Posted on September 21, 2022, 5:58 pmUpdated September 21, 2022 at 5:59 p.m
From the age of fifteen, they already have both feet in the world of work. A promotion of 12 students enters the new production school in Steyn (Saint-Saint-Denis) called Iron Academy, promoted by the TotalEnergies Foundation. In a newly opened metalworking workshop, these young graduates aged 15 to 18 produce parts sold directly to companies, communities and individuals in the region.
They have taken up residence in a 1000 m2 building next to that of the training organization Industreet, which in turn welcomes students aged 18 to 30, destined to join work in a busy industry. While production schools are often set up at the initiative of small and medium-sized enterprises that cannot find enough skilled workers in their field of work, the Stains School was targeted by the TotalEnergies Foundation. “It’s an idea that struck me as both simple and full of common sense,” says Patrick Pouyanne, CEO of TotalEnergies, who has been convinced of the model for years.
A total of 50 young people
With the help of the National Federation of Production Schools (FNEP), a diagnosis of the needs of local entrepreneurs has been launched. “I met about fifty companies and the most pressing needs in Seine-Saint-Denis are metalwork, wood and machining,” notes Françoise Candieu, executive director of the school.
At this state-recognised private technical school – halfway between an apprenticeship center and a vocational high school – young people prepare for the CAP over two years. For now, 8 out of 9 passed the course of the first promotion last year. “For this year, we expect 6 more young people for a total of 18 and about 50 within 3 years,” the director points out. The opening of a course for professional bachelor’s training is also being explored.
To start the school, €1 million in equipment was provided by the TotalEnergies Foundation and the state through the recovery plan. The operating budget, currently €300,000, should reach €600,000 once the workforce is replenished. One third is financed by the production, and the rest comes from the Ile-de-France region and the state.
Companies in the surrounding area, as well as communities such as Le Bourget and Saint-Ouen, now buy these productions, which are sold at market price. For young people, this school is an opportunity to learn about a profession and gain access to work as a worker in a local company after leaving.
100 schools in 2028
Thus, this type of training meets the glaring need when 200,000 positions need to be filled in industry and the unemployment rate for people under 30 has reached 19%. Especially in Seine-Saint-Denis, a department with the poorest and youngest population in France.
And the model carries the wind in its wings. The number of production schools only increases under the pressure of public authorities. “We currently have 55 schools today and hope to open 70 in 2023,” says Vanessa Dequid, head of school development at FNEP. One hundred should be operational by 2028.
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