Case study SO1, 9 and 10: Leaving the rubber boots

In a society with a turbulent recent history, it is not easy for ex-combatants to find productive work. With the Colombian government, Electrolux has developed a program that provides training and career opportunities for successful applicants while creating a flow of much needed service technicians for the company.

During 2011, Electrolux joined the Colombian Government to help integrate ex-combatants from the guerrilla army into society by giving them vocational training.

An initiative combining business and social needs, the program strengthened stakeholder relationships for Electrolux and prepared service technicians for work in new, remote markets where lack of service had been a limiting factor.

Training program

Electrolux interviewed 50 candidates who had already completed a government reintegration scheme and selected 20 of them for further training.

Over three weeks, the candidates received 140 hours of intensive training designed, delivered and paid for by Electrolux. At the end of the course, 16 trainees passed the final evaluation and were awarded a service technician’s diploma. By year-end 2011, five were employed directly by Electrolux in service centers, three started their own operations and two work for other authorized service centers. 

The project satisfied a number of business goals simultaneously: it provided jobs in remote regions where Electrolux needed service technicians, it improved the quality of service and it attracted positive media coverage.

The program has also helped strengthen relationships with government, communities and customers, and is a source of pride for employees. Most remarkably of all, it provided an opportunity for ex-guerilla combatants to re-integrate into society, develop their skills and provide for their families.

Why the rubber boots? It's a reference to how people could separate state-soldiers from the guerrilla variety. The state's uniform has combat boots, while guerillas wear rubber boots, better suited for the jungle environment.