Contributing to education and preventing students from dropping out of school
For one week in January, students from the Jeanne d’Albret High School experienced work immersion on the TotalEnergies site in Pau. The operation is part of a system developed with the association Créé ton avenir and proposed by the TotalEnergies Corporate Foundation.
How do you go about finding a mandatory observation internship in ninth grade? For some students in priority education networks, it is a very difficult task.
The week at the CSTJF is based on a turnkey program to help students discover different professions, but it’s not only about that, as Alice, operations manager for Créé ton avenir explains: "What’s interesting for these young people is to enter the world of a major corporation and find out how it works from the inside – an experience they wouldn't have had access to through their parents’ personal network. Students meet several different employees, often passionate about what they do, and who all have very different educational, personal and professional backgrounds. It’s wonderful for the young people to imagine themselves being there in the future, it opens new perspectives for them. It’s also an asset on their resumé, to say that they have been on an internship in a multinational company, which isn’t that common for young people from priority areas in the city."
A week to develop self-confidence
Employees take part on a voluntary basis, to present their job, their activities and the interactions with other departments in the Company. They are also asked to give advice, and to make the week a special experience for the students, through a number of fun and educational workshops. "The students get a wonderful welcome," Alice continues, "in a designer, modular room, with a "start-up" feel, a table football game for break times, a great company restaurant to have lunch in, employees who are available and accessible. We see some extraordinary things, like the visit to see the PANGEA III supercomputer and its holograms – it’s like a science fiction movie."
The week’s internship ends with a certificate award ceremony after a job forum organized by the students in front of an audience of employees. Clément and Chiara have just received theirs, and it’s given them a real confidence boost. Both of them explain how happy they were with the way they were received and with everything they learned during the week. "I thought I would get bored, but I found out about new jobs, and I thought it was really interesting that there are so many different nationalities and cultures. I’m pretty comfortable with people relations in general, but I didn’t think I’d dare express myself in front of everyone the way I did," explains the young woman, who is working towards a job in communication. "This week is going to influence my career path,” explains Clément. "I was really motivated because I was able to see that it’s possible to make a living from what you love doing, and for me, that’s IT. I was really impressed by the visit of PANGEA and I thought, ‘I could be an information technologist in this company too’."
The employees who gave of their time were all delighted, and impressed to see how much the students changed, by opening up to others and to one another, and discovering their own competencies. "It’s an opportunity to meet some wonderful people, and the association has done an amazing job. When they received their personal internship certificate, the students were also congratulated on their social skills. And rightly so!" a Company employee confirmed.