During the conference "Journées Vincent Merle", which was held in Pessac (Bordeaux - France) on 17 and 18 January 2017, a workshop was dedicated to: Business as a place for the acquisition and recognition of experience. The organisations invited to attend were Pôle Emploi (national employment agency), Michelin (international group), GT Location (company) and Veolia (international group). This last was represented by Philippe de Marcillac, Deputy CEO of Campus Veolia Sud-Ouest, who described the group's training policy. Key issues are the proposal to issue trades-related certificates and diplomas, and the encouragement of trainers coming from within the business. How are these translated into action? What are Veolia's specific areas? What trends are emerging in the medium term?
Training tailored to the trade
Veolia is an international group which carries out multiple environment-related activities covering water, waste and energy management.
The first Campus Veolia France were created twenty years ago. Today, they are to be found in four sites: Nantes (Atlantique); Meyzieu (Centre Est); Jouy-Le-Moutier (Île-de-France); and Ibos (Sud-Ouest). This distribution responds both to creating territorial cover and to specialisation, to meet the needs which may arise in each of the regions*.
Eric Brouillat, Campus Communications Unit Manager, explains that 80% of employees accepted are blue-collar workers: operators and technicians, and 70% of the training offered relates to operational functions: the core of the business. This emphasis on the training of the less well-qualified responds to the commitment to internal promotion (for those already employed).
Historically, it is also explained by the absence of a standardised programme for these trades which even today, are often either unknown, or little known, to the general public. Hilaire de Chergé, former Campus director, writes: "This lack of appeal was due to the poor image of these trades, rather than to any lack of real interest. In fact, unexciting names such as dustman, cleaner, drain and sewer cleaner or boiler maintenance man obscure a multitude of trades in the waste, industrial cleaning or energy divisions, which often require qualifications, the use of sophisticated machinery and the capacity to take many job-related decisions." (in Le Journal de l'Ecole de Paris du Management, 2010/6 (N°86)).
Training mainly takes place in work situations In this way, alternance is at the heart of Veolia's training policy. The Campuses are also CFAs (Vocational Training Centres) allowing them to prepare certificates and diplomas ranging from CAPs (Certificate of Professional Aptitude) to Master's degrees.
Academic partnerships form an important part of the training, so that it can be recognised outside the group, and so that trainees remain free to develop their careers. However, most of them are recruited into the group at the end of their courses. This training policy also creates the effect of encouraging staff loyalty.
Other interviews can be seen on Veolia's Youtube channel.
Evaluation of employees' experience and skills
Another of the Campus active principles is the following: Veolia trains Veolia. In this way, half of the in-service training time is assured by Veolia's partners, which allows a constant link to be maintained with the reality of the trades, as well as a way to evaluate employees' experience.
A trainer, close to retirement, says: "I believe that passing on a passion for the job is the most important part of training" (cf vidéo Regards de formateurs()). "There is always a sense of pride when the pupil overtakes his master", adds a tutor who supervises trainees.
These are people who are passionate about their professions, and who have the desire to pass this on. They have a variety of profiles and previous training: some are from ESPE (College of Teaching & Education) and others have an operational CAP, with no direct connection to training. Lionel Hupin, manager of alternance training in the Campus at Jouy-Le-Moutier, explains that the issue of training trainers made a useful contribution to these two profiles.
Part of the training time within the Veolia programme concerns the training of the trainers. The professionalisation of the teams has advanced since 2011, thanks to the training of training managers and of trainers, who can now claim the professional titles of Adult Trainer or CFA Trainer. The training course takes place over a lengthy period: six to eight months. The method used is generally inductive and not deductive: concrete experience serves as the basis of training.
During the course, trainees carry out a training project, formalise it and then test it in the field. Training alternates distance learning modules (56 sequences are accessible throughout the year) and face-to-face sessions.
Lionel Hupin describes the key benefits of training trainers:
- They have the opportunity to leave their respective Campuses and meet their colleagues. It's a chance for discussions and networking. They learn to work together.
- Improving trainers' skills allows us to establish close links between the training managers and the trainers. They are not just simple leaders: they contribute closely to the overall teaching system.
- They are aware that training is a genuine profession. It's a recognized profession, since the two titles are equivalent to a Bac+3. This is particularly important for people in the field (poorly qualified operational and technical employees).
What trends might emerge in years to come?
Eric Brouillat defines three major trends affecting the Campuses:
- Training courses are going to adapt to the technical development of the trades.
- Increasingly, they will integrate e-learning or blend-learning, which combines classroom and distance learning.
- The Campuses will encourage the development of collective intelligence, through the running and management of co-construction seminars.
We can nevertheless ask ourselves the question about the sustainability of the Campuses, in an economically unfavourable context. In 2016, two sites closed their doors: La Ciotat and Romorantin. Their closure was explained by the group's refocusing of its activities on waste recovery and water management, and more generally, by a decline in group numbers.
Moreover, Veolia is recruiting temporary workers to guarantee some projects: what is the training policy in this context?
*Other international Campuses (15 sites - 10 countries)
Read other articles (in French) published after Journées Vincent Merle conference :