Turning students into professionals is a process that is taking place earlier and earlier these days, in an attempt to plug the gap between the needs of companies and the overall purpose of higher education. New strategies are regularly being introduced across schools and universities to better support the workers of tomorrow.
In 2015, Icam, a general engineering school that currently has 6 campuses in France and a further 3 overseas (in the Congo, Cameroon and India), created a new Corporate Services Division. The goal? To help students better understand the world of work as part of their learning. The division offers a wide range of services (including proof of concept, innovation, R&D, industrial organisation, and so on) to all kinds of companies.
One of the strategies consists of putting students in direct contact with real customers as part of their academic work. Students have the chance to adopt a more serious approach, a soft skill that will undoubtedly prove very useful throughout their lives. The project also contributes to the wider training programme, as students are given the opportunity to discover what their training is really for and how they can apply it more generally.
Beyond these two key benefits, understanding the modern needs of industry, as well as continuous professional development for teaching staff on a variety of issues, also bring added value to the programme.
We were fortunate enough to interview Guillaume Lefevre, Director of ICAM’s Corporate Services Division, who answered all the questions you had about this initiative.
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