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From education to employment


In a world where businesses are becoming more sophisticated on a daily basis in order to seize growth opportunities, the training available must match the level of skills expected.
By devoting almost 30 million euros a year to implementing innovative programs at every level of the education system, Total’s approach in Africa is helping to pave the way from education to employment.
Its approach is based on four main areas: training teachers, developing educational infrastructure, facilitating access to education and guiding people towards employment.

The challenge of education in Africa

Interview with SVEIN OSTTVEIT, Director of the Executive Office at UNESCO’s

Economic and human development lies at the heart of Total’s actions, a commitment that is built primarily on the Group’s dedication to fostering access to knowledge. Total’s actions in this area are based on a shared approach with a focus on access to employment. The first Africa and Middle East (AMO) Strategic Consultative Committee (CCS) was held in October 2013. The committee was created under Total’s leadership by Momar Nguer, Senior Vice President, Africa/Middle East, for Total Marketing & Services. The aim of the CCS is to give influential figures an opportunity to discuss key topics in African development. These committees bring together experts in the topics being addressed. The theme of the first meeting was education in Africa. Svein Osttveit took part.


What are the main challenges for Africa in relation to education?

SVEIN OSTTVEIT: They vary from one region to another. In broad terms, though, access to school is the first challenge. There are actually nearly 30 million children in sub-Saharan Africa who are not at school. Another challenge is to adapt the existing education system to the high level of demographic growth, which means extending and developing it with limited resources. The quality and relevance of teaching are also a significant issue. We estimate there are 56 million young people aged 15 to 24 who have not completed their schooling, or have not managed to acquire the knowledge they need to find a job. It is important to raise qualification levels amongst teachers and ensure access to better text books and better infrastructure. Without that, in many cases, schooling in Africa is a wasted investment. Yet investing in education is essential for development: one dollar invested in schooling creates 10 to 15 dollars of economic growth.

No single player* can achieve results in education in Africa on their own. But things will progress if they work together.

Svein Osttveit Director of the Executive Office

* Businesses, governments, non-governmental organizations.


What role can businesses play in improving education?

S. O.: They have a very important role. Several, in fact. They can formulate their requirements in terms of the qualifications young people need in order to be employable, to help structure the content of what is taught. But without losing sight of the fact that education must not only train future employees but also citizens, which offers a guarantee of stability for economic activity. And of course, the financial and administrative contribution businesses make to the education system is essential in countries with scarce resources, particularly given that it effectively means investing in the future workforce.


What is your view of the CCS?

S. O.: It’s an excellent initiative and a very promising one, since it encourages the development of a partnership between businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations. No single player can achieve results in education in Africa on their own. But things will progress if they work together.

What solutions were put forward?

S. O.: It’s still too early to expect tangible solutions. But we’ve taken a first step: raising awareness of the fact that everyone has a part to play and that whilst governments are responsible for education systems, the private sector must be encouraged to contribute to the quality of education. Africans need the support of all key players on the continent.


What did the CCS reach agreement on?

S. O.: On the fact that it is a meaningful and promising initiative that should be pursued through to an operational stage. And that it can’t be done without African involvement; Africa needs African solutions and initiatives. The good news is that African investors are prepared to commit to education.


Training teachers

The partnership between the 2iE Institute and the Total Group is also a way of introducing students to the world of work (Burkina Faso).


In many African countries, businesses are keen to recruit qualified local staff. But often, talented young people leave the continent to get training and build their career internationally. Africa loses out in the process. In response to this issue, Total has chosen to help African universities increase their attractiveness by providing technical and scientific expertise. Total is now working to improve the quality of higher education over the long term, so that students are more inclined to apply to African training institutions and increase their employability in an efficient local environment that is open to the international community.


