51 master's students from 23 countries attended the Veolia Summer School from 6 to 9 July. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, Veolia decided to continue this 11th edition, but with an innovative formula: a 100% online discovery program.
Introducing the Summer School, Bertrand Delvolvé, Veolia's Director of Human Resources Development, addressed the students: «This year, the Group has chosen to go 100% digital because, at a time when Veolia has maintained its services and protected its employees across the world, more than ever solidarity, creativity, knowledge sharing and commitment are essential. All the more so because we know that younger people are particularly receptive to careers in the environmental sector, which offers attractive opportunities. We welcome all your suggestions and ideas to get us thinking and challenge us in our businesses and ways of seeing things.»
The students, from 44 universities in 23 countries, worked in teams: grouped by time zone, they directly exchanged views with Veolia employees from different geographic zones - operational or human resources managers - and experts from Veolia's headquarters in Aubervilliers. Young employees, newly arrived at Veolia and from the Disrupt and Accelerate programs, also took part: they shared their journeys, the reality of their day-to-day lives and explained why they chose Veolia
With this innovative online formula, participants were able to work together using the Group’s IT tools: mosaic view (Google Meet) to see all the participants and share documents on screen, a learning tool (Gsuite), and posts and chats via a community (Google Currents).
The digital program, 8 hours a day for 4 days, was conducted to a precise timetable and rules of conduct, with a view to working together using, in particular, the Canvas tool for validating project business models. Over the four days, the students discovered the issues at stake in the environmental business: applying the Group's work methods and processes, they had to take up a challenge with real-time results. After the Summer School, interviews with these young people will be organized locally by Veolia recruiters in the areas concerned, in order to explore avenues for collaboration (internships, work-study programs, first job).
The teams' projects focused on 9 key themes for Veolia going forward:
- Waste management and digital management: what market opportunities will increase recycling rates and circular solutions?
- Cooperation culture: how to deploy cooperation between Business Units to accelerate the ability to "copy and adapt" solutions?
- Air quality: how to find solutions that make the air cleaner?
- Hydrogen and electric vehicles: how to become a catalyst in this transformation?
- Sustainable agriculture: what opportunities relating to "smart" agriculture will save resources and reduce carbon emissions?
- Marpol*: how to meet the challenges of preventing maritime pollution?
- Green Deal: how can the European Green Deal support the development of building energy services?
- Battery recycling: how to meet the challenges of battery recycling?
- A bonus case: "walk the talk" initiatives to become an ambassador for Veolia services.
Summer School student selection criteria:
- have a profile that corresponds to the specific needs of Veolia's businesses
- demonstrate motivation in meeting the challenges faced by Veolia's businesses
- be fluent in English (demonstrated by a language test)
- enter their final year of studies in September 2020 (master, engineer, business school).
Veolia Summer School has trained 363 future graduates from 142 universities in 33 countries. Veolia was the first company in the environmental services sector to launch its summer school in 2010. Among its objectives: to gather together talented young people from around the world who bring their culture and perception of the world; to raise participants' awareness of environmental issues; to improve the attractiveness of the company and establish relationships with students’ universities.
* The 1973 Marpol Convention, which is binding on 130 States, sets out what constitutes an offence with regard to discharges of pollutants from ships: oil, liquid substances, sewage and refuse.