Sapec Agro Business, established in the industrial area of Setúbal, Portugal, for over 90 years, is a reference in the region. It is one of the companies that stands out in the district for its history, turnover, exportation volume and local employability, being also one of the organizations with greater social intervention in the community. One of the programs it has supported for the last 6 years is called EPIS – Entrepreneurs for Social Inclusion, an educational project dedicated to promote school success and dropouts prevention. The mission is, through a first contact with the labor market, motivate, guide, keep track and open the horizons to young pupils with low academic performance or at risk of dropping out.
It was without hesitation that in 2012, for the first time, Sapec Agro Business embraced this project of social inclusion, the outcome was so positive that the close collaboration with the Association is currently maintained. During an entire academic year, once a month, between 10 and 22 students start the day at the company facilities to meet and feel the real definition of “world of work”. In the company, the same number of employees are ready to receive, monitor, help and guide them during that year. In the days spent in the company the students get an overall picture of the function they are allocated and get also a global view of the company operations. Often, the pairs develop extra-work relationships. Six years later, sums more than 90 students, about 70 volunteer employees involved and an average increase of the transition rate of 60.2%.
“The balance of these six years has been highly positive, and this project, at the end of all this time and with more than 90 adolescents involved, is a relevant landmark in the relationship of the company with the community in which we want to continue to be engaged. Our commitment with the empowerment of these students, introducing them to the labor reality and giving them values of progression through merit and investment in their training, is what we believe that will help in their present and future decision making process. Contribute to the reduction of school drop-outs and personal development of each one of the students is very gratifying, “states Ana Primo, Responsible for this Project at Sapec Agro Business.
The social inclusion project supported by the Ministry of Education, was created in 2007 and has already assisted more than 21.000 students from schools across all the country. Currently, the companies that accepted the challenge of the Association are more than 70, and are from sectors as diverse as industry, services, and others. Through Training programs, Mentoring (such as this Volunteer Program with Sapec Agro Business) and Internships, in partnership with these companies, EPIS Association enables the access of these young people to different realities, thus promoting their academic results and, therefore, their social inclusion.