[Job portrait] “I’m lucky enough to work in both France and Brazil”

09 December 2020 Human ressources International Story

Agathe Boyce, graduated from Polytech Lille in 2016, specialising in Mechanics, is currently working as a System Chief Engineer and Work Package Manager in underwater detection on the Prosub submarine program.

In 2016, Agathe did her final year internship in the acoustics department of Naval Group Research, after which she joined the Underwater Detection department of the Weapons, Detection and Communications directorate as an Underwater Detection Research and Testing Assistant on the Brazilian Scorpène® program. Less than 3 years later, she became a System Chief Engineer and Work Package Manager, still with Prosub. Today, she divides her time between Ollioules and Itaguaí, where she works on a regular basis.

“On site, Itaguaí Construções Navais (ICN) manages the shipyard work, and we handle the Transfer of Technology (ToT). Previously, we were training the Brazilian Navy in sonar design, and now the customer needs to be assisted with on-board testing: we note down all our activities and draft the step-by-step procedures, with the aim of training the Brazilian personnel and ultimately enabling them to work unaided. This training is time-consuming - it slows down the integration work compared to that on a standard program - but it’s an integral part of the ToT process, so I’m making very direct contribution to customer satisfaction.

At the moment we’re working on the first submarine, and if we make a success of the First of Class, we won’t need to be so present for the following ones, because the Brazilians will be more autonomous. They should be able to perform all the standard steps that we have trained them for.

My priority is to ensure that both testing and ToT are carried out according to the rules of the trade and to the level of quality expected by the customer. Over the next few months, we will be finalising the quayside trials, a crucial step before commencing the sea trials on board the Riachuelo. We will be accompanying the customer there with even greater care and attention, to verify the detection performance of the Brazilian Scorpène®. Those are the key milestones that lie ahead.

Working abroad has always been at the back of my mind. I've always been interested in understanding how people work elsewhere. During my degree course, I did a 4-month internship in Australia, in a laboratory specialising in vibrations, a field I studied during my final year. As a student, I had a good image of Naval Group. Today, I feel privileged to be involved in an export program right from the start of my career.

When you start out, it is essential to get accustomed to the Naval Group culture, in order to get up to scratch and be fully credible when the time comes. As for what happens next, we shall see. There are so many opportunities at Naval Group. I don't have any geographical preference but one thing is certain: I want to fly the flag for French engineering, which enjoys worldwide renown.”