Morning Future Trabajo Y Persona
Inspiring The Case 30 August Aug 2019 0803 30 August 2019

The miracle of Trabajo y persona: creating business in impoverished Venezuela

Alejandro Marius is a former business executive who started a non-profit project which for ten years has been teaching a trade to thousands of Venezuelans

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Ten years ago, he left a position as an executive of a multinational company. Now his association teaches a trade to thousands of people in one of the poorest corners of South America. This is the story of Alejandro Marius, a 48-year-old Italian Venezuelan who up until 2009 was putting his studies in electronic engineering to good use working for Pirelli-Telecom in South America. An enviable position that wasn’t entirely satisfying, so much so that Marius decided to set himself up in the social world. His pride and joy is called “Trabajo y persona” and operates in Venezuela, where every day it trains future professionals in the most diverse sectors: chocolatiers, hairdressers, computer scientists, cooks and so on.

Always non-profit and in the name of a faith in Catholicism that inspires the social and communitarian aspect of the project, without however characterizing or influencing the work sphere with religion. During these ten years Marius has hired 30 people and managed to set up collaborations with about twenty training centers and 100 professional trainers. The figures say he’s right: 40% of the 3,000 young unemployed people trained by Trabajo y Persona not only managed to find a job but set up their own businesses. Not bad for a social fabric worn out by an enormous political and economic crisis, as we have seen in the recent news: just think that since 2013 the unemployment rate has gone from 7.9% to today’s 30%.

Forty percent of the 3,000 or so young people trained in these ten years have started their own business

The most obvious consequence is that Venezuela has become a poor country from where young people run away in search of opportunities when they have the chance. This is why in recent years more and more elderly people are being left alone and without assistance, so much so that Trabajo y Persona has also opened courses for carers, which are very popular.

In this context, Trabajo y Persona takes on even more significance. When they enroll, the students take a 15 months course including a theoretical and practical part. Once the training is complete, the association still follows through with its students by providing them with the necessary professional updates and, of course, being close at hand for any more personal needs. The Trabajo y Persona website lists all areas of interest, ranging from manufacturing to food. Some specific cases represent the great success of the courses. Sometimes students, after the courses, decide to get together to open a business. The association can collaborate with them – as well as working with some large groups, for example L'Oreal or Ford – but it does not directly finance the creation of these companies. However, they often become able to sustain themselves, so much so that in recent years cooperatives of chocolatiers, mechanics, hairdressers and furniture workers have been established. All thanks to a former Pirelli manager.

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