The first, hugely successful, year of Brussels-based project Electrogirl, aiming to train women as industrial electricians, came to an end in December 2016. This initiative appeals to businesses intending to increase diversity within traditionally male occupations. The programme has already been recommissioned for 2017.

Thanks to the new Electrogirl project, run in partnership with Bruxelles Formation and the non-profit organisation Interface3 ([1]), 12 trainees started their industrial electrician training in January 2016. Of the eight women who completed training, seven have been offered a contract by Veolia, a company which is responsible for the maintenance of European Commission and Parliament infrastructure.

The idea for the Electrogirl project was conceived in 2015: the non-profit organisation Interface3 sought to offer women under the age of 30 training in the field of electricity, a flourishing area in terms of jobs. Interface3 was looking for a partner to handle the technical aspect of the vocational training. An agreement was quickly put in place with Bruxelles Formation and its industrial training centre and the project was swiftly able to develop a training programme.

Interface3 is responsible for the recruitment and selection of young women. It carries out a cross-disciplinary pre-training scheme over 20 days, a Dutch-language course (20 days), an introduction to the programme (five days), an office module (five days) and a labour market integration module (eight days). Bruxelles Formation ([2]) is responsible for the technical training component, which comprises 40% theory and 60% practical training workshop (140 days). The project combines the strengths of both partners.

Soon after its launch, the Electrogirl project drew attention from various businesses via articles in the press and through word of mouth. Several companies active in this sector (Veolia, SPIE, Cofely and Schneider), that already had diversity plans within the context of their corporate social responsibility policy, sought to increase the number of women in their teams. Since then, Veolia has offered a three-week familiarisation internship within its maintenance teams at European institutions. This internship has been integrated into the training at two-thirds of the way through the course, allowing interns to become acquainted with the day-to-day workings of a maintenance company.

In response to interest from interns and businesses, Bruxelles Formation and Interface3 have decided to continue the project in 2017, in collaboration with Veolia who will offer a six-week internship halfway through the course. Bruxelles Formation is considering extending this type of project to other occupations.


([2]) The vocational training centre bf.industrie