Andy & Romain: father and son in life and colleagues on the ground
Andy is 45 years old, Romain is 18 years old
Andy and his son Romain. Feuchy’s building site
What are your respective jobs?
Andy: I am a cable-laying team leader on the roll-out section of the overhead network. I lead a team of engineers on the worksite. Romain: I am a fibre optic engineer and a member of the team of engineers led by my dad.
How did you join Axione?
A: I joined Axione in June 2018 after a vocational retraining programme. I started out as a bar manager and decided to have a complete career change, focusing on the fibre broadband industry. My first job was for a company that made submarine cable networks. I then joined Axione as a telecom engineer.
R: I have been working for Axione for a year now. I quit my studies and retrained for the fibre optic industry. Thanks to a two-year work placement with Axione, I was able to join the team of engineers that my dad was leading. After the work placement, I should be able to land my first permanent contract!
How have you been able to evolve within your job?
A: I started out as a telecom engineer, then I became a cable laying team leader. Since June, I’ve been working on a new project to roll out and connect optic fibre for the IT and telecom network for the port of Calais. This is a very rewarding project, integrating a wide variety of tasks. I perform both cable routing and cable laying, but also conveyance and some management duties. This new job is a great opportunity. It has enabled me to evolve into a worksite advisor role.
You’re father & son in life and colleagues on the ground; how well does this work?
A: The atmosphere is very good within our team. It’s great working with my son. We form a dynamic duo every day!
R: Whether at work or elsewhere, my father and I get on really well. Actually, it’s not much different; he’s the boss at home too! (Laughing)
How do you set the world on fire?
A: When we install a fibre network in a town or a village, we change people’s lives. It helps to improve their services and consequently their daily lives!
R: The locals are very happy to see us installing fibre broadband and they let us know it. It’s very satisfying!
I’m a project manager for the network life cycle department, which means I develop mobile telephone facilities and keep them evolving.
What’s your career path been like?
I celebrated 20 years with the group last October!
After 5 years at Bouygues Telecom, as a technical assistant at the Boursidière business centre in Plessis-Robinson, Hauts de Seine (92), I was looking to move after my son was born. I moved to the Nord (59) and joined the agency at Marcq-en-Baroeul, where I was able to climb the ladder and develop my skills, starting out as a client manager, then assistant project manager, before becoming a project manager.
After spending ten years in that agency, thanks to the Group’s internal mobility mechanisms I was able to join Axione at Chapelle-d’Armentières (59).
What’s been your experience of internal mobility within the Group’s two affiliates?
A very positive one! My former colleagues have now become my key contacts, funnily enough. Now they’re the ones giving me work: I guess that’s my chickens coming home to roost! (laughs) Joking aside, it’s very interesting to have this dual experience, because it means I understand the issues they face and it makes it easier for us to work together.
How have you been able to evolve in your new role?
I’ve been a part of the agency’s evolution: at the start I was on my own in this position, but now the department’s been reorganised and expanded. Now I’m running a team made up of several different profiles. It’s exactly what you want as a team manager: I’ve learned so much in terms of human relations, which is really rewarding.
What are your ambitions for the coming years?
In the short term, my ambition is to keep things steady! Just six months ago I was still on the operational side. Today I’m overseeing several projects and activities at the same time. It’s important for me to be able to step back and take a macro view of things, so I can give my teams the support they need and ensure optimum client relations.
From a personal point of view, I’d like to find more time for myself. Maybe it’s time to get back into my hobbies: I used to be in a painting club, and I also did 5 years of theatre.
How do you motivate your teams?
I try to create a link between my teams by encouraging maximum communication. Cohesion and mutual respect are essential! After all, that’s what Axione is all about: inspiring exchange and creating links via its mobile and fibre optic networks.
293,461: the number of ‘career integration’ hours provided by Axione in 2019.
Axione is committed to making fibre optic careers accessible to everyone, across the whole country.
Working with local and regional bodies for over fifteen years, Axione is driven by our conviction that the deployment of major public infrastructure projects should benefit their local communities as a priority.
When we undertake these projects all over France, we’re helping to stimulate hiring, training, and skills development.
Jacques Beauvois, Deputy Managing Director of Axione
Axione is an active participant in local career development programs, setting up comprehensive systems that combine partnerships with local structures, worksite visits, job dating, and pathways to integration and training that are adapted to each applicant employed.
In line with local public policy, Axione’s career access program provides support and guidance to individuals struggling to find gainful employment, by offering training in fibre optic careers.
Recipients of social benefits
Young people lacking career experience or qualifications
Individuals who qualify for employment access support (insertion par l’activité économique)
Isabelle Spanneut, Axione’s Human Resources Director was the guest of Compétences, the radio show that talks about recruitment on bfm business!
