“I had to work very fast and under constant pressure: it was a real test of the work I do everyday, and it definitely upped my performance level,”

beams Maxime Huignard, the 24-year-old FTTB fibre optic technician at the Axione facility in Mans (72), after participating once again in this year’s Trade Skills Olympics.

Organized by the WorldSkills association, this competition gives young professionals a chance to test their skills in almost 50 trade disciplines during local, regional and national competitions in France, with the winners going on to compete in the international final.

“It’s sort of like a combination of the “Top French Craftsperson” and “Top French Apprentice” competitions, but for our specific trades,”

explains Maxime, who won bronze at the national final in Nouvelle Aquitaine in 2017.

In just his second time participating in the event, the young man from Sarthe once again took the 2018 top podium spot in the regional finals, allowing him to progress to the national finals in Caen.

“I had to design and build a model copper and fibre network, and get it online within 20 hours of competition time,” explains Maxime. It was the same basic principle as in the regional final, but the challenge was more complex and the judges were tougher.”

Over the course of three days, the competitors had to create structures reflecting the various technical difficulties of each trade, in conditions very similar to real-life operations: these included respect for delivery timeframes and costs, optimum use of materials and equipment, and safety.

650 candidates

The national final of the 45 th Olympiad was held in Normandy, in the Caen Convention Centre, from 28 November to 1 December 2018. Over the 3 days, 650 candidates representing the 15 French and Overseas Regions went head-to-head for a chance to make the French Trade Skills team for 2019, by obtaining a gold or silver medal at the nationals. This French team will participate in the international finals in Kazan (Russia) from 22 to 27 August 2019, then in Graz (Austria) from 16 to 20 September 2020. While the Pays-de-la-Loire team won a total of 35 medals in 50 trades in Normandy, Maxime Huignard missed out on a podium spot, but he can be immensely proud of the personal and professional recognition brought about by making the final.

Congratulations to Maxime for this wonderful achievement!