Having joined VINCI Energies with an advanced vocational training certificate, Aziz Bendriss then undertook his engineering degree on an apprenticeship programme. With his degree under his belt, he has worked in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. He is currently completing an assignment in Senegal, as part of the construction and commissioning of three hybrid photovoltaic power stations*.
What is your background?
Following vocational training and an advanced vocational training certificate in electrotechnology, I joined the VINCI Group in 2006 as a road equipment maintenance technician at SDEL Transport.
Following a professional appraisal in 2009, my manager, who understood my desire to progress, suggested that I study for a degree in engineering. The three years that I spent in the lecture halls of the ESME Sudria engineering school were a real challenge, in part because of my schedule, as I was on a work-study programme, and also because of the moral obligation that I had to the company: failure was not an option. I graduated fifth in my class in 2011 with a degree in electrical and climatic engineering, with an option in project management. This additional training, at the instigation of my manager, was a real turning point in my career. I am proud of this achievement.
In 2011, I worked on a project to renovate the underground interchange between the A14 and A86 motorways in the Paris suburbs. Then, wanting to gain international experience, I joined Cegelec Infrastructures in 2013, and was assigned to a business development project in Cambodia. I continued in this international vein, working on a project to ensure safety at sensitive energy interconnection sites for the GCCIA across the Gulf States.
I joined Mobility in 2016 and was involved in the TVS (tunnel ventilation system) project for the Lusail tramway in Qatar. And after that project, I took up my role here in Senegal.
What is your current role?
For more than a year, I have been working as a Construction Manager, seconded to Omexom Renewable Energies Solar. My role is to oversee the construction and commissioning of three hybrid power stations (2 MW). The aim of these power stations is to diversify the country's energy mix and to provide electricity to remote zones. This project is funded by Germany's KfW Development Bank and SENELEC, Senegal's national electricity company.
What does your work entail?
Each site is overseen by a supervisor and has a workforce of 120 people or more. My role is to coordinate these teams so as to deliver the power stations safely and within the agreed lead times.
As the site manager, I have to ensure that there are no accidents, as well as communicate Vinci Energies' quality and Safety Excellence approach. This requires daily attention, and the safety record today is exemplary at all three sites.
What will you take home with you from your international experiences?
Here in Senegal, people take the time to build relationship based on discussion, caring and trust. In my work, this translates into strong interpersonal relationships and the ability to overcome challenges through collaboration. This is the first time that I have worked abroad in a country whose official language is French. I have nevertheless started to learn Wolof because, over and above being able to communicate, I think it is really important to understanding the culture.
The project is now coming to an end, and it has been a tremendous experience. I will be going home with lots of new experiences and memories. I have acquired a solid grounding in solar energy and have gained in maturity.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
At VINCI Energies, I enjoy the diversity of the projects assigned to me - I am never bored! The variety of subjects encountered in my work stimulates my desire to progress. I am gaining not only in technical skills but also in managerial skills.
And, as I am sure you have realised, I enjoy the wealth of interpersonal relationships and multicultural contexts to which I am exposed.
What are your current plans?
My aim is to return to France, so as to keep up to date with European standards. Having worked on projects relating to roads, site safety and solar power, I would welcome the opportunity to supplement my experience with projects in the rail or airport sectors.
* Photovoltaic power station with storage and generators