A record-breaking year! In 2020, more than 500,000 work-study contracts were signed*, 495,000 of which were in the private sector. This ground-breaking figure clearly illustrates the extent to which this educational approach, which combines theoretical teaching and in-field training within companies, is booming. And, contrary to popular belief, work-study training also includes higher education: second-year post-secondary qualifications represent 22% of the 500,000 contracts signed. Technicians, engineers, support functions... companies are playing the game and are welcoming young work-study students of all levels.
It is worth mentioning that choosing to learn while working for a company is a particularly compelling choice for young people. Daniel Garault, Director of Vocational and Technological Training at Lycée Raspail (Paris), an institute which specialises in energy and environmental professions and to which the ENGIE CFA is a partner, explains, “This type of approach is very beneficial for the young people who choose it. By working one-to-one with their tutor, they feel valued by being given concrete tasks to accomplish. The theoretical knowledge they have acquired is applied in the field, and they gain experience (which can then be added to their CV) with someone they trust. This helps them grow.” And, of course, the training courses are highly targeted. Companies invest in these young people for several years so that they can learn a trade and acquire the skills that are required. “This, without a doubt, favours the employability of these young people, states Daniel Garault. On a class of 300 students, almost all of them have options when they finish: employment in the company where they did their training or in another company, pursuit of studies, etc. With work-study training programmes, no one is left behind! This sector of activity also provides them with multiple growth opportunities: throughout their career, they will have the chance to learn, strengthen skills, advance their career towards other professions, take on managerial functions, etc”. Throughout France, the industrial sector is hindered by significant recruitment difficulties: at a time when many technicians are getting closer to their well-deserved retirement, training issues are more relevant than ever.
This is, in fact, one of the reasons why the Group, which has already been very committed to this work-study method for years with the goal of having 10% of its workforce in work-study programmes, has launched its Academy for energy and climate transition professions. “We have been thinking about it since 2019, as we looked to further shift towards work-study training, explains Séverine Le Mière, Director of the ENGIE CFA. Although delayed due to the pandemic, last year’s opening was a staggering success. It meets the Group’s needs, seeking to recruit young technicians who are well trained in our very specific professions. It also meets societal challenges linked to the employment of the younger generation, inclusion and the feminisation of our trades.” Last autumn, the CFA included 25 work-study students enrolled in the Maintenance of industrial equipment programme (Bac Pro), Energy and climate systems maintenance technician programme, and in the Fluids, energy and home automation programme (BTS). In only one year, this figure has increased fourfold, and the number of partnerships with training institutes has also grown exponentially. “And that is not all! We continue to look for new partners, driven by this success which indicates that we are meeting real expectations,” smiles Séverine le Mière.
At ENGIE, our commitment to young people is not limited to their inclusion in work-study programmes. The Group therefore wants to do everything it can to help them strengthen their skills and enter the working life in the best possible manner. To facilitate the integration of work-study students, a new community has, for example, been created in parallel to the CFA. Known as the Young Talent Community and operated by work-study students, it allows young people to exchange ideas in an open setting, to benefit from various workshops particularly related to employment and, overall, to develop their Group culture. And, of course, after their studies and once recruited by ENGIE, they will have the option to pursue their studies throughout their career, as is the case for all employees. We believe it is essential when growing in a sector where technologies and professions are constantly changing. In-house educational bodies such as ENGIE University or the ENGIE Schools specialised schools, the University or the Group allow them to develop their skills and career.
On the frontline of the action, what do the young work-study students and their tutors think of how the ENGIE CFA was set up? Having recruited a dozen work-study students, Étienne Ducorps, Director of Operational Activities at ENGIE Centre branch, believes that the results are very positive. “We have integrated young people with very different profiles who are particularly motivated, which is very enriching in terms of human resources. The success is twofold: for the young people, who appreciate having a concrete role in the climate transition, who feel useful and who are aware that their training will allow them to be well prepared in order to pursue a fulfilling career. But also for the tutors: our “veterans” appreciate the opportunity to pass on their knowledge and skills - this notion of transmission is essential for them, allowing them to play their part in building the Group’s future.” Adrien Correia, first-year student in the Energy and fluid systems maintenance programme (BTS), shares the same positive experience and feels “highly motivated because [he is] doing something useful and because work-study training guarantees training and ultimately a job.” For Ireland Bibouti, second-year student in the Fluids, energy and home automation programme, “Work-study training is demanding, but nothing comes without hard work! I am learning the true meaning of being a professional, and I feel like I have grown a lot over the last year. This motivates me to go even further and outdo myself!”
By granting itself the resources to carry out its objectives, i.e. to set up a training school that meets its recruitment needs, ENGIE has successfully reached its goal: to offer young people concrete, in-field training which will allow them to build a fulfilling career in meaningful, future professions. 1 year down at the Academy for energy and climate transition professions (AMTEC), and many more to go!
*Source: The Minister of Labour, Employment and Economic Inclusion