial Manager of Nanotech, “well, because it’s comprehensive: it covers everything from the workshop to tasks in the field, including welding, piping and other specialist areas, and they get an overview of everything involved. We’re delighted that Tecpetrol chose us and it’s spectacular to be taken as a reference for young people developing their profession and for them to feel identified with our practices.”
Francisco Olivera, vice rector of the EPET, adds that, “For these students, it’s about providing closure to a 6-year period of learning, and giving them the opportunity to benchmark the knowledge they have built and get closer to the reality of the world of work.” And Pablo closes with, “Now the idea is to extend the modality to other Technical Gene schools in the province. And being able to expand the network of suppliers accompanying us is a key objective for us.”