“I started my 6-month VIE (Volunteering for International Experience) in May 2015, working for Total Renewable Energy in Chile. My degree is from ECAM in mechanical engineering. Previously, I had 3 years of professional experience in Germany and Chile and was already living here when I started my VIE. I applied for the position through the Total Careers website.
Here in Chile, Total has recently entered the distributed generation market, which offers small-scale energy solutions for retail customers, including solar rooftop and small scale solar project (less than 9MW capacity). For example, we built 3 pilot rooftop projects in the Santiago area, operating since July 2016.
I´ve been surprised at how fast the energy mix has changed here! In 2016, the lowest energy price in the world was for solar energy in Chile, so the market is growing rapidly and there are more and more national and international companies that want to be part of this expansion. My VIE is an excellent opportunity to contribute to this growth and energy revolution, and I’ve been involved in major changes in regulation and sector growth.
Companies that welcome VIE candidates are often dynamic businesses aiming to develop and expand their market share. I would say that the key skills for success in this role are organization, autonomy and being proactive! You must also be fluent in the language spoken in the country. I strongly recommend the VIE program as it enables you to have a valuable professional experience abroad and you could be part of a new and promising enterprise.
My favorite part of the role has been my involvement in the developing a new business unit from the beginning, especially as Chile is experiencing a solar ‘boom’ and has become the leading country for solar energy in South America. This is a great country to live and work in, and I now intend to stay here and keep working in the renewable energy field!”
* VIE (Volunteering for International Experience) is a French program that allows people up to 28 years to build their professional experience abroad.