You have the floor, Ms Charbonnier: Your views on Training and the Territory

Karine Charbonnier, Chair and CEO of Beck-Industries, Vice-President of the Regional Council for Hauts-de-France, Delegate for Training & Enterprise and God-Mother of the UTC’s class of 2019.

You have the floor,  Ms Charbonnier: Your views on Training and the Territory


Sitting on the Regional Council for Hauts-de-France, Karine Charbonnier is in charge of liaising with enterprise. She helps out when it comes to establishing new business, take-overs and/or development for export candidates, accompanies those who would like to innovate or simply grow in size and scale, not forgetting the aid she can offer for recruitment and vocational training. All told, this is a vast remit for a HEC graduate, who accepted, in 2005, the Chairmanship and CEO positions for their family business Beck-Crespel, founded by her Great Grandmother in Armentières opening the (fasteners, screws, accessories …) company to international markets. “Training I see as the definitive key here, including lifelong learning, being curious, reading and training all the way. Increasingly, we now observe alternate phases between training periods and normal worktime. And that amounts to a passion-driven adventure”, she adds enthusiastically. The century in which we live is also an engineer’s century. Engineering serving humanity’s needs. Whether it be in mobility & transport, in materials or biotechnologies, we see the effects of innovation everywhere. Technologies evolves fast. Consequently we must continue to train ourselves to accompany as best we can these changes.

“Young people today have a tremendous opportunity. The future is theirs. I tend to agree with the famous maxim “Time is long but life is short*”. Life goes by so fast yet we all have a role to play. Let’s not forget that a business company must be “win-win”, adds the Vice-President of the Regional Council for Hauts-de-France, Delegate for Training & Enterprise. “Everyone should be enriched through training. When you are young, you are not necessarily aware of the stakes. But everyone must be able to add his/her stone to the construction”.

/* borrowed from the familiar Latin translation: ‘Ars longa, vita brevis’, originally a Greek aphorism we owe to Hippocrates

An entrepreneurial and innovative regional spirit

Enterprise expects that young people display personal ambition and work hard. The fact that they show initiative, like their jobs and assume responsibilities are virtues that business concerns appreciate a lot, both in this Region and beyond. The so-called SRDCEII (Regional Scheme for Economic, Innovation and Internationals Affairs) is the guideline policy for the future of the area. “In our training policy guidelines, we have integrated some innovative content. One of the major principles of our strategy lies in the links we must set up to better meet the needs of sectors and enterprises recruiting personnel, whether it be in terms of orientation and management of the training course offers, or in terms of informing the target populations (young people in training, unemployed job seekers, salaried workers), in order to ensure that everyone can access the best information appertaining to the possible professional openings”, she adds. The Regional authorities – after launching Proch’Emploi, which is a unique go-between for employers and job-seekers – has now launched Pass Formation and Pass Emploi. Pass Formation [training] has been designed to accompany job-seekers’ individual projects allowing them to access a qualifying, or certified training course, with a direct bearing on the professional projects (career evolution, creation or acquisition of a business concern). “Our Hauts-de-France Region is remarkable for the intrinsic quality of its enterprises” concludes Karine Charbonnier. “Over 5 000 jobs were created in 2017, notably via our capacity to train, the serious approach we take for our work and our sense of collective, public or corporate interests”. 


Beck Industries, a 100% family business

1918 was the year that marked the end of WWI and the adventure began in the ruins of the family baker’s shop, in Armentières, with Helene and George Beck as the shop-owners and managers. It was Helene who proposed they should nor rebuild the bakery and she set up business in mechanical engineering – her second passion – inasmuch as she foresaw a rapid growth of activities as needed to (re)build the local mining and railroad infrastructures. This led to the company Beck-Crespel.

From a family business to an international industrial group

A century later, what was originally a small family business, has become an international group with an annual turnover close to 90 Meuros. There is a network of subsidiaries round the world in strategic places: Greta Britain, Germany, China and Morocco. With more than 600 employees in the world group, Karine Charbonnier, Chair and CEO of Beck Industries foresees a continuation of the strategy of expansion in order to ensure an export growth factor higher than 60% over the coming years, while preserving the family spirit as handed down by her Father before she took over the business.