Why a Leading French University Adopted Concord®’s AWP Curriculum

Centrale Lille, one of the most prestigious engineering schools in France, has integrated Concord®® training into its Construction 4.0 course

I’m pleased to announce that Central Lille will become the world’s first post-secondary institution to incorporate Concord®’s groundbreaking Advanced Work Packaging training program into its core engineering curriculum.

Founded in 1854, Centrale Lille is a renowned graduate engineering school that attracts the best and brightest from across Europe and around the world. The university is committed to preparing young engineers for the future by providing education and training in emerging best practices, including Advanced Work Packaging. 

This co-certification project has been in the works for over a year, and we’ve translated our programs to French to make this dream a reality. This week I interviewed Professor Zoubeir Lafhaj, chairholder in Construction 4.0, who will be integrating the Concord® curriculum into his course on Construction 4.0. Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation.

Olfa Hamdi: Why do you think it’s important for engineering students at Centrale Lille to learn Advanced Work Packaging?

Zoubeir Lafhaj: AWP offers a new and very effective way to address some of the biggest challenges facing complex construction projects today. Our students are some of the brightest in Europe, and they demand excellence from us as educators, so we are always looking to the future to identify the skills and knowledge they will need when they enter the workplace. Advanced Work Packaging is quickly becoming best practice in capital construction, and we anticipate this will expand to other areas as well, including commercial and even residential construction. Centrale Lille is already the recognized leader in Construction 4.0, so embracing AWP is a natural fit for us. We want our students to have the first-mover advantage. 

OH: What makes AWP different from the traditional approaches to capital project management?

ZL: AWP supports construction-driven capital project delivery, and it requires a significant paradigm shift from traditional engineering-driven approaches to capital projects, so there really are too many differences to capture in a short interview like this. What I can say, confidently, is that students trained in AWP approach complex challenges in more innovative ways. They embrace a wider range of problem-solving tools, and are more likely to reject ineffective or outdated tools. Since our goal at Centrale Lille is to improve our students’ ability to manage complex projects, it’s clear that AWP can help us meet that goal. 

From left to right: Olfa Hamdi, CEO, Concord® Project Technologies; Pr. Dr. Zoubeir Lafhaj, Full Professor and ChairHolder in Construction 4.0 at Centrale Lille; Céline Fasulo, Directrice Deleguée de Ecole Centrale Lille; David Boulinguez, Directeur des Études de l'École Centrale de Lille

OH: You mentioned your research, I know you’ve been studying AWP for two years. What is the most interesting finding so far?

ZL: I would say that AWP produces more consistent results, in terms of meeting deadlines and respecting budgets. There’s also a marked improvement in safety. The research is just getting started, but I believe this is because AWP offers a more rigorous, transparent, and sustainable approach to capital project development overall. 

OH: How will you incorporate Concord® training into your course?

ZL: Our students will first complete the online training offered by Concord® Academy, and they will have the opportunity to take the exam and become a Concord® Certified Advanced Work Packaging Professional.® After completing the online training, I’ll expand on the material through in-person lectures and we will practice the tools and skills in class using collaborative case studies, so they can master the application of AWP in a real-life scenario. The quality of the Concord®® training is really solid, part of the reason I felt confident adopting the program in its entirety is because it’s ISO-9001 certified and the quality is there. So it truly is a co-certification program. 

OH: What impact do you think your students will have in the market?

ZL: Our students come from across France, as well as other European companies and places like Brazil, China, Japan, and Chile, so they’ll have a global impact for sure. They typically leave school and join large companies in the automation, transportation, space and construction sectors, and many go on to become entrepreneurs in their own right. I’m excited to see how they impact these sectors — construction in particular is overdue for a major shakeup. AWP has a toehold now, and forward-thinking leaders are showing what can be done, but Central Lille students will be among the first in the world to graduate with a robust understanding of how to execute capital projects using construction-driven AWP. They’ll never have to unlearn old ways of doing things. I think Owner companies are going to snap them up quickly, and I’m excited to see the change they bring to those organizations. concord icon

This exciting step forward is the culmination of many years of hard work from our team here at Concord® Project Technologies® and Concord® Academy. We look forward to a day when all engineering schools prepare their students for the future by offering training in Advanced Work Packaging, Predictability Thinking® and construction-driven capital project delivery.

If you’re a capital project professional, leader or Owner, I encourage you to reach out to us to learn about Concord®’s extensive training opportunities. Our courses are now available in English, Spanish and French. Contact us today. 

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