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© Fédération Nationale des Ecoles de Production

A new way to equip youngsters with technical skills

Helping two new vocational schools train young people in sheet metal work, a trade with job openings for skilled workers

Despite the high unemployment rate in France, many technical trades are in need of workers. The French federation of production schools (Fédération nationale des écoles de Production - FNEP) is responding to this challenge with certification programs for young people, especially those who did not complete their studies, in trades that have high numbers of unfilled openings. Thanks to their innovative "learning by doing" educational approach, nearly 100% of those who earn their certificates go on to secure a job or continue their studies. The FNEP plans to scale up the program to help 4,000 young people find jobs each year. The organization projects that they will open 100 new schools by 2028 thanks to the support of the Air Liquide Foundation and other corporate foundations and industrial organizations.

Project Identity

Project Initiator: French federation of production schools (Fédération nationale des écoles de Production) Years of support: 2020-2022
Support: funding cutting-edge technology (plasma cutter, etc.) Amount provided: 200,000 euros
Location: Cholet and Le Havre, France Air Liquide Monitor: Régis Saadi, Public Affairs Director, Air Liquide France Industrie

 

The Cause

Each year over 80,000 young people drop out of school in France. Nearly two million young people find themselves in the NEET category: Not in Education, Employment, or Training. 

At the same time, job postings in technical fields often go unfilled due to a lack of technical skills. The goal is to match those unfilled positions with job seekers.

The Goal: 100% of students hired

One of the most effective ways to reduce the unemployment rate for young people and integrate them into society is to train them in a trade with job opportunities and find them work. 
This is what the Air Liquide Foundation aims to accomplish by helping to establish new production schools for technical trades in areas with high demand for skilled labor. 

The goal of the project is to take the project nationwide, expanding to 100 schools by 2028 (as of 2020 there are 32 schools).

What is a production school?

A school with a unique education approach: "Learning by doing". The school has about ten young people ages 15 to 19 in each class, often young people who dropped out of school. The students, supervised by professionals, work on actual orders from customers in a supportive but demanding environment. The training combines theoretical and practical learning. Students build their self-confidence through the work they do and the respect they are shown by customers. The training and experience they receive in the production school helps them adapt to the demands of the companies where they find work.

100

schools by 2028

4000 young

people trained each year

Nearly 100%

job placement rate for students

The Work
Opening Two New Production Schools

The Air Liquide Foundation is helping the FNEP open two new schools specialized in sheet metal work:

  • a production school for the Le Havre region
  • a production school in Cholet (Institut de Formation Technique de l'Ouest - IFTO)

Each of these two schools that opened in 2020 will be attended by about ten students in the first year, and up to 40 young people in 3 or 4 levels in the following years: the objective, to train and integrate 110 young people in 3 years in Cholet and Le Havre.
The students follow courses of study that are accredited by the French department of education: a certificate of professional competence (CAP) in industrial applications for sheet metal work, a BAC Pro in industrial sheet metal work, and a certificate of professional qualification (CQP) in stainless steel pipework, welding track.

Visite guidée des écoles de production

What the Air Liquide Foundation is doing

Opening one of these schools involves significant financial outlays: completing the building infrastructure, outfitting the classrooms, setting up the workshops and purchasing the equipment. The production schools train young people on equipment that is similar to the machines they will use at their future workplaces. The Foundation funds the purchase of cutting-edge equipment (plasma cutters, etc.).

 

In addition, the Foundation connects the schools with local Air Liquide teams. The partnership with the production schools presents many opportunities for skills donation:

  • Insight into life inside a company: safety, HR, finance, business plans, management, etc.
  • Technical expertise: welding technology, maintenance, industrial electricity, etc.
  • Learning design: simulations, certifications, certificate of professional qualification for welding, etc.
  • Tours of industrial sites
  • Mentoring for at-risk youth. 

The Foundation is also working with the FNEP on industry 4.0 and the future of industrial trades.