Working with young people is a real challenge: it makes you question your preconceptions and forces you to think of different ways of passing on your knowledge.
Dassault Systèmes firmly believes that virtual universes can improve real life and help create a more sustainable world. La Fondation Dassault Systèmes uses a skills-based sponsorship approach with Dassault Systèmes employees helping to train and support young people interested in science and engineering careers. Here are four examples of that collaboration, showing how it helps young people and how the employees benefit too.
Virtual worlds can help teachers motivate students and try out new ways of learning. In 2019, for the third consecutive year, students at the Apprentis d’Auteuil school in Meudon, France, took part in the “Course en cours,” a novel educational project that gives students the chance to dream up, design, make, test and race a miniature racing car, and take part in a national competition.
Dassault Systèmes employees helped these students, who have special social and educational needs, to model and build their car, as well as prepare an exhibition stand and an oral presentation.
Stéphanie Tamhoua, an employee who took part in the project, explained: “Working with young people is a real challenge: it makes you question your preconceptions and forces you to think of different ways of passing on your knowledge.” David Bonner added: “I love working with teenagers in general. It's a very interesting stage of life.”
The Institut de l’Engagement works with young people who, because of their educational, cultural, social or geographical background, financial situation or disability, have difficulties developing their plans for their future. Each year, the Institute helps 300 young people aged 16 to 30 to realize their plans, such as resuming their studies or starting a business.
Dassault Systèmes employees sit on the selection panel, offer mentoring to those selected and take part in the Campus de l’Engagement, a three-day event that brings together the program participants with 150 speakers from partner companies to talk, think, work and interact in a mutually enriching way.
Together, they take part in workshops, round tables, talks and debates, thinking of ways to address the major economic, social and environmental challenges of today. Laurent Poinot, who sat on the selection panel and mentored an aspiring engineer, said: “When you take part in this kind of thing, you always get out more than you put in. Initiatives like this give new meaning to our day-to-day work.”
Sébastien Massart co-led a session entitled “Creating experiences: from the virtual to the real?” during the Campus de l’Engagement event, taking him out of his usual working environment to talk to a curious and engaged audience.
Meeting between students from the Village Éducatif Saint Philippe 4 (Fondation Apprentis d‘Auteuil) and volunteers from Dassault Systèmes
In the 3Défi challenge, teams of junior high-school students, supported by their technology teachers, create a fictitious startup to design and 3D print a smartphone holder. The initiative was developed jointly by the La Main à la Pâte Foundation – set up by France’s Académie des Sciences and elite university ENS – and La Fondation Dassault Systèmes.
Each team designs prototypes using 3D design software and then 3D prints them at their school. The aim is to encourage innovation and creativity among students and introduce them to both maker culture and the world of startups. Students have the chance to meet professionals and find out about technology careers and entrepreneurship.
Philippe Minez said: ”Working with these students is a valuable experience. The time we spend together, seeing their progress, gives real meaning to my work with La Fondation.” Senior high-school students are not forgotten either. At the Lycée Louis-Bascan, final-year students of science and technology, with the focus on manufacturing and sustainability, receive help completing their technology projects.
Specialist talks are arranged to give them valuable information about innovative business practices and to help them understand aspects such as “design thinking.” “Taking part in these projects gives me great satisfaction,” explains Sébastien Smetryns. “It’s very fulfilling to pass on my knowledge and apply for purposes that are different to those I deal with every day.”
Finalists of 3Défi, June 2019