The Passeport Avenir association provides sixth-formers and students with mentoring support from working professionals throughout France. Eiffage Group employees provide students with individual mentoring. One of these is Benoît Czapski, Operations Manager at Eiffage Energie.
Why did you want to get involved in mentoring a student with the Passeport Avenir programme?
For several reasons: for me mentoring is, first and foremost, about fostering a relationship on a human level, structured by a moral and free agreement, based on trust and mutual respect. The desire to share and transfer knowledge to the next generation, guiding them towards the professional world, by enabling them to benefit from my own experience. I also want to enable young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to access higher education and allow me to “give back” the help that I received at various times in my career from tutors who enabled me to progress and face the various difficulties you can run into. To develop my professional network of executives in other major companies, around the shared goal of mentoring future generations.
What did you work on with your mentee?
I mentor a young student called Enzo who is studying a dual programme at an engineering school and a business school in Lille. We worked on in the short term, looking for an internship: understanding professional codes, improving his CV, the correlation between his goals and his internships, prospecting target companies … and, where necessary, a quick phone call to facilitate contact. Over the long term, knowing how to define a career plan: how does he see himself in 5 years’ time? Carrying out a personal evaluation, thinking about his likes and goals. He was also able to benefit from a one-day introduction visit to my office, to gain an understanding of the various company functions.
How much time did you have to dedicate?
There is the mandatory initial mentor training with Passeport Avenir (half a day). We agreed to meet for lunch with the student once a month to have an update. We are in regular contact by email and phone. To be honest, I haven’t been counting!
What do you get out of the mentoring experience? What are the benefits for the student?
For me, it’s an opportunity for personal growth through contact with the next generation, to give a “boost” to a young student and keep in contact with future generations, while at the same time challenging yourself. Also, Passeport Avenir allows you to broaden your perspective as a manager, through MOOCs like “Positive Leadership” for example.
For the mentee, it’s an opportunity to escape their daily routine of study, take a step back to reflect, plan the future and interpret professional codes, while gaining in confidence by eliminating self-censorship obstacles.