Training water experts to meet the challenges of climate change and urbanisation

In March, 39 managers of urban water and sanitation services began their “SUEZ-Urban services management” AgroParisTech Chair Executive Masters programme in Montpellier. Through their training, this group of men and women from Myanmar, Pakistan, Vietnam, Kenya, Sudan, Ivory Coast and other Asian and African regions will become “leaders of change” in their respective countries. To help them, they will be supported by SUEZ employees.

Each year, the “SUEZ-Urban services management” AgroParisTech Chair has two year groups, one French-speaking and the other English-speaking, made up of some forty students. Employed as managers and experts, they have all been considered by their seniors as ready to take on new responsibilities as leaders, top managers and drivers of change.

The “water experts” programme
Once they have been selected, the candidates commit to a 14-month course centred around a project to develop a strategic action plan aiming to improve the quality of drinking water and/or sanitation services in a target area: a city or region with 100,000 to several million inhabitants. Armed with this roadmap, the students alternate 6 months of training at the AgroParisTech campus in Montpellier, two four-month periods back in their own companies and three weeks in a partnering firm abroad. The aim is that, step by step, they apply the skills they have learned, provided their management takes their recommendations on board.

Support from SUEZ employees
The final stage for the students, to boost their progress and development as “leaders of change”, involves the support of a coach to help with their academic progress and personal development. Since its launch in 2009, the Master’s programme has trained 200 students from 48 countries.