ITECH Lyon: Equipping Students With Needed Skills Required To Thrive In The Industry 4.0

By Jérôme Marcilloux, Director
Jérôme Marcilloux,Director France has always been an attractive study destination for international students. A French city that has been offering a unique learning experience for its students is Lyon. Two hours from Paris, two hours from the Mediterranean Sea, an hour and a half from the Alps, and all of this in a city that is in and of itself a destination, 130,000 students call Lyon home. Operating with the primary motive of training skilled engineers for the challenges of specific industries that are not only local but must now be thought of on a world-wide scale is ITECH Lyon. ITECH is a state-accredited engineering school created by professional associations in the four specialty areas of leather, textiles, plastic, and formulation chemistry. The institute is headed by industry stalwarts and this close connection to the industry dates back to the creation of the school in 1899, under the name of the French Tannery School. Over the years, the school developed expertise in plastic and coatings, then in 1988 merged with the Weaving School of Lyon under the name of ITECH.

World-Class Engineering Education
The current engineering education model is in the process of reaching its upward limits due to the acceleration of technological progress and therefore, the enormous quantity of skills students must acquire is also on the rise. In order to deal with this situation, ITECH is developing an idea of training that spans across their students' entire career. The institute believes that this evolution is completely necessary, and it forces them to adopt a way of thinking that is comprehensive, sustainable, and life-long in scope. "At ITECH, every hour of teaching or lab work is meant to prepare our students for the
demands of the industry. This hands-on approach is, we feel, a real strength that differentiates us from other larger universities. We are also the only school in France to deliver a leather engineering degree and since 2014, we have become the school of the European Association of Paints, Inks and Varnishes. At ITECH, we make sure that the learner's experience is informed by real industry issues and innovations so that it will help them in the future", says Jérôme Marcilloux, Director, ITECH.

"ITECH is a state-accredited engineering school created by professional associations in the four specialty areas of leather, textiles, plastic, and formulation chemistry"

The most important program at ITECH is the engineering degree which is a three-year program accessible to students with two years of undergraduate studies in chemistry. Throughout the degree, students meet professors who have worked in industry and many others who are still professionals by trade and who share their expertise with the students alongside their other professional activities. Also, each year (for a total of about nine months during the three years), the students complete internships, giving students essential experience that makes them immediately operational when they graduate. An integral part of this practical education is international mobility which is required in an engineering degree: there is an internship abroad at the end of the first year which is mandatory, as well as an international semester at the beginning of the second year. Besides English, the students have access to over ten other languages and the institute believes that languages, business and marketing, negotiation, and other subjects help students develop vital soft skills as the profession of an engineer can no longer be considered as exclusively scientific.

Offering the Best for All
Throughout their degree, ITECH students have a project-based way of working, from their class
and lab work to, especially, their guided research projects. These allow them to use the school's human and material resources to solve problems. The teaching staff ensures that high levels of scientific rigor are met in order to be successful in the industry. Beyond their degree, students have access to an entrepreneurship service which allows students to take their projects out of the school context into real business ventures. "The teachers and researchers at ITECH are characterized by their availability for the students as we are a relatively small institution of 500 students. Students also stay in constant contact with industry directly during company days, job dating events, and via an alumni network of over 3000 active working members. The previously mentioned research projects and the internships also allow students to keep up with what is going on in the outside world", mentions Jérôme.

Adding about the scholarship opportunities that the students can avail, Jérôme includes, "If students manage to get sponsored by a company of professional association, like many other students in Europe, their tuition fees will be fully covered. However, regardless, all students, European or not, systematically receive European or French regional grants for internships and academic semesters completed abroad." To all the aspiring students who seek quality French education, ITECH promises that they will help you to open your minds to a range of new ideas and possibilities while benefitting from a hands-on, practical aspect which will align your skill sets perfectly with the industry requirements.

Jérôme Marcilloux, Director
Jérôme Marcilloux is a holder of an engineering degree in chemistry and a doctorate in macromolecular chemistry. Jérôme worked for 18 years in the industry before joining ITECH in 2009. He took the position of general manager in 2012 and has helped to develop the school's educational offerings as well as its position in both industrial and international contexts.