Travelling people, drop-outs, first-generation immigrants; 140,000 children leave the school system early every year in France. This situation is often due to a lack of support and a standardized academic system that is ill-suited to their needs. Unable to find work, these young people are looking for concrete solutions to exploit their potential.
Between school and work
Juralternance offers vocational courses with real economic opportunities. It has the status of école de production (vocational college where the students make and deliver real products) and was founded in 2013 by ECCOFOR, an association promoting the professional integration of 15- to 18-year-olds. The first école de production in Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Juralternance is at the frontier of education and the professional world: a third of the students’ time is dedicated to general education, and French in particular, and the rest is devoted to vocational training in workshops. “All we ask from them is to be motivated,” says ECCOFOR’s development manager, Morgane Hamonet.
The return of inductive learning
Guided by paid, professional teachers, the 18 students learn a profession; from metalwork to pneumatics and cars, by preparing orders for individual and corporate clients. Production is used as a pedagogical tool: “Stairs, gates, shelves… being able to see the fruit of your work is a real plus to these vocational schools; it gives value and encourages perserverance,” adds Ms. Hamonet. “The specificity of this school is explained to customers, and the approach, which consists in creating local jobs that meet the region’s needs is greatly appreciated.” Product sales finance 60% of the school’s running costs. Students’ families are also involved in the educational process: “a relationship of trust is vital to ensure that the family is not counterproductive.”
Local companies were involved in creating the project. A market study was carried out, to make sure that employment opportunities would follow. These ties ensure the school’s work meets the market’s needs and that it receives support: visitors, internships, jobs, relevance of teaching, sponsorship, etc. “In order to maintain the quality of trainings, we must be able to provide our students with suitable resources,” reminds Ms. Hamonet. The Air Liquide Foundation enabled us to invest in metalwork equipment, tools, and machines.”
To find out more
- Juralternance : www.eccofor.fr/fr/eccofor-juralternance