Today, the Naturgy Foundation announced the winners of the second edition of the Prize for Best Social Energy Initiativewhich aims to raise the profile of people, organisations and institutions that stand out in the social sector for their energy-related projects.
This year, the jury recognised the ‘Plugged into Employment’ project of Fundación Exit and the ‘Generating the future’initiative of the Norte Joven Association, for their promotion of training for young people in the energy industry, with the aim of preventing them from leaving school early and encouraging them to enter the job market.
In total, around 60 candidates from all the Autonomous Communities presented their initiatives for this award, which grants €60,000 to the winning organisation and €30,000 to the runner-up, to promote their projects.
“The high number of proposals and their quality shows that Spain has an enormous social and solidarity fabric,” said the president of the foundation, Rafael Villaseca, during the awards ceremony. Villaseca also acknowledged the efforts of all the organisations that have submitted their proposals, and that during 2020 had to face the challenge of the pandemic, and highlighted “the fantastic award-winning projects, which combine energy with the training of young people to improve their employability.”
Among the applications submitted this year, those linking the energy industry with youth, training and the environment have stood out. “Education is the most important tool for transformation that exists, because of its benefits for the person who receives it, which last a lifetime, and because it radiates directly in their whole environment,” explained Alberto Núñez, chair of the panel. Núñez particularly valued training and the creation of youth employment as a priority to reduce inequality and offer new options to young people with the most disadvantaged backgrounds.
The names of the winners were announced at a restricted ceremony, due to strict Covid-19 protocols, which was attended by the ten finalists, the panel judges, and the Foundation's deputy chairman and Managing Director of Sustainability, Reputation and Institutional Relations at Naturgy, Jordi Garcia Tabernero.
Fundación Exit: youth employment as a priority to reduce inequality
For the last 21 years, Fundación Exit has been educating young people to prevent them from dropping out of school early and to promote their integration into the job market as a priority to reduce inequality. Its innovative training project is one of the most solid and stable in Spain for youths in vulnerable situations, and one of those that generates the greatest social network with companies, educational centres and volunteers.
The winning project, ‘Plugged into Employment’, promotes the training of young people in the energy industry, while responding to the high demand for vocational training positions in companies. The training itinerary facilitates direct contact between young people and companies and their employees, who collaborate on a voluntary basis in the programme.
This initiative of Fundación Exit has a positive impact on more than 2,000 beneficiaries, in addition to the 500 young people who are supported by 200 volunteers. It is implemented in six Autonomous Communities: Community of Madrid, Catalonia, Community of Valencia, Andalusia, Aragon and the Balearic Islands
Asociación Norte Joven: youth employment
Norte Joven is an NGO in the Community of Madrid that has been working to promote the social and work integration of socially disadvantaged people through vocational and academic training, personal development and work integration programmes since 1985.
The runner-up project, 'Generating the future', includes a training itinerary that integrates awareness-raising actions and interventions in vulnerable households and social organisations to achieve energy improvement. So far, 241 young people have been trained and energy efficiency actions have been carried out in 62 homes, hiring of 12 self-employed people in precarious situations, who have supervised the work of the participants in the programme.
The award-winning initiative has managed to reduce school drop-out rates and has enabled young people to obtain a qualification, as well as to enter the job market in the energy industry, which has plenty of potential for the future.
The members of the panel are: Alberto Núñez, S.J., Professor in the Department of General Management and Strategy at ESADE, who chairs the panel; Manuel Bretón, chair of the charity Cáritas Española; Llum Delàs, trustee of the Esperanza Foundation; Salvador García-Atance, Chairman of the Lealtad Foundation; Father Ángel García Rodríguez, Chairman of Mensajeros de la Paz (Messengers of Peace); Juan José López Burniol, Deputy Chairman of the ‘la Caixa’ Banking Foundation; Josep Ramoneda, Director of the European School of Humanities in Barcelona; Elena Salgado, Chair of the Spanish Consultancy Firms Association; Javier Senent, President of the Spanish Red Cross; Gustavo Suárez Pertierra, President of UNICEF Spanish Committee; the deputy chairman of the Naturgy Foundation, Jordi Garcia Tabernero, and its general manager, María Eugenia Coronado.