UfM: In your opinion, what is the added value of a Euro-Mediterranean internship programme like HOMERe? And, more generally regarding mobility, of students between the two shores of the Mediterranean promoted by the UfM?
Youssef Barghane (Y.B.) : The added value of a Euro-Mediterranean internship programme, like HOMERe, is that it allows students to acquire the necessary professional skills, methods, know-how (and also the social skills) for working on a team with employees of different nationalities and cultural backgrounds.
In the particular case of my internship, which is based on a project carried out jointly in France and Morocco, the key issues for the success of the project are assurance of the continuity of activities, as well as standardisation of the processes and activities among the different team members, whether they are French or Moroccan.
From the point of view of the company, this type of HOMERe internship provides a real added value in terms of industrialisation and productivity because it allows engineers from different backgrounds, cultures and who speak different languages to work in confidence on the same project, whatever the geographic location of their workplace.
Furthermore, this programme allows the cultural distance which may exist among various project employees, where the team is divided up among several countries, to be reduced. I am in fact learning to adapt to work with a French team, to better understand our cultural differences, but also to adapt to the subtleties of the French language.
UfM: How do you think that this HOMERe internship will give you a helping hand in your professional integration on your return to Morocco?
Y.B. : This HOMERe internship gives me the chance to continue working on the same project, but this time as an employee at CGI Morocco, upon completion of my internship. The major asset of this system is therefore to assist in my professional integration as soon as I return to Morocco.
This HOMERe internship will also allow me to take on responsibility within CGI Morocco more quickly compared to other Moroccan engineers who have not had the chance to be professionally immersed for 6 months in France. I have also been able to exchange ideas about this matter with a Moroccan colleague at CGI Morocco, who did the same university course as me and who works on the same project, but from the CGI Morocco side.
UfM : What does your internship consist of? What tasks have you been assigned?
Y.B. : Since my selection by the University of Brest, the commitment made by the OTI network was to rely on the HOMERe programme to offer me, where possible, a 6-month end-of-studies internship in France (from start of April to end of September) with a view to pre-employment in Morocco.
In my particular case, I sat technical and HR tests for the CGI group (68,000 employees in 40 countries). I was selected by the CGI branch in Toulouse (France) to do my internship in the ERP (SAP) domain, with the goal of then joining their SAP team in the CGI branch in Rabat (Morocco).
The goal of my internship was to join an “extended” team of software development (divided between France and Morocco) in the context of an application support project for the Airbus supply chain. The role of the team (and therefore my role) is to correct non-conformities found in all the client’s applications, as well as to ensure the evolution of its IT system.
Even if I still have 2 months of my internship left, the goal of autonomy and increasing technical, functional and organisational skills has been achieved, because the CGI branch in Rabat has just offered me a job to continue with this same project in Morocco.
It is clear that I would not have been able to get such an internship in Morocco, because the goal of this internship is to increase my skills in the processes, methods and know-how used in France, in order to then apply them in the same way and independently in Morocco.
UfM: What is the added value of your profile for the company?
Y.B. : To answer this question, I think it is important to remind you that the project which I was working on in my internship has the special feature of being carried out partly in France and partly in Morocco, in the context of an “extended” team divided between France and Morocco.
My university studies and my past professional experiences have allowed me to develop qualities of discipline and adaptability, which are essential in the software engineering sector. Knowing that the internship has allowed me to further develop these skills, we could say that they are principal added values of my profile through my CGI company. It’s obviously partly the case, but it’s not enough for CGI.
The main goal of CGI in the context of my internship is to increase my technical, functional and organisational skills in a specific project and to give me as much experience as possible, so that I can be as independent as possible to continue to work on this same project when I return to Morocco.
In summary, the real added value for the CGI company lies in my, from now on, dual Moroccan-French culture that I have been able to acquire initially partly in my training in Brest (7 months), but that I’ve especially strengthened from a professional point of view later on in my internship at CGI in Toulouse.
To ensure consistency in the processes, methods and know-how specific to each company (which is absolutely essential in an industrial approach), this type of internship brings a real added value to the company because it allows engineers from different backgrounds, cultures and who speak different languages to work in confidence on the same project, whatever the geographic location of their workplace.
UfM: How did your integration into the company go? What are your first impressions after a few weeks?
Y.B. : The first few weeks of my internship were essential for my integration into the company. Activities and training sessions were organised for the understanding of the context of the project. This integration exists throughout my internship, not only at the beginning, thanks to the support of supervisors and all of the company’s employees, who are always willing to answer my questions.
The special thing about this internship, compared to my past experiences, lies in the fact that I am working on a major project, where, not only are there demands and strong commitments regarding an important client (Airbus), but there are also work and organisational constraints on a multi-site project between France and Morocco.
The exchanges with my French or Moroccan colleagues, the regular meetings, videoconferences, e-mail communication, etc., are so many factors that have allowed me to provide high-quality work, respecting the client’s expected deadlines.
UfM: Could you remind us of your background?
Y.B. : After finishing my baccalaureate, in science/mathematics, I went to the École Nationale des Sciences Appliquées (ENSA)(National School of Applied Sciences) in Agadir, Morocco, where I studied for two years in the integrated preparatory cycle and for two years in the software engineering cycle.
I then choose to apply to do my last year of training in France, in the 2nd year of a Master in “Offshore Development of Information Systems” at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO) (University of Western Brittany), in Brest. This Master forms part of the OTI “Offshoring des Technologies de l’Information” (“Offshoring of Information Technology”) network, which is now dependent on the “HOMERe – High Opportunity for Mediterranean Executive Recruitment” programme.
The goal of the OTI network, which groups 11 universities, is to offer Moroccan students in the 1st year of a Master, or in the 4th year of an engineering school in Morocco, a mobility programme for a year in France in the 2nd year of a Master in computer science. This mobility lasts 13 months, which includes 7 months of training in Brest, followed by a 1st professional experience in a 6-month end-of-studies internship in France. The idea is then to draw on the skills and experience acquired for the benefit of an entity in Morocco, which is part of the same company as the internship host company in France.
Students receive high-level training on new technology and industrialisation tools currently used by the major groups in the sector, and become familiar with cross-cultural communication. The end-of-studies internship allows us to become operational in a “project” which we will continue to work on in the same company when we return to Morocco.
About the programme
The “HOMERe – High Opportunity for Mediterranean Executive Recruitment” project promotes internship mobility between Mediterranean countries, and is predominantly aimed at high-profile students in their last year of study before graduation. The objective is to ease their transition from the academic environment to qualified entry-level roles in their own country – in a region where youth unemployment often increases with the level of education.
HOMERe uses internship mobility as a tool to combat the skills gap that has been identified as one of the region’s main obstacles when it comes to hiring young people. Despite their solid academic backgrounds, graduates often do not have the soft skills that potential employers are looking for, such as teamwork, problem-solving, leadership, etc. Through its extended network of high-level academic institutions on both sides of the Mediterranean (engineering and management schools as well as universities), HOMERe hopes to attract transnational private companies that operate in the Mediterranean region and are searching for brilliant colleagues.