Recruitment and training of disabled employees: first dedicated training programme gets under way
Faced with the difficulty of recruiting disabled employees with skills that meet its needs as a company, ETDE, Bouygues Construction’s electrical contracting and maintenance subsidiary, recently launched its very first programme aimed at training disabled recruits for specific jobs. The first 11 pre-recruited trainees began training as draughtsmen, land surveyor/draughtsmen and surveyor’s draughtsmen at the start of April. ETDE introduced the paid training programme, which leads to a qualification for participants, in order to provide disabled recruits with opportunities to work for the company on non-fixed-term contracts, as part of its commitment to diversity in the workplace.
Paid training programmes for disabled recruits
The training programmes for disabled recruits were developed by ETDE in partnership with the vocational training association AFPA with the aim of training individuals as draughtsmen in the electricity and power lines segments (encompassing the full range of applications from low-voltage to very high-voltage).
Draughtsmen produce drawings and instructions for the design of service power networks on the basis of information provided by design engineers, lead designers and project managers. The training lasts four months.
Land surveyor/draughtsmen and surveyor’s draughtsmen produce drawings and instructions for the design of power networks and/or power lines on the basis of information provided by design engineers, lead designers and project managers. They also carry out topographic surveys on site, as well as making freehand sketches. They enter field data onto drawings, or conversely utilise drawing data in the field. The training lasts seven months.
Training leading to qualification – and a job!
The training progammes are aimed at holders of a baccalaureat or French vocational qualification (CAP/BEP) in the industry or construction/public works fields who also have a small amount of professional experience. Trainees are paid during the programme, and all travel and accommodation costs are covered by EDTE. Training, which lasts between four and seven months, takes place at the AFPA centre at Bernes-sur-Oise near Paris. Trainees also undertake periods of work experience at ETDE centres in the Paris Region and across France. On completion of the training cycle, successful candidates obtain a certificate of professional skills, and are able to start work at ETDE centres in France.
A pioneering disability employment agreement
In a move that illustrates its commitment to going beyond mere compliance with disability employment regulations, ETDE signed an agreement with employee representative bodies in 2006 relating to the recruitment and retention of disabled employees. The agreement, which has been approved by the local authority’s Employment Department, is the first of its kind in the energy/construction sector.
The three year agreement, which covers the period 2006-2008, encompasses all ETDE centres in France, and incorporates commitments relating to the following topics:
• Recruitment of 60 disabled employees solely on the basis of skills criteria.
• In-house training in disability issues for employees and HR staff. ETDE has developed a “Disability communications kit” for human resources staff and line managers. It comprises video testimony from disabled employees currently working in various jobs within the company, and practical information on disability and employment at ETDE (covering areas like recruitment and integration, return to work, retention, financing, key figures, glossary, etc.). The kit provides employees with all the tools they need to understand disability issues in the workplace.
• Retention of employees who have become disabled, irrespective of the cause of their disability.
• Subcontracting of business to the disabled sector (reprographics, mailing, recycling, catering, canteen services, maintenance, gardening, packaging, etc).
A subsidiary of Bouygues Construction, ETDE is an integrator of technical and services solutions for public- and private-sector customers in the energy, industry, service, transport, environment and telecommunications sectors. The company’s operations are based around three business areas: energy/utility networks (electricity, street lighting, fibre-optics, water, gas, etc.) in both urban and rural areas; M&E and HVAC engineering for building interiors; and facilities management. Since 2001, ETDE has enjoyed considerable growth, with almost 60 companies acquired in five years, and organic growth of 12-15% year-on-year, and today ranks among the market leaders. ETDE offers comprehensive capabilities that encompass engineering, installation, maintenance and operation for both French and international customers. With more than 13,000 employees, a network of 200 locations across France, and a presence in 30 countries worldwide, ETDE posted sales of €1.7 billion in 2007, predicted to rise to €1.9 billion in 2008.