Delano: Tell us about the new site.
Pascal Thill: Well, we’ve been looking for some time now and, in the last coalition agreement of the current government, it was agreed that our school would get a new site in the south of Luxembourg. A few sites were taken into account but in the end we turned to Differdange, which is the third largest city in Luxembourg but has no lycée with the offer we can provide.
We wanted to start with an English-speaking program because those classes have been known in our Dommeldange site since 2017, and they’ve been a success story. And now we’d like to offer them in Differdange too: computer science and mechanics, as well as electrical technologies. We will also offer Luxembourgish and French lessons as well as an integration class.
We expect about 60 to 70 students in September , which we will double in September 2024. The site is located at the Villa Hadir, right next to the train station, and will feature a fully renovated container building with modern equipment. The Villa Hadir is historically linked to industry, like ourselves--it really fits us. An industrial school for an industrial city.
What kind of students are you looking for?
Students specifically interested in technology, because the diplomas we offer are highly related to industry and technology. If we don’t know how good a student is in English or in mathematics, we do an admission test to see if they have the necessary basics.
You’re closely linked with industry, then?
We are always in close contact with the industry--Arcelor Mittal and other companies--to stay up to date on what they are specifically looking for. And we try to integrate that into our school offer. We really look into what is needed on the market. We are not a school that has a certain offering and sticks to it forever--we try to really innovate but also to stick to our values. That’s a very important part of our identity.
Also, there’s an increasing demand for technical training and vocational aptitude training in English. The industry needs people like the ones we’re training.
What advantages are there to being private?
First of all, I’d like to say that even though we are a private school we do not have any enrolment fees.
Being private does give us certain advantages: taking decisions a little bit faster, having our own budget. And we are a little bit more free to do projects such as the one now in Differdange.
But there are other differences. For instance, our teachers are on the site, even when they don’t have lessons. They have their own office here and we really encourage them to cooperate, talk, learn from each other. It’s also important to mention that they can be reached: their contact numbers are on our website. That’s an important point of our school: we work in a triangle--student, teacher, parent--and communication within that triangle is very important.