The podcast of the show Compétences on BFM BUSINESS
Interview mediarh.com – Alexandre Lichon
Mediarh.com: What characterizes your company?
Spanneut: Axione is first of all an industrial and human
adventure that started in 2003 to respond to the issue of digital development
of territories, with one ambition: to make the Internet accessible to everyone
In concrete terms, we design, build and finance the operation of fiber and
radio telecom networks that are then used by telecom operators such as Orange,
SFR, Bouygues Telecom, Free and others.
The gamble taken in 2003 paid off! Axione, now owned by Bouygues Energies &
Services and Vauban Infrastructure Partners, a subsidiary of Natixis, has 2,200
employees and consolidated sales of 550 million euros. It is a company that
carries out large-scale projects and is a leader in the digital regional
What need does your recruitment meet?
Our workforce has doubled in 2 years, and this year
again we’re pursuing a dynamic and ambitious recruitment policy with over 500
Axione is at the center of a booming market, driven by new uses of digital
What kinds of positions are available?
These 500 positions are to be filled throughout France
as permanent contracts.
We’re looking for a wide range of profiles to design, build and maintain our
fixed and mobile networks: telecom technicians, design engineers, and project
We are also recruiting developers and tool administrators to manage our
We are recruiting network engineers and architects and others to operate fixed
and mobile networks.
Cross-functional positions are also represented as we are also regularly
looking for financial controllers and sales administrators, for example.
What are the values to be shared?
Beyond the values of the Bouygues Construction Group that we share, I would speak of a corporate culture based on entrepreneurship, team spirit, caring and empowerment of our employees.
What’s the added value that you offer?
Working at Axione allows everyone to take part in an
ambitious and meaningful corporate project, that of changing the lives of
people and companies.
To do this, we are open to all types of profiles and can offer people who are
unlikely to fin a job the opportunity to join us and then be trained in our
Moreover, given its strong growth and the diversity of its professions, Axione
offers real and rapid development prospects in France and now internationally.
Our ambition in 2020 is actually to export the French model of shared fiber
optic infrastructure across the Channel, which will generate medium-term
It should also be remembered that Axione is backed by the Bouygues Construction
Group and as such can offer our employees diversified mobility paths.
I am the works manager for the fibre optic rollout project in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais (THD 59-62). I work under the head of production at Axione and I head up a team made up of site managers, foremen and telecom technicians.
WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER PATH BEEN?
For ten or so years I worked as a site foreman in the radio rollout sector for other operators. In fact, I was already working in telecoms but not with fibre optics.
HOW DID YOU COME TO JOIN AXIONE?
Actually I spotted the FTTH project for the Nord-Pas-de-Calais early on. Given that it was the biggest project in terms of the sockets to be deployed in France as part of the Public Initiative Networks, I found the working environment very stimulating ! I applied for the job directly on the website, and afterwards Human Resources contacted me and I quickly had my first interview. I joined Axione in January 2017.
AND AFTER YOU ARRIVED?
In 2017, I joined the Deployment Division as a works coordinator. I had that job for two and a half years, and last year the position of works manager became vacant. Priority was given to internal applicants and I was finally chosen for the job. This promotion was a great opportunity for me and now I get to have a much broader scope of responsibilities.
WHAT IS IT THAT GETS YOU UP IN THE MORNING?
In my job, the human side is very important and I find it stimulating every day. Being close to my teams is what counts for me! The management of my teams is done face to face, unlike my past experience, and that’s what I appreciate every day- the relationships I have with my co-workers.
a lot of trail running in the past, in fact I’m aiming to take it up again,
really! I also play futsal with my colleagues, we regularly hold matches
between DPL and DHR, we mix up the teams, there’s a great atmosphere, there’s a
fair amount of teasing on the pitch but it stays friendly.
also took part in the Frapadingue. It’s an obstacle course packed with hurdles,
ladders to climb, tunnels to crawl through, mud etc.! We made up an Axione team
for the event. We are really looking forward to the next one!
AND TO END WITH….HOW DO YOU KEEP PEOPLE ON THEIR TOES?
By innovating! I try never to rest on my laurels, to look ahead and anticipate my co-workers needs. In concrete terms, recently I put a suggestions box in the office. The idea is for all members of staff to put in the suggestions they’d like to see, so that I can then analyse their needs and potentially establish an action plan that responds to their needs. There’s a great working atmosphere, but it’s one that has to be nurtured every day, remaining alert and attentive to my teams. Listening is key!
I am head of Human Resources for the Mégalis project in Brittany. I am in charge of recruitment, employee follow-up, and implementation of the social integration clause (clause d’insertion); I generally respond to all local HR issues.
