Taking the leap with the community
One of the SMEs in the value chain, Estrategias Competitivas del Sur (ECDSur) came about by adopting the training program given during the Welding Communities Workshops as its own.
They’ve gone from a simple shed to a six-bay warehouse, currently in the process of being revamped. They’ve grown a workshop manned by three welders to become a fully-fledged company employing a staff of 24. Estrategias Competitivas del Sur (ECDSur), one of the SMEs in Tecpetrol's value chain in the Neuquén Basin, is the perfect embodiment of the spirit of ProPymes. They started out as an engineering company in 2016, metamorphosed into a works and services company and today, after joining the program that provided them with consulting and training resources, they’re growing and expanding in a remarkable way.
The company dedicates itself to a specialized niche, focusing on welding which uses highly specific procedures. Over time, they adapted the workplace to incorporate the necessary equipment and tripled their installed capacity. "They showed up just at the right time, enabling us to accompany them through a critical period in their development, going from a small workshop run by some highly technical people who learned the dynamics of the business in two years, to positioning themselves in Vaca Muerta as an expert supplier of welding services," explained Marcelo Guszul, Supplier Development Specialist. Their next major leap forward, he predicted, will be to go out and provide services in the field.
One of the keys to this company’s extraordinary development is the Welding Communities Workshops that the ProPymes Program has organized at Tecpetrol’s different operations, twice a year since 2021. ECDSur finally opened its own workshop to teach different welding techniques to the members of the local community, in May 2022. "They were one of the first companies to join our Welding Communities Workshops and they totally understood the spirit of this enterprise," added Guszul, who highlights their keen sense of opportunity. "They picked this up and ran with it, not only to train people in welding techniques but also as a way of getting to know their community, to the point that they started to handle their own training courses." Today, 25% of its staff and 66% of its female welders come from the Welding Communities initiative.
Dreaming of being a welder
When it comes to innovating, ECDSur was among the first local companies to recruit women from the neighboring community to join the Welding Communities Workshops. In fact, many women who started work as welding assistants gradually shouldered increasingly complex responsibilities until they gained their certification. And the company has also recently pioneered the new Metalworking Training Program, launched in January 2023, designed to give the training continuity over time.
"I attended the Welding Communities Workshop, it was a really good course, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be able to join this company and for them to let us use their welding equipment. At the end of the course, they told us about the professional training program, and I was extremely interested, as one of my dreams is to be part of the world of welding. Today I can say that despite all my fears, I was able to cut pipes and weld things in my own time, something I would never have been able to do without the support of my colleagues," said Belén, one of the participants, in a letter she wrote to thank them.
Another applicant, Jesús Navarrete, attended the Workshop and was certified a few weeks before the next edition—and ended up teaching at a special course aimed at young people from a job placement school for the differently-abled to learn the basics of welding. "The Welding Communities Workshops team understood that they had this amazing capacity to transmit knowledge and started to incorporate the novel tactic of developing an approach to different groups of people," added Guszul. Today, the company is in full expansion.
A virtuous mission
ECDSur is an emblematic case for the ProPymes Program. "We created the structure for people to recognize the need for safety and quality standards in the search for personnel, to attract financing, to keep pace with the ups and downs of the oil market in the Argentine context, so that they could grow in an organized way," explained Marcelo Guszul.
In two years, Estrategias Competitivas del Sur fully adopted the training dynamics and made the course their own, joining both the project management workshops and the leveling courses for its qualified workforce. They also gave a warm welcome to the consulting team assigned to accompany them and help them consolidate their project. “They had a very clear understanding of what we’re doing,” concluded Guszul. "The differential for Tecpetrol's ProPymes brand is continuity: it’s about long-term accompaniment."