Interview of Maroua Omri

28 April 2021 Human ressources Corporate social responsibility Story

[Trade portrait] Maroua Omri is a Contract Manager in Cherbourg on AFS’s Submarine Construction Yard (SCY) sub-programme. And, she is also an “Elles bougent” sponsor. Maroua tells us about her academic background and her journey so far at Naval Group.

What brought you to your current position?

I studied public and private law at the University of Reims-Champagne Ardennes from 2015 to 2018. During my degree, I realised that I wanted to use my legal knowledge in a very practical manner. That’s when I became interested in becoming a Contract Manager; so, I began looking at job opportunities. It was a strategic and operational trade that was starting to emerge in large French companies that had an international scope.

And in March 2018, I applied for a Contract Manager work-study position at Naval Group in Saint-Tropez. During the recruitment process, I applied for master’s degrees in law offering two-year work-study placements, but they are quite rare!

In September 2018, I started a master’s degree in business law with a corporate lawyer specialisation in Toulouse and joined the contract management team in Saint-Tropez that specialises in underwater weapons.

How did your work-study placement go?

The first year of my work-study placement consisted in learning to be a Contract Manager. I was supporting Contract Managers from the “Programme Management Support” team on several markets, including the through-life support market, the counter-measures market and the lightweight and heavyweight torpedo markets, etc. I also worked with Configuration Managers, Risks Managers and Schedulers.

The second year, my manager entrusted me with Contract Manager (CM) duties; so, I became CM on the studies market for the F21 torpedoes, which are currently integrated into the Suffren and which are to be integrated into the future submarines of the Barracuda programme.
The first year, I was in a company two weeks out of four, and the second year, two months out of three.

At university, I studied different legal specialities, including public procurement law, private law, contract law, competition law and international law, etc. The diversity of the subjects I studied was useful on a daily basis when I was in the company.

And after your work-study placement, what professional choice did you make?

Around six months before the end of my work-study placement, I told my manager I wished to stay on at Naval Group, and I started looking at available job vacancies. I had heard of the Australian Future Submarine programme (AFS) and I absolutely wanted to join it because it ticked several boxes for me; finding an international dimension, working on an exceptional project within Naval Group, taking part in a submarine programme, and joining a new CM team. A junior CM opportunity came up, and at the end of the recruitment process, I got the job! Three weeks after the end of my work-study placement, I joined a new team in Cherbourg! That was in October 2020.

So, now, I am a Contract Manager on AFS’s Submarine Construction Yard (SCY) sub-programme, in other words in the shipyard in Adelaide, Australia. It is the sub-programme on which we are working the most with the Australian subsidiary, on a daily basis and in English of course!

According to you, what are the qualities required to work as a Contract Manager?

It is a trade that combines several skills, such as legal, financial but also technical ones. To work as a Contract manager, you need to have a highly-developed analytical sense to evaluate risks and opportunities, but also strong interpersonal and human qualities to best advise your various contacts and play a facilitating role. It is also essential to acquire strategic skills to advise the Programme Director on the choices and actions to be implemented.
Being very curious is an indispensable quality to know the trades working on the contract and to consider the issues that can be encountered at all levels. A CM does indeed work with the whole programme team. For instance, on a daily basis, I work a lot with the sub-programme buyer and the Control Account Manager, who is the representative of the Sub-Programme Director (SCY) in France. I also work with the SCY Development Manager – who is in charge of developing the shipyard in Australia and who is currently based in France –, with the Project Manager Officer, Work Package Managers, Schedulers, the Sub-Programme Director in Australia, the Chief Industrial Officer, the Financial Officer and obviously my Australian counterpart. They all seek a lot of support from me in raising issues they may encounter during the contract; that is a good sign, because it means they understand the importance of the contract as well as the CM’s role.
Another quality is that you have to be able to adapt to your team and to the customer to get everyone's active cooperation.

What do you like about this job?

No two weeks are alike! I am involved in many discussions, and trade issues are very diverse. Working on this new programme and in contact with all these different trades means I am constantly learning. That is what drives me day after day.
This trade is not well known and I encourage those who are looking for operational functions to find out more about it!

How do you see your career going forward?

Going forward, I want to continue focusing on export contracts, because these are subjects that I am passionate about. It is a real challenge to work with the company’s international customers.

As part of her commitment as a sponsor in the "Elles bougent" association, which promotes scientific and technical trades among young women, Maroua Omri entered the "Challenge InnovaTech Normandie” contest with her team at the end of 2020. She won the "Coup de Cœur" prize for her Sustainable City project in April 2021: well done to her!