While technical positions still have a somewhat poor image among the general public, and recruitment remains a tricky business, these roles offer great opportunities for the men – and women! – who are ready to grab them. ENGIE has decided to tackle the problem head on and step up its efforts to enhance promotion and mobility within its teams. In short, the Group likes its technicians and intends to prove it!
Despite all its diversity and the opportunities it offers, the technical sector still suffers from being both misunderstood and poorly regarded in the collective unconscious and in the education system. So many stereotypes – “dirty”, “closed to women”, “no prospects”, obligation to carry heavy loads”, etc. - surround technical positions! And yet, in many companies, technicians play a central, even vital role. This is, of course, the case at ENGIE, where technicians are seen as the Group’s lifeblood.
They are directly involved in the energy transition, for example, striving to ensure the whole of France gets behind the Net Zero transition, working with our customers, and representing the company. During the pandemic, they worked tirelessly every day to provide continuity of service.
Actually, technical roles account for 71% of the Group’s needs, of which 36% are in maintenance. In other words, the company needs the skills and expertise of its technicians more than ever before! That is why the Group carry out in-depth work over a period of more than three years to promote its technical sector.
One example of this approach is our very first Technician Community, launched in 2018 by a handful of volunteers, including maintenance technicians, refrigeration specialists, pool maintenance experts etc. Inside and outside the Group, these ambassadors tell young people in schools and at job fairs what their work really involves, sharing their passion and taking action to dispel stereotypes. And this particularly active Community, now with over four hundred members, has become a great success, even crossing French borders into several other European countries. Also, the Group often asks these ambassadors to give their opinion on training, digitalisation, women in technical roles, the future of the Group, etc. This just goes to show that their voice matters!
To enhance the appeal of technical roles, ENGIE has implemented a comprehensive sector addressing all technicians within the Group, and even men and women who are not yet part of it. In 2020, ENGIE created its very first CFA (apprentice training centre), the Academy of energy and climate transition roles. “It meets our growing recruitment needs and the Group’s aim to bring more women into these roles,” explains Véronique Huchet, Group HR Marketing & Communities manager. It offers two-year diploma courses ranging from Bac professionnel (technical college baccalaureate) to BTS (French technician certificate) level in the fields of heating and cooling system maintenance, energy efficiency, renewable energy, etc.
Then, once they have joined the Group, every employee has the opportunity to continue their training throughout their career. “Training is also part of the Group’s DNA. We now have 32 ENGIE Schools offering a wide range of training programmes, all geared towards customisation. Technicians are able to gain the skills they need to change their area of speciality, progress towards other roles, and seize opportunities for internal promotion,” says Véronique Huchet.
The strength of a Group like ENGIE, with all its subsidiaries and geographical locations, is the wide range of jobs and opportunities it offers its employees, including of course its technicians. For example, a boiler maintenance specialist from ENGIE Home Services can go and work on a wind farm for ENGIE Green, then transfer to SHEM to work on hydroelectric dams. “You can stay with ENGIE for your entire career, moving forward, progressing, and this is a real differentiating factor, especially for the younger generations, who can’t imagine doing the same job their whole life. We have built many bridges between jobs and sectors. Through them and the huge number of training programmes on offer, some people joined the Group as a technician and over the years achieved their dream of becoming an engineer. This is totally realistic at ENGIE! And our strong regional base is also a significant advantage because it makes it much easier for technicians to find a job close to where they live,” says Véronique Huchet.
Of course, inventing tomorrow’s technical roles also involves bringing more women into the sector, faster. But what concrete action can we take? Working in partnership with Pôle emploi (the French job centre), ENGIE’s HR teams have brought together women who have been excluded from the workplace or who are undergoing retraining, with women ambassadors from the Technician Community. These ambassadors also run regular webinars to explain their jobs in detail. “This has helped us fight the ‘It’s not for me’ attitude and show that our roles are completely open to women. There is nothing stopping women becoming technicians. On the contrary! In fact, our customers, both in B to B and B to C, like it when a woman is in charge of maintenance at their facilities,” says Véronique Huchet.
The Group’s valuable trio of ambassador communities, employment and training bridges, and actions to encourage women into these roles demonstrates a strong commitment to promoting the technical sector and giving it the regard it deserves. Being a technician at ENGIE is not like being a technician in any old company. It means being at the heart of a committed company, doing a meaningful, highly-regarded job with a useful impact.
Choose ENGIE. You won’t regret it!
“A job full of opportunity”, Souhaib Harroussi, technical manager at ENGIE
“I joined the Group for a month-long temp assignment in 2009 and never left! First I did relamping, then I was offered a fixed contract as an electrician. Although I was never very studious at school, I loved learning – plumbing, heating and cooling systems, etc. – from my colleagues. Next, I was given the opportunity to take a comprehensive training course provided by the Group. For several months, the course alternated between theory-based learning and on-site coaching, quenching my thirst for learning in fields such as hydraulics and aeraulics. I seized the opportunity of becoming team manager when it was offered and have been in the position since 2016, at an exceptional location – the Musée du Quai Branly - where I lead a team of about ten technicians. I took a course in management and am now really fulfilled in my work. I like the combination of being on the ground, overseeing customer relations, and managing a team. I am not a careerist but am open to opportunity and eventually I would like a more sales-oriented role, becoming an operations manager for example. And I know that at ENGIE I will be given this opportunity.”