The Compagnons du Devoir choose Ducerf to discover the world of the sawmill
To communicate their passion for wood, transmit their know-how... These are essential values for the Ducerf Group, which welcomed first-year students in carpentry from the Compagnons du Devoir in Besançon. On the agenda, a visit to the sawmill at Vendenesse-lès-Charolles and the THT unit at Bois Durables de Bourgogne, then on to the Les Bois Profilés site. An experience that helped to reassure these young trainees that the timber industry was the right choice for them…
“I wanted them to be conscious of the work involved in preparing timber, before actually having a length of planed timber on the workbench, that they understand its value and the importance of not being wasteful.” When Julien Verdier, a carpentry instructor with the Compagnons du Devoir at Besançon and in his 8th year of Tour de France, decided to show his class the various wood transformation professions and what they actually involved. He chose the Ducerf Group, which is “a benchmark” in the industry specialising in hardwoods, mostly oak.
With the appointment made, he presented himself and his young apprentices, aged from 14 to 22 years-old, for a day-long visit to the sawmill at Vendenesse-lès-Charolles to watch the first transformation process at the ecological treatment unit at Bois Durables de Bourgogne, a pioneer in heat treated timber in France, and then on to the Bois Profilés site to learn about the second transformation process.
“It’s impressive to see the efficiency of this sawmill! ”
At Ducerf, communication is a fundamental value, and when we organise these types of events, the common thread is expertise and pedagogy. “We proceeded with the visit by following the different stages of the timber’s journey: arrival at the logyard, transformation, drying, shipping... explains Jean-Marc Cauvas, one of the team leaders at the sawmill. The goal is to focus on each workshop so that they can fully appreciate the degree of skill and know-how required for working with timber. I certainly got the feeling that these novices had a real interest in the material. They were very attentive!”
Interest, attention... and even fascination. “I didn’t expect the sites to be so big,” says Benjamin Alimi, one of the trainees. The sheer amount of wood and the number of machines are really impressive. We got to see the realities of the profession and it has made me feel comfortable with my decision to become a carpenter.” Till Heintze, a German student, also working with the Compagnons du Devoir, had similar impressions: “It’s very impressive to see the efficiency of this sawmill and the quantity of wood that passes through it. Oak is truly a magnificent material. Discovering where it comes from, the ways in which it’s worked, all the hands it passes through, enables us to see how we are going to manipulate it, be creative and capture its value! ”
Ducerf, committed to the future actors in the sector
These reactions strengthen the Ducerf Group’s commitment to approaching younger generations and training organisations in order to highlight the different professions of the timber industry, to encourage training and to improve the skills of the sector’s future actors. “This type of exercise is interesting, confirms Jean-Marc Cauvas, because although there has been a wave of new recruits within the group over the last few years, we’re still in the middle of a transition and the learning phase with a fair number of veterans who will soon be retiring. They will need to be replaced. Generally speaking, relying on the younger generation generates new ideas, a different mentality. All of this is healthy for a company. ”
This day, based on discussions and learning, was rewarding for everyone involved and was perfectly aligned with the principles of the Compagnons du Devoir. This workers’ organisation encourages training for young people (10,000 apprentices in training) and promotes the trades, it also aims to enable each of its members to achieve fulfilment in and through the profession of their choosing, in the spirit of openness and sharing. A sentiment obviously shared by Ducerf!