Something happens to Yoselin Güil when she climbs into her crane. Forty-three metres above the terminal pavement, the shy, soft-spoken young woman from Quetzal becomes a steely-eyed force of confidence.
It wasn’t much of a surprise to those who hired her. Güil, a 24-year-old mother of two, was the only female among APM Terminals Quetzal’s first wave of 75 applicants, but her bosses say it was her determination that separated her from the others at its new container terminal in the Port of Quetzal on Guatemala’s Pacific coast.
“We were not looking for people with experience, we were looking for people who really wanted this opportunity. We wanted people with the right attitude and a will to learn and to challenge themselves,” says Jose Argueta, Head of HR at APM Terminals Quetzal. “In the testing and the interviews, we could see Yoselin had exactly what we were looking for.”
Skills and jobs
Guatemala is Central America’s largest economy and one of its best performers in recent years, but its high rates of inequality and poverty also stand out. The new terminal addresses one of Guatemala’s main obstacles to economic development - a lack of infrastructure - while also providing skills and jobs for locals. Yaselin is one of 140 employees at the terminal, a number APM Terminals expects to rise to 300 by 2019.
Growing up in the area surrounding the port, Güil was a “typical little girl”, she says. She didn’t play with trucks or other machines. Nor did she acquire any experience that one might expect from someone who now operates a ship-to-shore gantry crane, one of those four-legged giants that do the heavy lifting in modern container ports.
Since the birth of the oldest of her two children, she had been a full-time mother and wife, while her husband earned the family’s income. But the new terminal offered an opportunity she felt she couldn’t let pass by.