Agathe Delouvrier, Economic Development Consultant at BPI, is passionate about skills development. In both her professional and personal life, she has successfully used her knowledge and skills to help others grow and develop. This month, she shared with us more about her work at BPI, her views on leadership development, professional integration of young people, and critical skills for the jobs of the future. Read the interview to find out more!
You are currently working as Economic Development consultant at BPI Group, a leading HR consulting company. Part of your role consists in supporting the development of start-ups and SMEs. Could you tell us more about your position and share with us some examples of organizations and projects you supported?
I work in the Economic Development department of BPI, a French HR consulting firm. Our department assists start-ups and small enterprises with their development projects. My everyday work involves identifying interesting business projects, meeting entrepreneurs, and helping them design their development plans.
In 2015, a new regulation was passed in France, obliging all profitable companies with more than 1000 employees that are undergoing restructuring to compensate for job destruction by paying financial compensation to a region in France and supporting entrepreneurial ventures. Our role at BPI is to design high-quality projects for our clients and make sure that they spend their money efficiently.
Let me give you a specific example: we recently designed a training program for the managers in the non-profit sector who are involved in job market integration of people who have been out of the workforce for a long-time. My team has trained them and helped them develop a sustainable business plan!
What is it like to work for BPI Group, a sponsor of our Women Talent Pool programme (WTP)? Can you share with us some of the best talent development programs you have noticed at BPI?
The participation in the WTP programme was our first proactive initiative that involved a third party. I feel very grateful for being able to join this programme.
Other than that, a group of young BPI employees recently launched a groundbreaking initiative for young leaders. They launched a shadow Executive Committee for young BPI employees (30-35 years old) that enables them to contribute to the decision-making process of the company and allows them to develop their leadership skills.
We launched a shadow Executive Committee for
young BPI employees (30-35 years old) that enables them
to contribute to the decision-making process of the company
and allows them to develop their leadership skills.
You have launched your own initiative to support the professional orientation and youth integration, called "Mon Projet". What are the main challenges young people are experiencing in France when integrating the job market?
France is currently experiencing deep social and economic inequalities and our existing education system reproduces these inequalities. The main challenge faced by young people is the lack of network and soft skills. All in all, it is the social capital and soft skills that get people jobs nowadays!
We have met many young people who are given no career advice and support. This made us realize that there was a big skills gap that needed to be closed! On the one hand, there are young people who do not understand how they can contribute to the professional world. On the other, there are companies that cannot find the talent they need.
This is why my friend and I decided to launch a project that would address this challenge by helping young people develop their soft skills and make them understand the professional world. We have designed workshops for secondary school (collège) children as well as some special programs for school dropouts and children from underprivileged backgrounds. Through our workshops, we encourage children to reflect on their own skills and personal qualities and match them with existing jobs.
The main challenge faced by young people
is the lack of network and soft skills.
The world of work is changing rapidly. How can we prepare young people for the jobs that do not yet exist?
You cannot base your future professional integration on your technical skills alone since many of them will become obsolete or are not yet known. Instead, it is crucial to develop your soft skills, mainly adaptability, critical thinking, learning capacity, and the ability to take initiative. In order to succeed in this rapidly changing professional world, young people will need to know how to adapt to these changes.
You cannot base your future professional integration
on your technical skills alone
since many of them will become obsolete or are not yet known.
You are currently participating in our WTP programme. What is your main takeaway from the programme and how do you think you can transfer the knowledge you have acquired to the young people you work with?
The WTP programme has given me the chance to meet many inspiring people, I would never have met otherwise. I believe that I can transfer this opportunity by encouraging young people to be open-minded and never be afraid of meeting new people!
The WTP programme has given me the opportunity to meet
many inspiring people
I would have never met otherwise.
At WIL, we have the tradition of concluding the interview with a question from Proust’s questionnaire. We have picked the following question for you: What is your most marked characteristic and why do you think it has helped you in your career?
My most marked characteristic is the ability to take initiative. It is crucial for leaders to understand where they can have an impact and how they can contribute in a relevant way. This involves identifying the needs of your organization and then proposing and designing some relevant tools.
It is crucial for leaders to understand
where they can have an impact and
how they can contribute in a relevant way.
To learn more about Agathe
, have a look at her biography