Nationally recognised expertise
As well as the obligatory sports teaching that forms part of the curriculum, for the last ten years Grenoble INP has been encouraging a combination of sports and academic skills by offering students the status of "Sportif/Sportive de Haut Niveau" (SHN, high-level sportsperson). This status allows young athletes to practice their sport at the highest competitive level while simultaneously continuing their higher education in engineering or management.On 5 June 2023, Fabien Stange, director of Grenoble INP’s SUAPS* had the opportunity to explain his expertise in accompanying young athletes at a round table held by the Directorate General of Higher Education and Occupational Integration (DGESIP). He was therefore invited to present Grenoble INP - UGA’s system for promoting the skills of high-level sporting students as part of a DGESIP round table.
This gave him the opportunity to remind participants that since the start of the 2012-2013 academic year, SHN status has been directly integrated into the framework regulations for studying at the engineering and management institution and that one Grenoble INP student and two graduates with this status competed at the last winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing.
An individualised project
The course modifications from which SHN students can benefit are developed “à la carte” depending on the requirements of their sport and its competitions.The choice of dispensations given is discussed by the student, the SHN specialist and the academic directors of the eight schools in order to provide the best-adapted response for each individual depending on their curriculum, their constraints, their professional and intercultural skills and the prerequisites for pursuing their curriculum and their career. These modifications are set out in a written agreement signed by the student and the school.
For the 2022-2023 academic year, 72 students benefited from this status and the associated modifications.
A reciprocal commitment
Although this commitment enables the student to adapt their schooling to their needs, for example through dispensation from certain modules or the spreading of one academic year over two, SHN status also implies a certain number of obligations such as representing the establishment and promoting its reputation (partners, press) and participation in the annual university sports championships.
A definite advantage for companies
Students are evaluated on their sports performances and must also produce a document explaining what skills acquired during their sports activities and their daily lives could enhance their position in their future career as engineers.
These “soft skills” developed by practicing sport at a high level remain a definite advantage as far as companies are concerned. SHN engineers are much sought after. A study of the employability of SHN students at Grenoble INP shows that this status is a real advantage to the graduates concerned.
“Generation 2024” certification
Although Grenoble INP - UGA was a precursor in France, having recognised and implemented SHN status over the last ten years, the institution is always seeking to promote sport even more; last May it obtained “Generation 2024” certification.
This certification is awarded to primary, secondary and higher education institutions, and aims to develop links between the world of education and the sports movement to encourage young people to undertake physical and sporting activities.
The certification has four objectives:
• Developing structuring projects with sports clubs across the country
• Participating in promotional Olympic and Paralympic events
• Supporting or hosting high-level sportspeople
• Opening up sports facilities in institutions
“The teaching support enables the student to identify and make the most of the skills acquired during their sports activities: they refer back to the skills aimed at in the SUAPS’ Physical Education project, such as group dynamics, knowing how to live together, cohesion, creative development, knowing yourself, building your character and management. These transverse skills are recognised as having been acquired by the end of the SHN curriculum and students then implement them in their business careers”, stresses Fabien Stange.
* University physical activities and sports department