Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
Today I’d like to welcome the grant-holders of the sixteenth intake of the Francis Bouygues Foundation, albeit under very special circumstances. Due to the current health restrictions, we have not been able to hold our traditional ceremony, which takes place every year at Bouygues’ head office. However, thanks to modern technology we can still share this moment via a fully on-line ceremony. I am nevertheless still filled with emotion to be able to say these words to you this evening.
It’s already been 15 years since the Francis Bouygues Foundation was founded. It has grown, matured and had many successes over that time. Thanks to the Foundation’s financial support and to its mentors, 989 deserving students have been able to pursue their higher education studies. And 462 have already started their working lives on the back of a strong set of qualifications.
We are once again working hard to improve equal opportunities this year. Despite the world-shaking health crisis, the Francis Bouygues Foundation is still providing support by delivering on its promise to induct 100 new grant-holders. We have major ambitions and, like for the dreams of our grant-holders, we are providing the resources to realise them. It is a source of great pride and satisfaction both for the people of the Bouygues group and for me. This year you are another 100 new grant-holders, deserving students with many fantastic career goals in many different fields and domains; researcher, diplomat or airline pilot to name but a few! Dreams and ambitions that will become true if you work hard enough, and, I hope so, partly thanks to the help of the Foundation.
Why did we decide to create this Foundation and why did we name it after Francis Bouygues, the Group's founder? Quite simply because I wanted to pay tribute to a man who, having started small, understood the need to take an interest in all his employees, even the humblest. Francis Bouygues believed that a company is, above all, a human endeavour and that the people in it, wherever they came from, should enjoy the same opportunities and advance on the basis of their skills and determination. He paid very much attention to this aspect and had the gift of being able to spot talent in each and every one of his employees. When I created the Foundation, I wanted Bouygues, as a socially-responsible company, to be able to give back a little of what it receives every day. There’s no bigger injustice, in my opinion, than when deserving students are unable to pursue their studies for financial reasons.
The Foundation will provide you with the necessary material support to carry out your studies, but that is not the only support that you will enjoy. You will also be helped by mentors, who are current or retired employees of the Group from all domains, as well as by former grant-holders, who also would like to give back a little of what they have received. We are living through very challenging times that are having an impact on us all, and it may be difficult for you young people to think about your futures. The current crisis may lead some of your to doubt and question your choices, but I believe that the Foundation’s support can help you get through this difficult period with more peace of mind. The support you will receive from your mentors this year will be all the more precious. They are there to support you and provide a sympathetic ear, which is even more necessary in these troubled times.
In conclusion, I wish you every success in your studies and in your future careers. The Foundation is proud to help you on this path that I’m sure will be punctuated with many great successes! Finally, I would like to extend my warm thanks to Jean-François Guillemin, Chairman of the Foundation, and to Christel Navarro, its Corporate Secretary, as well as to all the directors for their hard work. I thank you for listening and wish you a wonderful evening.
Martin Bouygues, Chairman & CEO of Bouygues