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AG&P’s Women’s Welder Program marks 40 years of breaking barriers

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Veteran welder Marites Casao (left) is a graduate of AG&P and TESDA’s Women’s Welder Program. She has been welding for 20 years. AG&P developed a curriculum with TESDA in 1979 specifically to train women welders. The pioneering program has brought livelihood opportunities to thousands of Filipino women. Marites Casao is among the 1,300 AG&P personnel who were deployed for onsite construction, commissioning and operations and maintenance works for a mining project in New Caledonia.

Veteran welder Marites Casao (left) is a graduate of AG&P and TESDA’s Women’s Welder Program. She has been welding for 20 years. AG&P developed a curriculum with TESDA in 1979 specifically to train women welders. The pioneering program has brought livelihood opportunities to thousands of Filipino women. Marites Casao is among the 1,300 AG&P personnel who were deployed for onsite construction, commissioning and operations and maintenance works for a mining project in New Caledonia.

The trailblazing Women Welders Program of homegrown energy infrastructure and construction services company, Atlantic Gulf & Pacific (AG&P), is marking its 40th year of recruiting, training and empowering Filipino women to take up the skilled craft alongside their male counterparts.

AG&P’s unique program was launched in 1979 in collaboration with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) at a time when women laborers in fabrication, and women welders in particular, were unheard of. Four decades later, AG&P’s “Orange Army of Women Welders” have worked on some of the country’s and world’s most significant infrastructure projects, while developing internationally-recognized skills that put them at the top of their field.

AG&P is proud to have upskilled and mentored two generations of Filipino women through the first-of-its kind program.

The women received dedicated training through TESDA and AG&P’s welding program to attain various certifications.

Marites Casao is a graduate of the program and has been welding for 20 years. She joined the program after she learned that a female cousin had been accepted.

“I was looking for a job to support my siblings through school and to fund the medical needs of my parents,” Casao said.

“Welding seemed like the best option, so I mustered the confidence to apply. Thankfully, I was accepted.” Casao says that while welding remains a male-dominated skill, the environment at AG&P allows everyone to flourish.

Casao worked in New Caledonia in 2008 at the world’s largest nickel mining project and today, she is working as a combination welder for the JG Summit petrochemical plant expansion project in Batangas, along with 4,000 other AG&P laborers.

“We are so proud that AG&P, over many years, has developed a meritocratic culture that welcomes and fosters upward growth irrespective of background,” said Joseph Sigelman, Chief Executive Officer of AG&P Group.

“In one such example, our female welders are growing in number and now represent a meaningful proportion of all our welders. They are, as a group, outperforming in a field that was historically male-dominated.”

AG&P proactively promotes equal opportunity at all levels across the company from hiring C-suite female executives to training women laborers. Currently women fill the roles of Chief-of-Staff, Chief Compliance Officer, Senior Counsel, Senior Vice President Strategic Services, Senior Vice President Business Development for the Americas, and Vice President Global Marketing, to name a few.

Founded in 1900, AG&P is a global industrial infrastructure company delivering gas logistics solutions and construction services to blue-chip clients around the world. The company places a premium on inclusiveness, the health and safety of its personnel, and the protection of the environment by everyone,
everywhere. AG&P continues to hold a world-leading construction safety record, with zero safety incidents over 55 million continuous man-hours.

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