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"Becoming integrated while saving heritage"

Hassan Alyu was only 16 years old when he left Nigeria. So who would have imagined that two years later he would find his professional feet by taking part in the restoration of a jewel of France’s Norman industrial heritage? The Saint-Gilles paddle wheel mill in Rouen, which dates back to the 12th century, was originally used to grind grains and seeds, spin cotton and manufacture putty. Today, it is home to the Expotec 103 museum, which exhibits emblematic tools used by local industry in the past. Currently undergoing restoration thanks to the support of TotalEnergies Foundation, it also welcomes volunteers and young people training to enter the workforce in blacksmith, masonry or carpentry professions.

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"Becoming integrated while saving heritage"

"Becoming integrated while saving heritage"

Restoration of the waterwheel of the Saint-Gilles watermill
Rouen (Expotec – Normandie)

Sylvain ENGELHARD – Président of the social history center:
We are at the Saint-Gilles water mill, at Expotec 103, museum of the living industrial.
This water mill dates back to the 12th century.

The heart of the association is voluntary work.
It goes from the blacksmith to the electronics engineer, the computer engineer, electrician, mason…

We’re currently working on the restoration of the waterwhell.

You’ve met Alyu who’s in training here, who’s been participating in the professional integration project.

Hassan ALYU:
My name is Hassan Alyu, I’m 18 years old. I come from Nigeria. I’ve been in France for two years.

I worked on the integration project. I worked on the green spaces, cut trees, did some paving. Sometimes I work at the forge here as well. I find this very interesting.

The point is to have young people in the integration project who will meet the supervisors and the volunteers.
It creates an important diversity and prepares the young ones to the future.

There is also an heritage that needs to be saved. There isn’t only woodwork or masonry out there.
There are also machines and tools to restore, to restore and to switch back on.

Hassan ALYU:
There are some old stuff here that I didn’t know. But since I started coming here I learned a lot.

Expotec isn’t just a museum, it’s also an integration site.

Hassan Alyu worked 800 hours on the site and is working towards a metalworking professional training certificate.

The water mil will opens its doors to the public by the second semester of 2020 and will offer educational activities to school groups.