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Thibaut Catimel

Thibaut Catimel

This young engineer, age 34, recently left for Morocco to manage the high-speed railway line project. Before his departure, we asked him about his career to date and his zest for working abroad and in multicultural settings.

You are leaving for Morocco in the autumn of 2015. What will you be working on there?

I have been working on the Moroccan high-speed railway line project since 2013. This is a project for which Mobility is part of a consortium, with Cegelec Morocco, Fournié Grospaud and Systra. Mobility is responsible for the studies, purchasing of the main equipment, and supervision of the project. Today, the studies are almost finished and work will start in the autumn. So I am going to supervise the worksite for at least two years, with Eric Berté, a Mobility site manager.

Have you worked abroad in the past?

In 2010, I went to Algeria to work on the COJAAL project, the east-west motorway. Mobility was in charge of fitting out the four tunnels. I was the customer-oriented design office representative and I coordinated the work in collaboration with a worksite supervisor. At the time, I was one of only three Mobility expatriates, and I lived for a year at the base camp in Constantine with 200 people of various nationalities, including Algerian, Japanese and Philippine. It was very multicultural and a great experience.

How you do feel about this forthcoming experience abroad?

The context is completely different. This time I'll be going with by my wife and our two daughters, who are one and three years old. We will be living as a family in Rabat. The challenge will be to establish a social life outside work. In Algeria, there was a fraternal aspect as the staff lived together. I'm concerned that in Morocco I may find myself more isolated from my colleagues.

Professionally speaking, I have had to prove myself to the customer (ONCF), as they initially thought I was too young for the job. I travelled to Morocco on a regular basis in 2014 and I have received training on multicultural aspects: it is not always easy to learn how to work together.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I am very pleased to be working on a railway project at the moment. Before I joined the Moroccan high-speed railway line project, I worked in Mobility's tunnels department. I like the variety, both in terms of the projects themselves and my own role within these projects. I like the fact that there is always something new to discover and learn.

What I like the most is seeing the development of a project, all the way through to commissioning. Whether it's a tunnel or a railway line, as long as I'm involved in construction, I relish the challenge.

And working abroad is the icing on the cake!