Portrait of Annabelle for ENGIE


Annabelle Cléau, Annabelle Cléau, technician maintenance at SAVELYS, ENGIE subsidiary

“My friends think I am nuts!” That is what she says when asked what her career elicits among her loved ones. In Clermont-Ferrand (France), Annabelle is part of a team of 15 technicians at the SAVELYS agency who see to boiler maintenance and repair assignments with 13,000 group and private customers in the region. And the fact of being the only woman has not prevented her from specializing in a career considered amongst the most male in her field: the maintenance and repair of oilfired boilers. “Of course, I know how to handle gas-fired boilers, as well as solar water heaters and heat pumps, but I admit to having a weakness for oil-fired boilers.” As a result, Annabelle’s van is the one with the most mileage on it. Explanation: “In some isolated places that were not connected to the gas network at the time when dwellings were built, oil-fired equipment was the only possible choice!” Before becoming a maintenance technician, a post that she has held at Savelys for a year and a half, Annabelle worked in a Quality position in the food-processing industry. And she does not regret her switch. “I really love my new job. I started at Savelys in Chalon-sur-Saône, in Bourgogne, and I had the freedom to move about. When this permanent contract was offered to me in Clermont-Ferrand, I did not hesitate.”

Going beyond the obvious

Annabelle has always had a passion for do-it-yourself and large-sized jobs do not frighten her. She is also an accomplished sportswoman, a quality that facilitates her daily work: “I play sports every weekend. This allows me to stay in shape and to exert physical effort more easily during the week.” Besides the technical aspects of her job, which enthuse her, Annabelle greatly appreciates the contact with customers and the trust they place in her by allowing her into their homes. Even if they are sometimes surprised: “In the beginning, when customers saw me arrive, they would ask me if my male colleague was going to join me! A woman performing physical work is not very common… But once past the surprise, it no longer makes any difference, especially if the work is well done.” Organization, method, speed: Annabelle has found the means in this profession for putting her skills to full use. “It is very empowering to act with full autonomy at a customer’s and always gratifying when they express their satisfaction to you at the end of your work!”


The SAVELYS gender diversity action plan

The report carried out in 2012 left a lot to be desired on gender diversity: out of 2,750 technicians, 13 were women. Convinced that this imbalance was not inevitable, SAVELYS, Group subsidiary, implemented an action plan aimed at fostering job equality and gender diversity on construction sites. The measures adopted include the launch of a project to increase the number of women in technical jobs. In the interim, agency secretaries are being offered development toward maintenance technician jobs, and human resources managers are encouraged to favor hiring women into technical jobs. Once hired, candidates undergo nine months of part-time training aimed at earning a Metallurgy Qualification Certificate (CQPM), a diploma that is indispensable for them to engage in their future profession as heating technician. This policy has been accompanied since September by a vast internal and external communications campaign.