How did you come to join Axione?
I already worked within the group. I was with Bouygues Construction from 2007. I was head of diversity and equal opportunities when I gained the opportunity to join Axione in 2015 through internal mobility. I was appointed Head of Human Resources for Ile-de-France Nord-Est, then for the Nord Pas-de-Calais rollout project.
Our commitment to the region The Hauts-de-France Digital Public Service Delegation
Has any project in particular stood out to you?
Beginning the project in Nord Pas-de-Calais actually! It was incredible! We had to fully set up two agencies. It was an extraordinary adventure. I’m now setting off for another major endeavour—the Mégalis Bretagne project. This project’s objective is to roll out fibre throughout Brittany as part of phases 2 and 3 of the Ultra-High Speed Brittany (Bretagne Très Haut Débit) project. We have 4 agencies to open and about 300 people to recruit.
What’s your passion?
I’ve always done lots of sport, all kinds, from dance to Krav Maga to cross-training… I finally started to run a few years ago. I immediately enjoyed it, and it helped me to meet other people through group runs. It’s easier running with others than alone—you can support one another!
How often do you train?
If I’m preparing for a race I try to run as much as possible, 3 times a week at least. During the week I try to run for about an hour, but on weekends I’ll do longer. I also do trail running, which lets me see more of the region while doing what I love. Since I arrived in Brittany I’ve done 3 trail runs!
Your best running memory?
La course du cœur!
This is a race that involves teams from numerous companies, and its aim is to raise awareness of organ donation and transplantation. It’s a relay lasting 4 days and 4 nights, starting in Paris and ending at Les Arcs in Bourg-Saint-Maurice, 800km away. A colleague who is a transplant recipient introduced me to this race 3 years ago. Since then, I’ve taken part every year!
What is the atmosphere like at this race?
It’s fantastic, everyone really pushes themselves! But la course du cœur is more than just a sporting event, it is a human experience above all else. Among the participants is a team of transplant recipients and a team of doctors specialising in transplants—we get to chat to them all and it’s really rewarding and emotional. There are also schools with acute awareness of the subject who come out to cheer us on along the way.
Any encounter that stands out as particularly memorable?
I think the first recipient we had, three years ago. He was waiting for a transplant and the day he got back from the race he found out that it was going to happen, it was really moving.
Is there an Axione “course de cœur” team?
For now I’m the only runner from Axione! I take part with two people from Bouygues Energies & Services. Other people from Bouygues Construction take part too. But I shall not despair! I will find other sportsmen and sportswomen so we can put together a full Axione team one day! If some of my colleagues are willing… 🙂
Interview with Audrey Le Meur, Head of HR Development, in charge of integration and training. Audrey coordinates, among other things, the integration process designed to retain new employees. It’s a real challenge in a growing market.
Why focus on integration?
Axione installs fixed (fibre) and mobile (4G) telecommunications infrastructure, both in France and internationally. The telecoms market is booming, and as a leader in PINs (Public-Initiative Networks), Axione is an active participant in this largescale town and country planning project. To match our ambitions, we have a highly dynamic recruitment policy. We currently have over 400 open positions with an average rate of 60 members of staff recruited per month: our number of staff has grown from 1,000 employees only two years ago, to more than 1,800 today. This is exceptional company-wide growth, and we must support it by adequately preparing employees so they can quickly adapt to their new work environment. The idea of course is to successfully retain talent. Our global team turnover rate is currently at 7%, with a national average in 2018 of 15%*: this is encouraging, but we can still do better.
What challenges are inherent to the current integration process?
Our keyword is “re-ten-tion”. Obviously, new employees must immediately feel at home, but our approach goes far beyond that: it takes place over three months and aims to provide an introduction to the company, its culture, its modus operandi, internal development prospects due to interdisciplinary links, and even development prospects within the Bouygues group. Our objective is for them to feel integrated as soon as possible, but also for them to see themselves as part of the group in the long term.
For this purpose, you favour a digital approach…?
The process is indeed partially digital. We use an application platform developed by a company that specialises in professional development programmes. Each recruit uses it and works through various issues through 56 questions with additional “quizzes”. This formula allows people to learn, in a fun way, about the company’s various codes, including strategy, safety at work, Axione’s areas of activity, HR processes, mobility, the internal disability policy, etc.
But the human touch remains essential!
So as not to abandon social relations, which are crucial to a company’s success, each recruit is also assigned a sponsor. Picked based on the geographical proximity to their mentee, the sponsor’s task is to aid them in their integration by helping out with more informal subjects, without replacing their manager. Whatever their status or position, all contribute voluntarily and are comfortable with this coaching role. We already have around a hundred employees wearing the sponsor badge, but this number must continue to grow to support the company’s growth. Also, if any employees are interested after reading this article, they shouldn’t hesitate to volunteer… We’re recruiting sponsors too! (laughter)
What happens after the three-month period?
