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Quality, Safety and Environment experts are highly sought after

Although there are no small jobs, some certainly give you more room to move than others! Emilie Lopes quickly realised that specialising in QSE would open many doors. And when the door to ENGIE was opened, she made sure she didn't miss out!

"I want to have a profession I love and be useful to others!”

At the end of her technical diploma (DUT) in chemistry, Emilie knew exactly what she wanted: to do an apprenticeship at a major group with a view to gaining an engineering degree, specialising in QSE. Her studies at CESI engineering school in France included the opportunity to train in the Safran Group and to undertake internships in Australia and Singapore. For the business aspect of her studies, she opted for a work-based learning placement. "I started at ENGIE through the conventional route. I saw an ad on the website, and my profile matched, so I sent my CV and they called me. Then I met with the head of human resources, a mentor, and in less than a month everything was settled." Emilie is pragmatic by nature. She loves chemistry for the variety of opportunities it opens up in pharmaceuticals, food processing and industry, guaranteeing a certain level of job security. QSE engineer is a profession that involves versatility. Applicable in all businesses, it is increasingly essential given the importance and development of standards and regulations.

In at the deep end

When she arrived at Cofely Services, Emilie knew absolutely nothing about heating or air conditioning equipment. Her first assignment made her an expert. She was given an objective: to carry out an audit of the entire heating delivery stations managed by her agency, and to implement actions to reduce risk. "We were managing about 1800 substations, installed in front of buildings. In one year, I visited 700 facilities. It was a chance to explore all the Group's activities!" Before, she had only ever dealt with chemical risk, but she soon became familiar with all the others: electrical risks, fire risk and risk of explosion, to name but a few. "I learned to identify the risks present in sub-stations as well as in air-conditioning and CMV (controlled mechanical ventilation).”

For each site, Emilie compiled a list of the risks, indicating their level: low, moderate or high. She then prepared a report, illustrated with photos, which she gave to the customer to present the recommendations required to reduce these risks. "It was a little frustrating because the facility owners tended to be slow to act." At Cofely Réseaux, where she was then hired as a QSE engineer, things are very different. "The networks are ours. So it's easier to make sure our recommendations are implemented.”

Continuous updating

The agency where Emilie works runs a dozen district heating networks. Her assignments as QSE engineer are varied: monitoring of indicators by involving managers, organising talks, safety prevention visits, raising awareness among operators, conducting audits, helping sites with the ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment) certification processes. Consistency of documents is essential.

On the quality side, Emilie guarantees the traceability of the proposed actions, and customer satisfaction. "If for example we have to deliver 19°C, we must describe the means used to achieve it." Her main tool: the Integrated Management System Steering Committee (COPIL SMI), which enables her to monitor what is progressing, or falling behind, on each of the sites in real time.

Emilie also ensures that networks are in compliance with environmental regulations. From pollution to waste sorting and noise control, Emilie handles everything. She identifies environmental impacts, implements actions and educates teams.

On the health and safety side, she plans for the worst in order to best avoid it. "I organise emergency drills in collaboration with site managers. We simulate things like an eruption of sulphur water on a geothermal plant, a gas leak or a fire starting on a biomass site." Emilie insists on sharing good practices, and communication. She sends out a quarterly news flash across the agency. And to maintain her interpersonal skills, "every Wednesday night I play board games with people I don't know, who I meet online.”

Surroundings fit for a king

Emilie's office is a stone's throw from the Palace of Versailles. "I can go for a run at lunchtime in the park, it's really nice. With my colleagues, we go into the forest, we cycle, we go to the pool... ENGIE Réseaux is attentive to our well-being. We have our weekly basket of fresh fruit, but we could just as easily have chosen a table football table!" It's no wonder that her agency is at the top of the company's social barometer.

Émilie is all about movement, and not only in her work life. This seasoned traveller may only be 26, but she's already visited 27 countries. "Apparently you should visit 30 countries before you turn 30. I'm definitely on track!" To keep up her Spanish and English skills, she is enrolled on a language exchange website. "ENGIE is a very large group and what is great about QSE is that you can practise it anywhere." An international career move in sight, perhaps?

Emilie Lopes