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19/02/2024 News

Ninth-grade internships: Pau welcomes around a hundred middle-school students

Where do you find a mandatory observation internship in ninth grade? For our employees’ children, there is a chain of solidarity between colleagues. For other students, from priority education networks, it is a very difficult task. So, once again this year, employees from TotalEnergies in Pau helped set up a special internship offer: one week’s immersion on the CSTJF campus.

The program put forward by TotalEnergies Corporate Foundation and aimed at specific schools, draws on the know-how of Créé ton avenir. The association commits to helping young people (middle school and high school), particularly the most vulnerable, take their future into their own hands and secure a path toward professional inclusion or higher education by creating an environment conducive to their success.

The operation, focused on ninth graders, is centered on a "turnkey" program. It includes visits and meetings, as well as educational sessions to encourage the young students’ personal development. "It’s not often that a youngster from one of the city’s priority areas can put on their résumé that they did their ninth-grade internship with a multi-national!" explains one of the activity leaders. "Out of the 12 students from the Jeanne D’Albret middle school selected to take part in this collective internship, 10 are from QPV and/or underprivileged areas and were having trouble finding somewhere motivating to do their internships," points out Nicolas Sambussy, the school’s principal. The nine other students arrived every morning from the school complex in Mourenx, and its principal, Philippe Lescaret, also shared this view: "This is a really interesting program for our young people, most of whom come from modest backgrounds, and whose family networks do not allow them to have access to internships. It enabled them to discover the inner workings of a large company and professions that were unknown to them. Lastly, as part of the ‘setting up on the moon’ project, they were asked to work as a team and make use of their academic and social skills."


On the moon with TotalEnergies

On site, comfortably ensconced in the Booster (Innovation laboratory, internal incubator), the 21 ninth-graders were divided into two groups of explorers tasked by TotalEnergies to go set up an affiliate on the moon. The "Fly me to the moon" mission is proposed and supervised by Créé ton avenir. What was the objective? To invent and design a living space for humans, think about how to find, use, and protect resources, keep in contact with the Earth, and so on. All the ingredients for working as a team, arousing their curiosity, leading them to think about needs and interactions and find out about energy-related professions.

All week, they met CSTJF employees who had chosen to give some of their time to this civic operation. From different backgrounds and sectors, they all volunteered to present their professions, their career paths, the departments they work in, and the interactions with other entities. They were 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 program goes beyond the simple observation internship provided for in the educational curriculum for our students. In addition to helping them discover a sector of activity they know little about, the internship is an opportunity for the students to develop key competencies on top of the work they do at school: learning specific terminology, gaining confidence when speaking in public, working as a team, and so on. In my opinion, it’s one of the biggest advantages of this offer," concludes Nicolas Sambussy.