Anna Livia Canedo, engineer at Tractebel Energia
In southern Brazil, Anna Livia Canedo Carvalho works as an engineer for Tractebel Energia which employs more than 1,100 employees. Among her tasks, Anna Livia Canedo handles different equipment required for energy production.
Portrait of Anna Livia for ENGIE
When I was small, I wanted to become an engineer, like my father. I grew up with this example, and so it was completely natural for me to enter university to pursue scientific studies.” In 2011, with her chemical engineer diploma under her belt, Anna immediately launched herself into an active life. “When I was a student, I did not have any specific ideas about which sector I was going to build my career in. But I did know that I wanted to work in industry. When I heard about Tractebel’s Jovens Talentos (Young Talent) program, I immediately applied. I was lucky to be hired, which allowed me to learn, specifically and on site, how electricity power plants operate.” With some fifty other engineers and technicians, Anna underwent ver y complete training for a year on the different plant equipment, systems and procedures and on the company’s operating methods. “Alongside these theory-based training courses, we had several internships lasting from one month to six weeks at a variety of the Group’s plants in Brazil”.»
After this intensive apprenticeship, Anna joined the Jorge Lacerda C plant, in the state of Santa Catarina, where she has now been working for two years. “There have not been any difficulties with my integration within the team, despite my being the only woman. Everyone here is very open-minded, and I am considered like any other engineer. Mindsets have evolved greatly from previous generations, and a woman can perform this job very well, which does not require any special physical strength.” As the plant needs to operate 24 hours a day, five teams work in shifts day and night. “My job involves organizing the work to be carried out by the operators and technicians, in addition to looking after the equipment, ensuring it is maintained properly, and negotiating with our suppliers and providers. My concern at all times is for the plant to operate at its best performance and produce the energy expected.” 363 MW, it is a sizeable unit, and errors are not permitted. “We make huge efforts to optimize the plant’s energy efficiency, which to put it in simple terms means producing more electricity with less coal, and at the same time significantly reducing our carbon gas emissions and other pollutants.” Safeguarding the environment, as well as the safety of plant personnel is fundamental for Anna. “We have very strict rules that I aim to ensure are applied. For instance, once a month, I host a meeting to look at these issues”.
A lot to pass on already, and still a lot to learn
Anna is not alone of course in making decisions: “I have managers above me and a lot yet to learn!” But the young engineer is set to go far. “I work hard, and I hope that one day Tractebel Energia will entrust me with greater responsibilities within the plant.” While Anna receives ongoing training to further strengthen her knowledge, she also provides training. “Every Tuesday evening, I act as a teacher as part of the partnership between Tractebel and the SENAI*, an apprenticeship system that is very active in Brazil. It is very rewarding for me to convey to future engineers the skills that I have acquired in the field of thermodynamics and to share with them my experiences from the operational standpoint!” Ask Anna what advice she would give women who would like to do her job, and she is quick to answer: “Believe in yourselves and persevere! Even if electricity production is still a man’s world, you can be very successful. In our day, things have changed. Women have access to operational functions and to positions of responsibility that were inaccessible to them in the past.”
*SENAI (National Industrial Apprenticeship Service) is a very attractive apprenticeship system in Brazil that offers young people industrial training by professionals. The training provided under this program is provided by companies in the industrial sector.