The process ends with an integration day. The morning is dedicated to “top-down” information sessions where, for example, managers talk about the company’s history. We have a little surprise for participants in the afternoon in the form of a game but I will say no more – I’ll let the new recruits be the first to know… And thus the entire Axione integration process comes to a symbolic end. However, efforts to retain employees never really stop, and everyone has a role to play: managers, colleagues, HR, etc., we all play a part and together form the spirit of the company!
*Source: Center for Economics and Business Research (CEBR)
In order to strengthen the link that Axione maintains with INSA Rennes, sponsorship of the third year option – Communication Systems and Networks – was initiated on 29 November 2018.
The objective? To provide students with real professional, hands-on support, by gradually building a special relationship. As part of this, an event was organised in Rezé (44) for the entire year group earlier this year, on 24 January.
This is how 37 students, accompanied by two tutors from INSA Rennes, took part in a taster day made up of three main events:
Tour of the branch depot, led by the Warehouse Manager. On the programme: a presentation about the equipment used and an explanation of current procedures;
a visit to a construction site being undertaken on behalf of service provider Bouygues Telecom – a site still in progress;
an opportunity to learn about the Rezé site with its three specialist workshops: a presentation on 5G, an overview of the Project Manager’s role, and a presentation on FTTH operations.
The day alternated between Q&A sessions with professionals and site visits, so that the students could gain an overview of the various career areas involved.
In total, 10 staff were deployed over the course of the day to talk about current activities, as well as those that were still in the pipeline.
A big THANK YOU to the teams who took part!
“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.
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!
Jérémie Léonardi, responsible for fibre optics deployment in Normandy, and Christophe Piot, Director of International Deployment, have invented a tool that makes it possible for a single, unassisted operator to control aerial network junction boxes.
The French high-speed broadband network is up and running, and with it comes the desire to cover the entirety of the country by 2022. To do so, 60% of fibre optics deployments will use aerial cables in rural areas. Practically, this means that within three years, Axione, as well all other operators, will be obliged to monitor some 200,000 junction boxes installed on 3m-high overhead poles.
“To arrive at this point, it is necessary to use a bucket truck most of the time and to use several operators, leading to many risks related to working at height and to working by the roadside”
explains Jérémie Léonardi, a key player in the field on this major project.
At the age of 35 and having graduated from the Rouen ESIGELEC (École supérieure d’ingénieurs en génie électrique or Graduate school of engineering and electrical engineering), Jérémie Léonardi is responsible for deployment within the Major Projects Department at Axione, and is based in Neufchâtel-en-Bray, Seine-Maritime.
“Christophe and I finally had the relatively simple idea of designing a portable tool to monitor the continuity of fibre optics in the boxes, eliminating the risks mentioned previously”
explains the engineer, who has worked at Axione for ten years.
In 2017, the Girafon was invented: A telescopic pole equipped with an endoscopic camera and a remote screen, which makes it possible to see inside the boxes.
“Thanks to its reduced size and light weight, the Girafon can be used by a single operator in complete safety, and is easily transportable” explains Jérémie Léonardi. “Using it takes up less time during monitoring operations, thereby reducing costs and improving productivity.”
12 months of R&D
The first prototype was developed in collaboration with the Mureaux (78) branch of Bouygues Energies & Services in late 2017, then field-tested in early 2018, which led to the final version being patented in November 2018. Around the same time, Jérémie Léonardi took part in the 2018 edition of the Inno’Cup Internal Innovation Competition held every two years by the Bouygues Construction Group, and achieved excellent results with the Girafon. This competition attracted no fewer than 647 applications overall: 91 were selected for the semi-finals, which were split into four categories, namely Productivity, Digital transition, Societal and environmental responsibility, and Clients. Among them, 24 reached the finals, one of whom was Jérémie. This Rouen native, whose application concerned the Productivity category, had to pitch for three minutes to a panel of experts at Bouygues Construction headquarters at the end of November. “I had to explain the context of the project, its challenges, the technical solution, and its advantages” continues Jérémie, pending the final competition results, which were revealed on 21 January.
After months of work, the invention’s merit was recognised and awarded a prize in this internal event. A wonderful acknowledgment of the Axione teams’ efforts!
But regardless of the ranking, the engineer should be proud to have completed his mission already, as around 20 Girafons are set to be deployed by Axione in 2019. Ultimately, this tool, which is as of yet still handcrafted, may eventually be mass- produced and provided to the network operator’s subcontractors.
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