- The end goal of this initiative is to mitigate the effects of rural depopulation by generating employment opportunities for young people living in low-density population areas, while taking advantage of renewable energy development;
- In the 2021 edition, 30% of the participants found a job in the sector, with EDPR being one of the employers;
- The program – developed together by EDPR and Vestas – has been named one of the most innovative ideas in the CSR and Volunteerism category by the 100 Best Ideas awards given out by Spanish financial magazine Actualidad Económica.
The “Keep It Local” program created and developed by EDPR and alongside the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas, has been named one of Actualidad Ecónomica’s [Financial News] “100 Best Ideas” under the CSR and volunteerism category.
Rural areas in Spain have seen a steady flow of inhabitants move to more urban areas in recent years leading to extremely low levels of generational replacement. Other negative aspects of this migratory trend include the effect on the environment as well as the impact on individuals’ well-being. In this sense Target 11 under the WHO’s Sustainable Development Goals (“make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”) is one of the most important for Spain as a country as it would help ensure higher levels of sustainability for all.
With this in mind, the creation and promotion of rebalancing policies capable of providing better opportunities to young people living in depopulated areas is key. To this end, and with the end goal of contributing to mitigate the rural population drain and drive employment opportunities within these areas, EDPR and Vestas have come up with the “Keep It Local” program with the mission of training young people interested in pursuing careers in renewables, so as to give them a better chance to work in a sector with tremendous potential.
The initiative targets young people living in low population density areas with low employment rates with the aim of creating new employment opportunities for them taking advantage of the development of renewable energy projects in rural areas. The project offers participants with free, top-quality training from the Asociación Empresarial Eólica (AEE, Wind Power Business Owners’ Association) alongside the chance to access the labour market in their home regions. Both EDPR and Vestas have taken a more direct approach with students participating in the recruitment process; ultimately 30% of participants in the 2021 program found a job in the sector, with EDPR being one of the employers
For all of the above reasons the “Keep It Local” program was named one of the 100 Best Ideas by Actualidad Económica, an award that highlights the most innovative new initiatives for each sector which not only contribute to accelerate the growth of companies but also to drive the creation of employment opportunities.
In the words of Duarte Bello, EDPR’s COO for Europe and Latin America: “We are extremely proud to have received this award. It’s a recognition to the work we’ve been doing over the past two years in terms of corporate social responsibility, in line with our commitment to the well-being and development of the local communities in which we operate. We have put a lot of resources into this scheme and it is yielding very positive results. In fact, this year we have already launched the second edition increasing the number of scholarships, and we are working to develop the programme in other markets. We will continue to work hard to add value to local communities and help solve the rural depopulation issue Spain is struggling with.”
“Companies must take responsibility for the well-being of the planet and the people. At Vestas we strongly believe in the transformational power of education, which is why we decided to take an active role in the implementation of the “Keep It Local” scheme with the hope of creating new jobs in rural environments within a sector showing continuous expansion”, comments José Luis Jimeno, chairman of Vestas Mediterránea.