On November 19, 2019, Total Chariman and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanné laid the foundation stone for L’Industreet, in Stains, north of Paris. This innovative campus, dedicated to industry trades, will each year give 400 young people – regardless of gender, education or even where they live – access to free training, job opportunities and experience in innovative industrial professions in a sector that is hiring. Championed by Total’s Chairman and CEO and financed in full by Total Foundation, the project was set in place at dazzling speed, welcoming its first trainees just one year later.
An Initiative Inspired by Indignation “It’s a disgraceful waste of talent on all sides,” said an outraged Patrick Pouyanné on learning that more than 100,000 young people leave the education system each year with no qualifications and that 20% of people under 25 are unemployed, despite the fact that there are 200,000 jobs to be filled in industry.
And so it was that in 2018, Total – already committed to youth inclusion and education through its Total Foundation program – sought to provide a concrete and innovative response to the unemployment and professional development of young people. “Any company that earns money has a responsibility to society,” said Pouyanné, deciding then and there that the Group would use its reputation, its knowledge of industry and its links with civil society to help meet this major challenge. This formed the basis for a new public-interest project, one driven by a strong commitment to making it easier for vulnerable young people to find a job, restoring the image of industrial trades, meeting the skills needs of industry today, and increasing the number of women in these professions.
An Ambitious Project Invented From Scratch This new project, L’Industreet, was set in place under the management of Abdul Malik. Its first objectives were to find a place to set up the campus and to form a core team. Total also recruited new expertise, bringing onboard Olivier Riboud, former head of the training centers at Veolia, to set up a program based on alternative teaching methods. Safia Tami, who had experience working with local authorities and nonprofit organizations, also joined the team and launched a “Tour de FrancePays FranceShow more” regional campaign during which close to 250 specialists in workforce entry were invited to take part in workshops to both present and fine-tune the project.
L’Industreet Is Born A new kind of learning center, free of charge and open to everyone, the campus’s promise is one job for each graduate. Young people who have left the education system and are in need of career guidance can follow a 12- to 18-month training course and acquire a state-recognized vocational certificate in five sectors struggling to fill jobs (automated production lines, non-destructive testing and inspections, power distribution terminals, digitization of industrial installations, and robot-assisted multi-technical maintenance). No diplomas or particular types of profile are required. And to those who still think that industrial jobs are best suited to men, L’Industreet’s intention is to prove the opposite and to recruit as many girls as boys.
An innovative teaching method, based on learning by doing, was set in place. L’Industreet uses a mix of theory-based, technical and immersive training, within project work that encourages trainees to develop their own knowledge in collaboration with their peers. Any young person can join the campus at any time of the year and enroll in a personalized program to suit their needs, ambitions and career progress to date. L’Industreet offers a comprehensive teaching program in which technical skills are key, but which also helps participants develop their soft and social skills and become an active part of the community through sport and cultural activities.
Building a Campus Full of Life With its 11,000 square meters dedicated to learning, the campus is designed to be full of life, with co-working spaces, areas dedicated to practical course work, workshops and accommodation solutions. After visiting around 40 sites, the project team recommended that L’Industreet be located in Stains, Seine-Saint-Denis, within a 3.5-hectare brownfield site undergoing complete redevelopment. The location had a number of advantages: easy access to public transportation thanks to a T11 tram station right next to the site, historical and architectural originality, and high potential in terms of infrastructure. The location, at the heart of the Urban Valley project, in a district that is particularly affected by youth unemployment, makes it all the more meaningful.
The lease was signed in spring 2019 and work began over the summer, with an emphasis on speed and quality. Total’s French corporate foundation, the Group itself (in particular its Property and Support Services Department), property developer Atland, and architecture firms Ateliers WOA and Aybrey-Guiguet Studios worked closely and effectively to move forward and meet deadlines despite the health crisis. In fact, L’Industreet has been a collaborative project and a human adventure from the outset. The architectural project took shape, with three 1,000-square-meter workshops, 400 square meters devoted to digital technology, an outdoor area of 1,000 square meters, a student residence, a restaurant, open-air walkways and a huge glass roof to let in light. "We used a triptych of three materials -concrete, wood and metal -that interact well with each other, and left all the structural elements showing so you can see the work put in by all the different trades", says Julien Dechanet, an architect at WOA. The icing on the cake is that the project is designed with a low-carbon footprint and has received "BREEAM" sustainable building certification.
Increasing Awareness and Recruiting Young People While building work went full steam ahead, L’Industreet started getting its name out there, ramping up its presence in the media and on the web to reach as many young people as possible and convince them to join the adventure. The campaign, set up by Total’s Communications Department and the BETC advertising agency, took its inspiration from young people, making extensive use of social media. Another feature was constant collaboration with FrancePays FranceShow more’s Pôle Emploi employment agency and local job centers, which acted as relays for the project. From July to October 2020, the “Bus de l’Initiative” promotional van traveled the streets of Greater Paris to spread the word about L’Industreet in priority neighborhoods. The operation was carried out in partnership with town halls, workforce entry players, public education services, nonprofits working with young people and Total employees involved in the Action! program.
This awareness and information drive was key to getting young people to sign up and complete the different phases of a strict selection process designed to assess their motivation, their ability to work well with others and their interest in a career in industry.
The online test on the https://lindustreet.fr/website was made permanently available, and once a month, the young candidates who stood out the most were invited to a “Discovery & Motivation Test” day where they were able to meet the teaching team. The last hurdle for those who successfully passed these different stages was a one-on-one interview before enrolling in L’Industreet.
In November 2020, the first 13 trainees began their academic year in Stains, at a temporary off-site location while awaiting the completion of the works and the opening of the campus at the beginning of 2021. They are the pioneer men and women of L'Industreet, and they will soon be joined by the new trainees who will fill out the ranks each month.