“Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
Welcome to the headquarters of the Bouygues group.
I am very happy and rather moved this evening to welcome the 60 new students of the Francis Bouygues Foundation’s 12th intake.
I should be used to it after twelve years, but the emotion still gets to me when I see these 60 motivated, talented, deserving young people, who are not short of ideas, just a bit short of material resources.
60 young people full of hope and full of plans for what to do with their lives! Paediatrician, lawyer, zoologist, pathologist, textile designer, cognitive engineer, animation filmmaker, aeronautical researcher, molecular biologist... As I said, you are full of ideas: you know what you want and we are there to help you get it.
Let me make it clear that this Foundation is not by any means a roundabout way of recruiting future employees. We have very few textile designers at Bouygues, and are doubtless the poorer for it.
Over the last 12 years, the Foundation has helped more than 660 grantholders of 33 different nationalities to complete their higher education, with 80% coming from outside the Paris region. 271 of them have already started their working lives. There is a material side to the support we provide, of course, but there is also a human side, for each of you will have a mentor, who may be a Group employee, active or retired, or a former member of the Foundation who a few years ago was in the same place as you are now.
I am very appreciative that growing numbers of former Foundation grantholders volunteer to give up some of their time in this way.
I am deeply touched that you should wish to give back some of what you have received and should like to thank you for that. Who said young people didn’t like commitment? That trend also shows that our model, combining moral and financial support, is the right one. The attention and encouragement of your mentors is a real advantage as you pursue studies that will ask a lot of you, and you have not been slow to let us know it.
I have even heard that many of you keep in touch with your mentors well after you have graduated.
I should like to take advantage of this opportunity to thank them warmly for fulfilling their important role so seriously and so selflessly.
I should also like to thank Philippe Montagner, the Foundation’s Chairman, Christel Navarro, the corporate secretary, and all the board members for everything they do behind the scenes.
This fine project sprang from a desire to go beyond the usual bounds of the corporation, to make it more meaningful by helping to build a fairer society, at a time when the Group was particularly prosperous. With this mission I also wanted us, in a way, to give back some of what we had received by helping others to benefit from the good place we were in.
And you can rest assured that we are in this for the long term, whatever the ups and downs of the economic cycle.
The Foundation is named after Francis Bouygues, the Group’s founder, because it is inspired by his mindset. Francis Bouygues was very keen that the same opportunities should be open to all and that everyone should be able to make their way in the company according to their skills and their determination, not their background. People are central to the Group’s values and always have been.
You cannot accomplish great things without passion. It is passion that drives us to create buildings and structures that are bigger, more beautiful and more difficult than those that came before. It is that passion which will take you through to the end of your ambitious university studies. Keep that passion alive, as I am confident you will. And confidence is not the least of the things we offer you.
Thank you, and good luck!
Martin Bouygues, Chairman & CEO of Bouygues