Win-win relationships

Total has already signed 15 framework agreements with the best higher-education institutions on the continent, such as 2iE in Burkina Faso and Wits University in South Africa. Other partnerships have also been developed with oil and gas institutes, and with science faculties such as IST-AC in the Republic of the Congo and Cameroon, Makerere University in Uganda and Port Harcourt University in Nigeria. Each of these partnerships results in different initiatives adapted to the local context and the needs of the institution. “In addition to signing contracts, the success of our relationships with higher education relies on our capacity to keep the partnership going over time,” explains Florence Varescon, head of the Education project for the Group. “One of the keys to success is the link between our career opportunities and the training and research programs offered by the universities.”


teachers and members of Total Professeurs Associés (TPA) give classes and lectures on both technical and non-technical areas of the oil industry. Since 2001, over 155,000 students around the world have benefited from their expertise.

Developing knowledge at the source

As an integral part of the economic and educational landscape of the countries in which it operates, Total is keen to support the teachers who pass on knowledge to the next generation. In 2011, following Total’s initiative, the Empowering the Teachers training program in Nigeria offered 12 teachers a sabbatical at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with the aim of enhancing their teaching methods by incorporating the practices of this prestigious university.

"Sharing experiences from here and elsewhere I am confident that following a meeting made up of Total managers, experts and 79 other professors from various parts of the world, I will return to Nigeria much better informed.”


Uchora Udoji,
Professor at the Pan-Atlantic University in Lagos and a guest
at the Total Energy Education Seminar 2014

The program has also been rolled-out in Uganda. Another example comes from Angola, where local teachers benefit from a companionship scheme with French teacher colleagues in the four predominantly scientific teaching establishments known as “Eiffel” schools, built and equipped by Total as part of a Public Private Partnership. “If we want brilliant engineers, we need high-level teachers,” concludes Luc Sposito, Total’s Education Director. “We are committed to the search for excellence.”

A doubly useful laboratory in Burkina Faso

As part of its partnership with the 2iE Institute, Total has designed a cutting-edge analytical laboratory for lubricants and fuels on the campus. The laboratory meets the needs of mining and industrial customers, who are particularly keen to have analyses of equipment wear to improve the performance or maintenance of the machines they use. A laboratory located in 2iE’s premises makes it possible to get a fast response at less expense, since samples no longer have to be sent to Europe for analysis. Students have been involved in this project from the beginning.


Improving learning conditions

Pupils at Joseph-Ambouroué-Avaro secondary school in Port-Gentil (Gabon) have benefited from help from Total for renovating the school’s buildings and equipment.


Total provides financial support for constructing, renovating or extending premises to improve educational conditions for primary and secondaryschool pupils in a number of countries on the continent. Its support takes the form of loans combined with repayment facilities or donations made in strict compliance with the Group’s Ethical Charter. In Niger, for example, Total provided all the funding for a significant renovation program at Talladjé 7 primary school in Niamey. Among the improvements made were two classrooms, each equipped with 30 desks, an office for the head teacher and toilets. Besides, ten primary schools in Dar-es-Salaam in Tanzania have each been equipped with 100 desks for pupils. In addition to developing infrastructure, Total also makes numerous donations of school supplies. In 2013, for example, 762 children in their fifth year of primary school received a solar lamp and a pupil’s kit including exercise books, pens, a ruler and books.


Towards higher education

Creating learning conditions that allow young people to continue their studies gives them the best chance of responding to the expectations of the labor market and therefore securing their future. With this in mind, Total is contributing to opening new classrooms, for example in the Republic of the Congo, where the Group has created two additional classrooms in Victor-Augagneur secondary school in Pointe-Noire. In Gabon, Total is also taking part in developing preparatory classes for entry to the elite grandes écoles offered at Léon Mba secondary school in Libreville.


Making education more accessible

Grant recipients at Namilyango school (Uganda).


The costs of studying are too high for many families. Talented young people– school pupils and older students –can benefit from grants funded by Total to encourage them to continue their education. Grants are awarded for local, regional or international study and have already benefited thousands of students in over 50 countries worldwide, including 9,000 African students. They have been able to take courses at colleges in their own countries and at some of the world’s leading universities, preparing qualifications in engineering, master’s, MBAs or doctorates.


African students who have received a grant are following 2013-2014 courses in higher education institutions in France.

In March 2013, Total awarded 20 grants to pupils who had attended the best secondary schools in Kampala and achieved the Uganda Advanced Certificate in Education (UACE). And to strengthen the program’s virtuous circle, Total has created a network of ambassadors, made up of former grant recipients who have returned to their home country. They are now running the community of all former grant recipients and supporting new ones, by explaining how study works and the lifestyle in their host country.

