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Humanist engineer: a model championed by VINCI

The engineer as a humanist: a model promoted by VINCI

A partnership with the INSA Foundation to disseminate the model

A five-year partnership between VINCI and the INSA Foundation, established at the start of the 2018 academic year, aims to promote the model of the engineer as a humanist. The INSA Group, founded by philosopher Gaston Berger, is France’s leading network of engineering schools. Through its Foundation, it continually queries and rethinks its teaching of the engineering sciences to adapt to contemporary challenges and respond to the needs of society.

In the Group’s seven engineering schools (INSA Centre Val de Loire, INSA Hauts-de-France, INSA Lyon, INSA Rennes, INSA Rouen, INSA Strasbourg, INSA Toulouse), VINCI organises events aimed at promoting and embodying the model of the engineer as a humanist who thinks and acts in favour of human beings and the planet.

During the first year of the partnership, VINCI Camp, a one-day nomad campus, brought together almost 1,500 INSA students in 2018 and 2019 for talks and workshops offering an immersion in practical implementation of the commitments enshrined in the VINCI Manifesto.

Building on this introduction to the basics of VINCI’s commitments, several new initiatives were designed for the following years to strengthen exchanges, trust and cooperation.

“Can engineers repair the world?”: a cycle of talks and a white paper

A cycle of talks and debates coordinated by media company Usbek & Rica, which specializes in foresight issues, was organised during the 2019-2020 academic year in each of the INSA schools, with campus-based sessions later moved online due to the health restrictions. VINCI employees, students, alumni and outside experts explored the options available to all to act in favour of social cohesion and the environment. All responsible, all active! Almost 500 students attended the in-person sessions, while dissemination of the talks on the schools’ social media notched up close to 28,000 views.

To share these explorations and flesh out the portrait of tomorrow’s humanist engineer, we recommend consulting the white paper produced from this cycle of talks, to be used as a handbook for inspiration.

“Get moving for tomorrow!”: a connected, inter-campus challenge

This connected challenge, organised in the spring of 2021, brought together more than 1,000 INSA Group students across France over two weeks. Together they covered more than 28,000 kilometres and took part in numerous photo, video and quiz challenges aimed at raising their awareness of VINCI actions to:
- foster inclusive growth
- act for the climate
- optimise resources through the circular economy
- preserve natural environments

“Unlock our future!“: an online role-playing game

From 16 to 22 May 2022, students at the seven INSA campuses competed individually and in teams in the online game, giving them the opportunity to role-play a job in the VINCI Group’s concessions, construction and energy businesses. The exercise required them to solve numerous puzzles, while every scene highlighted a particular dimension of innovation at VINCI, serving the Group’s activities, in-house and outside stakeholders and its environmental strategy.

Solene Cayrol, a first-year student at INSA Centre Val de Loire in Blois, commented: “I found the concept very interesting. It allows the players to think, question their assumptions and learn while having fun! It also gives us an idea of the challenges to be met in the future.”

A public speaking competition on the theme of social inclusion in companies

At the start of the 2022 academic year, VINCI and the INSA Foundation, in collaboration with media company Usbek & Rica, launched a national public speaking competition on the theme of social inclusion in companies.
Given that public speaking competitions are rarely associated with science and technology studies, this initiative was warmly welcomed by teachers and the student community.
In Lyon for instance, according to Philippe Bousquet, professor at INSA Lyon’s Humanities centre, “So many students wanted to take part in the competition that we had to draw up a shortlist.”
The goal?
Foster debate on a major societal issue – social inclusion in companies - to encourage students to query and share their convictions around four questions:
· Millennials vs. Boomers: is age what counts in a company?
· Social inclusion – a marketing argument like any other?
· Does social inclusion tend to lock us into separate categories?
· Does the “inclusive” company encroach on the private sphere?

The competition was organised first in the regions, in each INSA network school, from November to January and will bring the eight finalists together at l’archipel, VINCI’s head office, for an event to be broadcast live on LinkedIn.

Last updated: 16/01/2023