Estaca, on the assault of the Bordeaux technology hub

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The aeronautics sector is generally associated with the Pink City, Toulouse. Indeed, between July 2017 and June 2018, the need for IT skills increased sharply, boosting the local job market in Toulouse. However, the Aerospace Valley competitiveness cluster brings together both the Neo-Aquitaine territory and the Occitanie. Bordeaux has nothing to envy the Enova Labège and Toulouse Aerospace sites where technology companies are added. With leading industrialists such as Thales, Dassault Aviation, ArianeGroup, Safran Aircraft Engines, the Bordeaux Metropolis wants to showcase advanced know-how and major technologies through the civil and military field in the face of the shortage of engineers and the flight of talent.

Making Bordeaux an outstanding technology hub

The aeronautics sector is a mainstay of French industry. This competition, which is already developing between the historical aeronautical players, is expected to intensify by 2030-2035 especially with the new Chinese entrant Comac. French players in the sector are increasingly resorting to relocating to countries with low labour costs. From this perspective, the defence and aeronautics sector is subject to strong incentives by policy makers to produce locally. As such, the civil aeronautics market is a promising area in New Aquitaine. This willingness to produce locally and the effects of global demand are impacting the aeronautics, space and defence sector in Aquitaine, which has different perspectives depending on the nature of its activities.

The Bordeaux technology hub is taking on a new dimension with the Aerospace Valley “Aeronautics, Space and Systems on board” by concentrating on its territory industrial jobs, researchers but also of the Great French Aeronautical and Space Schools. With Aerocampus, Bordeaux has a major training and innovation ecosystem. The Aerocampus is the only European campus capable of offering aeronautical maintenance training from the Bac Pro to the engineering school, on this former military site on 26 hectares, with a team of 80 people, and 20 organizations welcomed. The lack of engineering schools is still notable, with about 8,000 engineers trained in the regions (about 3,500 of them in the metropolis alone) out of 140,000 nationally, which makes it difficult for companies in the territory to recruit close engineers. New Aquitaine is therefore oriented towards a perspective of dialogue and seduction operation with engineering schools.

Adapting human capital

The inauguration last September of the Thales Bordeaux 60,000 m2 campus demonstrates the need to develop skills related to the avionics activities of excellence. This site brings together nearly 2,700 employees, more than 70% of whom are engineers and executives. It is the only Thales site in France that houses such a diverse business dedicated to connectivity, big data, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Home to an Innovation Hub, a design center, a FabLab, the Thales Bordeaux campus relies on cooperation through collaborative spaces and the adoption of new working methods. This initiative addresses the need to develop human capital tailored to the needs of the regional economy.

The idea is to be able to train tomorrow’s talents in this expertise. The Graduate School of Aeronautical and Automotive Construction Techniques (ESTACA) is one of the most renowned engineering schools. With two campuses located in Paris-Saclay and Laval in the department of Mayenne. With 140,000 industrial jobs, 1,900 establishments, 11% of employees employed by high-tech industrialists and one third of France’s aviation workforce, the region is the third largest source of French jobs in this sector. There is therefore an challenge for Estaca to develop an academic offer in partnership with local players in the transport sector, in order to benefit from the synergies of large groups, SMEs/TPE, communities but also research institutions that are located there.

For example, alain Rousset, President of the Regional Council of New Aquitaine, with Ludovic Busson, President of ESTACA, has officially opened a campus in Bordeaux by 2021. The date is not left to chance as the year 2021 will mark the culmination of the Euratlantic district which will house engineering training in the centre of Bordeaux.

The Bordeaux hub of the aeronautics and space industry and its subcontractors constitutes the third largest pool of French jobs. The establishment of ESTACA in New Aquitaine is a strategic choice to forge new close links with industrialists in France’s third largest aeronautical region. The opening of this third institution finally symbolizes a new stage in the development of the School of Engineers. In the short and medium term, ESTAC is showing a sharp increase in the number of its students, accompanied by an increasing demand from recruiters in the transport and new mobility industry.

Justine ANGIBAUD

Sources:

Official aerospace website

Invest in Bordeaux official website

Study “Prospective: Industry of the Future: Issues and Perspectives for the Aviation Industry”

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