Rio Vermelho created the Glen Talents training programme to address the sugar energy industry’s twin problems: a lack of suitably skilled workers and the social impact of the increasing mechanisation of harvesting.

For environmental and economic reasons, the industry is seeing a steady decrease in the need for labour-intensive manual workers as harvesting becomes increasingly mechanised. This change has resulted in safer but fewer jobs for local communities, as well as an increase in the number of unskilled workers in the labour market who cannot take advantage of the skilled employment opportunities now available.

In addition, increasing use of technology within agricultural activities means that Rio Vermelho has growing demands for suitably trained workers, mainly those with skills in maintaining and operating harvesters and other agricultural machinery. 

The Glen Talents programme is Rio Vermelho’s response to this situation. Since the programme was initiated in 2011, there have been 29 participants.

Training course 2011 2012 Total
Sugarcane harvester operator 8 16* 24
Agricultural maintenance assistant   5 5
Total 8 21 29

*8 of these participants began training in October 2012, completing the programme in March 2013.

Participants received a wide range of training that corresponds with Rio Vermelho’s health and safety priorities, including general operating instructions, practical and theoretical mechanised harvesting safety and maintenance, driving economically, first aid and education on environment and teamwork. The harvester operators received 319 hours of training in total and agricultural maintenance assistants received 473.