"A virtuous circle It’s important to support a child who works hard at school. Once they have achieved what they are aiming for, they can help other children too."


Cheikh Omar Diallo,
Managing Director of Total Mauritanie

Books: windows to knowledge

Because reading supports access to culture and education, Total is also committed to increasing the distribution of books. In the Republic of the Congo, the Media Bus, a mobile library created by the Marien Ngouabi association with support from Total, travels around visiting the most disadvantaged schools and communities in Brazzaville. Over 1,200 pupils currently use the Media Bus.


"The path to excellence I was able to take classes in chemistry, physics, mathematics, biology and geology but also in more general areas, such as IT, philosophy, English, Portuguese and French. The teachers were real experts: they were able to share their knowledge and skills and answer all our questions.
A big thank you to all of them!"


Baptista Da Silva Morais,
aged 20, student at the Eiffel
secondary school in N’Dalantando,
Angola, between 2009 and 2011

In Zambia, Total is supporting the national literacy campaign with the TOTAL Library in the Box: 150 boxes, each containing 58 books, have been distributed to the country’s community schools. The books are written in both English and local languages.

School for all

The Torah Center in Egypt welcomes children from the most disadvantaged families to give them a basic education. Mothers also attend the center to take literacy classes. Total provides a significant proportion of the center’s funding and offers practical support, primarily through donating books.


Paving the way to employment

“We firmly believe that education doesn’t stop when you leave secondary or higher education,” explains Luc Sposito, Total’s Education Director. “It needs to carry on throughout your life and that includes everyone, even people who did not have the opportunity to study.” Total supports several initiatives offering real opportunities based on applicants’ personal ambitions and the needs of the business. For example, the Group funds training programs linked to qualifications or recognized professional certifications.


service stations are managed by former employees who have benefited from the “Young Managers” training program.

“Public-private” schemes of this kind, based on a partnership between the business and highereducation institutions, and which therefore match the skills expected, are offered in Angola, Gabon and Nigeria in particular.

Speed-dating for French-Gabonese employment

The Gabonese Embassy in France and Total organized an employment forum in Paris from November 29 to 30, 2013. The aim of the meeting was to give young Gabonese executives in France the opportunity to contribute to an emerging Gabon through a presentation of the Group’s activities and organizing meetings in the form of a “speed-dating” session. The originality of the initiative lies in the use of the embassy’s network and influence to make contact with potential candidates.

Developing local talent

Recruiting local staff at all levels – from technical functions to senior management roles – is a priority for making businesses an integral part of the African economic landscape and stimulating growth. That is why Total devotes significant resources to vocational training in the countries in which it operates.


engineering “cadets” from various African countries were recruited in 2012 after completing a two-year training program abroad: eight as well supervisors and four as drilling and well completion engineers. The scheme helps to create a pool of talented staff who have been rigorously trained by Total and other players in the sector operating throughout Africa.

The commitment has already enabled numerous participants, trained to international standards, to join the oil and gas industry. In Gabon, where Total supports the Oil and Gas Institute (IPG), a school has been training specialist engineers since January 2014 through a master’s in Petroleum Engineering. The program, which consists of a 16-month course, is helping to increase the number of Gabonese people in supervisory and managerial posts in businesses operating in the country. For the offshore project CLOV in Angola, where 100% of operators hired are Angolan, Total is using a tool called “Immersive Training Simulator” which, in simulating the environment of an FPSO*, enables participants to be better prepared before they go to work on those giant platforms. Furthermore, the “Young Dealers” scheme offered by Total throughout Africa for the last 50 years gives the best service station employees in the TOTAL network the chance to become managers.

* Floating Production Storage and Offloading

A vocational degree codesigned with Total

The African Centre for Advanced Management Studies (Cesag) and Total Senegal have created a vocational degree in managing SME/SMIs. Twenty TOTAL station dealers and five employees joined the work-based learning program in 2013. By stimulating business start-ups and therefore the local economic landscape, everyone wins!