On the outskirts of the southeastern Brazilian city of Campinas sits the crime-afflicted township of Itatinga, where many children grow up without access to proper education. Without the foundation of proper schooling, crime becomes an ever-present temptation and the children grow up with little hope for the future. In an effort to help, Samsung Electronics’ Campinas factory is offering the youth of Itatinga apprenticeships that teach them skills, earn them valuable work experience, and start them on the road to a better future.
The Samsung factory in Campinas has been offering the ‘My First Apprenticeship’ program in partnership with local NGO CEPROMM since 2012. Those accepted into apprenticeships work six hours a day, four days a week for 16 months, and are assigned tasks such as issuing employee ID cards, managing data and providing administrative assistance. At Samsung Electronics, the youths are afforded a chance to gain invaluable work experience and to start seeing themselves as valuable, contributing members of society. Itatinga local and former apprenticeship participant Isaias Novaes says of her situation that:
I was selling candy on the street one day when an old friend of mine came up to me in an expensive outfit and pointed out that I could make money much more easily if I were willing to break the law. If I had hung out with people like her, I would probably have been arrested, and I wouldn’t be here today. My Samsung apprenticeship taught me that I can be a respectful member of society.
Asked about the apprenticeships, Priscilla Tiemi Shibata Maximino from Samsung’s Campinas factory said:
We partnered with CEPROMM to create a program that supports the underprivileged youth in Campinas. Many in our program have never thought seriously about their future or had something to be passionate about. Working at Samsung Electronics, they realize that they can dream – that they can have a future. After completing their apprenticeships, some participants apply to colleges and some seek fulltime work at Samsung – whatever it is, they finally feel empowered to pursue what they’re passionate about.
On June 12, Samsung’s apprenticeship program was featured on a local TV show commemorating World Day Against Child Labor 2019. Those featured on the show included former Samsung Campinas apprentice and current Samsung employee Natasha Campos de Jesus and her mother, Alexsandra Campos de Jesus. Asked about her experience with the program, Natasha Campos de Jesus said:
It wasn’t actually an easy program. It was challenging, but I completed it and now I work for Samsung Electronics. I am really grateful to Samsung and CEPROMM for this opportunity, and my mother is even more excited than me!
Natasha and her mother both say that the apprenticeship and subsequent employment have ‘changed everything’ for them. Alexsandra Campos de Jesus commented that:
It’s the beginning of a completely different life for us. I didn’t expect that the apprenticeship program would change our lives so drastically. Now Natasha is working for a global company in Samsung Electronics, and she has a bright future. For her, it’s a wonderfully different life. I couldn’t be more thankful.
Since the program began in 2012, 243 young people have worked at Samsung’s Campinas factory as part of the ‘My First Apprenticeship’ program. 23 of those apprentices are now fully-fledged employees of the company.
The ultimate goal of Samsung’s apprenticeship program in Campinas is to instill a sense of pride in young people, and to show them that they are valued individuals who are capable of chasing their dreams. Before her apprenticeship in Campinas, Samsung employee Tatiana Helena dos Santos received supplementary education from CEPROMM to equip her for the role. Speaking about the help she received, dos Santos said:
I learned how to add and subtract numbers at CEPROMM. I started late, but I really enjoyed learning. My teacher was like a mother to me, and I studied hard. Since my apprenticeship ended, I’ve been working at Samsung Electronics. My two years working there have been like a dream come true. The people at work are incredibly supportive and respectful, and have become like my family. I am really thankful, and that makes me want to do my best all the time.
Global corporations have the ability to help underprivileged communities overcome the challenges they face, and Samsung’s Campinas factory has taken that responsibility upon itself. The apprenticeships seek to empower young people at a base level by encouraging them to think ‘I can do this’, and ‘I want to give it a try’. Elaborating on the nature of the ‘My First Apprenticeship’ program, Priscilla Maximino went on to say:
The apprentices work on simple tasks, but they get a lot out of it. They don’t just think about their potential futures with Samsung Electronics, they also begin to have realizations such as: ‘I can achieve things on my own’, ‘I’m a decent person’, and ‘I can function as a member of society if I give it a try…’
With the efforts of Samsung’s Campinas factory attracting national attention and support, the company is now looking to expand its CSR projects in the region. In addition to ‘My First Apprenticeship’, Samsung also currently operates the ‘My First Flight’ program, which offers people the chance to fly to the Brazilian capital for the first time. Additionally, the company is planning to roll out its ‘My First Job Training’ program, which will be centered around the hairdressing industry, in August of 2019.
Going forward, Samsung and its Campinas factory will continue offering life-changing opportunities to residents of Brazil’s most underprivileged areas.