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SOY 502 article about the Workshop School of the Municipality of Guatemala

posted Mar 6, 2017, 9:42 AM by Madre Alexandra   [ updated Mar 6, 2017, 9:52 AM ]
"The Municipal Workshop School, an alternative space for youth" is an article by Fredy Hernández that was published in SOY502, an online Guatemalan newspaper. As you know, the Workshop school has a branch at our zone 1 location and a few of our boys attend school there.

We have provided a translation below. 

A translation of "The Municipal Workshop School, an alternative space for youth" by Fredy Hernández.

Much is heard among young people that there are few job opportunities, that companies do not open their doors so they can exercise their skills. Others engage in acts that go against the law to obtain a livelihood.

However, there is an educational and integral alternative that is aimed at the youth of the city, with greater emphasis on zones 5, 6, 18 and 21, places with few opportunities within the capital. (Guatemala City) 

This alternative is the Workshop School of the Municipality of Guatemala (ETM, Escuela Taller Municipal), a space where young people between 15 and 21, can learn various trades with which they can develop within society as good citizens and avoid being tempted by bad influences.

"Young adults can learn electricity, carpentry, masonry, welding, and gardening. When they apply to the school, they are given an entrance examination, evaluated, and then it is determined what opportunities they have to learn a trade," explains Enrique Polanco, coordinator of the ETM.

The space is open for men and women. Both learn in the same way without distinction of gender, which makes the atmosphere of the participants more enjoyable. During our visit to the school, young women were observed carrying heavy metal beams or working the land to prepare for new gardens.

The program, which has the support of the Spanish Cooperation, not only offers education to interested parties, but also materials and accessories to practice their trade (glasses, gloves, helmets and shoes).

In addition, the Municipality of Guatemala grants 500 quetzales monthly (about $65 US), which must be used for food, transportation, and formal education, as well as other personal or family needs.

The program has two phases. In the first year, students receive basic courses of the trade to which they are integrated; In the next, students continue to study and carry out work of greater dimension within their field, realizing the opportunity to do internships in companies or workshops, which gives them the opportunity to find a permanent position. These practices are endorsed by the Guatemalan Ministry of Education.

At the end of their studies, the graduates receive a diploma of Technical Training and a Certificate of Competence, also endorsed by the Ministry of Education.

The school has existed since 1999 in Guatemala City, and, since then, students have been growing and participating in the works of the capital, such as, but not limited to the gardening and maintenance of the parks, and electrical installations of public lamps.

Within a few weeks, the students of the Municipal Workshop School will be in charge of remodeling the new Plaza España, which will become a pedestrian space surrounded by gardens and green spaces for the benefit of the capital.

If you want to know more about the ETM, you can visit it in the third avenue 15-35 of zone 1. They have contemplated opening other courses such as a bakery, which has been another of the requested spaces, besides becoming the first of the whole region to have green roofs to generate their own solar energy, and the first to have a cafeteria that is supplied with its own fruits and crops.