April 07, 2024 • 4 min read

Sustainable development: the Worley Foundation

In this article

Putting our people and communities at the forefront of what we do

“If we want to make sustainable transformation a reality, our people and communities must be at the center of that transformation,” says Melissa Ayala, Sustainability Analyst and Worley Foundation Coordinator in our Bogota office.

“We strive to have a positive impact on people, the planet, and in the communities where we operate. And the Worley Foundation plays a big role in that.”

The motivation to make a lasting impact

Melissa joined us in 2022 and works in our Sustainability Performance team.

“Growing up in Colombia, I often felt that sustainability was viewed as an obstacle, rather than a catalyst for industrial development. It was important to me to work in a role where I could become part of the solution.

“Working as part of our Sustainability Performance team gives me the resources and network necessary to facilitate this kind of positive change. And to make a lasting impact in the work we do, and who we do it for,” she says.

“One of the ways we can inspire change is by providing opportunities for communities to thrive environmentally, socially, and economically.”

The Worley Foundation in action

For more than a decade, the Worley Foundation has provided a platform to make meaningful community change.

Each year, funding is allocated for Worley Foundation initiatives, which are overseen by the Worley Foundation Council. And all projects put forward are nominated by our own people.

“Over the past 10 years the Worley Foundation has supported 81 projects that align with its aims to advance STEM education, skilled volunteering and environmental and community benefits,” says Melissa.

For example, in Colombia, we’ve been supporting the Red InnCol initiative, a registered non-profit that is working towards reimagining public education.

“Since the Foundation's first involvement in 2021, we’ve helped over 250 students across Colombia access tools that help them improve their STEM skills. This includes getting them involved with creative coding and robotics,” continues Melissa.

“We’ve also developed a tool, that allows any student in Colombia to prepare for the final year school exam, for free. So far, more than 250,000 mock tests have been taken and more than 45,000 students have registered.”

In Brazil, we’re providing continued support to the Energy for All 4.0 initiative, which aims to help a community with their energy bills and increase their access to solar technology. As part of this, we’ve partnered with the Instituto Favela da Paz to install solar panels in Jardim Nakamura, São Paulo.

“Since the installation of solar panels in 2020, the institute’s energy bills have significantly decreased. Allowing it to continue to provide educational, leisure, and music activities for the local community.

“Using funding from the Worley Foundation, the project has also created a specialized course in solar energy installation. So far, 22 locals have completed training and received certifications to work in solar panel installation. Improving employment opportunities and harnessing new skillsets in the community,” adds Melissa.

Improving school conditions in rural Chile

In 2023, the Worley Foundation supported 21 organizations worldwide. This includes a project to improve the infrastructure conditions of a local school for a rural community in Chile.

The project is supported by a working group of volunteers in our Santiago offices in collaboration with the Engineers Without Borders (EWB) organization and HILTI.

“This project will help improve the daily conditions for teachers and students at the Gabriela Tobar school in Cajón del Maipo,” says Chloe Garcia, a structural engineer based in our Santiago office.

“The school’s current infrastructure conditions are substandard in many ways. So, we have prioritized and planned improvements to solve problems such as unsafe electric grids, and poor illumination and insulation.

“Before renovation work started, we talked to the community, visited the school and worked together to evaluate solutions.”

Now, our team of volunteers are carrying out installation and construction work during the weekends, between February and April 2024.

“Once completed students can look forward to continuing their schooling year with a renovated and improved facility,” adds Chloe.

Local transformation, global impact

Melissa believes that the work we do at a local level has a sizeable impact on our global work culture.

“The Worley Foundation fosters a culture of engagement and community spirit. It gives our people a sense of involvement in the sometimes-daunting journey of sustainability. And it allows them to feel like an integral part of the change we’re working towards.”

For Chloe, it’s about having the skillset to make a change and have a positive impact in the communities where we operate.

We have the knowledge and the skills to make impactful change in the world around us. That doesn’t just stop with the projects we deliver for our customers. Volunteering allows us to witness firsthand the positive change we can provide to communities that need it the most. It’s incredibly motivating and inspiring to be a part of.

Harnessing the skillsets of our people

Dr. Clare Anderson, Group Director of Sustainability Performance is also the Council Director for the Worley Foundation. She believes our people are integral to our sustainability journey.

“We want our people to be energized and empowered to deliver real impacts on a global stage. Our focus is on a values inspired culture that unlocks brilliance through belonging, connection and innovation. And the Worley Foundation is an integral part of that,” she says.

“The Worley Foundation helps lay the base for sustainable growth in local communities through education and skills development. It provides a unique platform to harness the diverse skill sets of our people to support communities.

“Seeing the level of participation and great ideas our people submit is one of the best parts of my role. So many of us want to make positive social and environmental impacts in our communities. And I’m reminded every day of the impacts our people can have on making sustainable transformation a reality.”


In March 2024, the Worley Foundation announced a record 30 projects will be supported by the Foundation and Foundation champions over the next 12 months. 22 new projects and eight projects continuing as part of multi year support.

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