The reality for José Neto Oliveira de Souza was always far from technology. Without modern cell phones, computers, or other sophisticated electronic equipment, the resident of Umburanas, in the interior of Bahia, dedicated himself to operating agricultural tractors. Until the pandemic came, and unemployed Zé Neto, as he is known in the region, realized through the Engie and Recode project in the city that the digital world could still transform him, even at 46 years old.

The tractor driver’s encounter with computer skills began in an old-fashioned way. He never imagined that a flyer he received on the street would be so important for professional requalification: “I put on my glasses and realized there was a course happening in the city. Since I was mostly at home with nothing to do, I thought about taking it,” says Zé Neto.

Thanks to a partnership with Engie, Recode brings digital empowerment for free to the Bahian municipality. The Umburanas Citizen Forum was equipped with internet and all the necessary tools so that residents could have their first contact with computer skills and topics such as project management and application modeling, developing digital skills for the job market or for personal life. For the first class, 40 participants were selected this semester, including Zé Neto.

The absence of internet access at home did not prevent the tractor driver from learning. Through a tablet borrowed from the project, he was able to complete the entire training remotely. When he had doubts or needed to send or receive information, he just went to the support point and, following the safety protocols, talked to the team of educators. The result was positive.

Zé Neto had his first contact with technology in the project in Umburanas.

“I learned things that I never imagined. I didn’t know anything about computers. I had no idea what online and offline meant and had never seen a tablet in my life. Now, I know how to use email, create a resume, and how to behave in job interviews. I received good tips,”he rejoices, who had never received a certificate before.

And it doesn’t stop there. Zé Neto’s love for technology was so great that he intends to “upgrade” and complete other Recode courses: “I want to keep studying and getting to know the digital world. I’ll even sell some chickens to buy a tablet,” he plans.