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Rugby : a springboard towards youth integration

Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - Mozac
Social ties in priority neighbourhoods

For the past three years, the "Tremplin Jeunes Espoirs" association in Auvergne has been developing a promising system to promote the integration into employment of young rugby players lacking any plans or ambition for the future. About fifty volunteers, aged 16 to 20, have benefited from this system, which is now spreading to other geographical areas and other sports…



Helping young people with educational, social and economic difficulties to find a career plan that excites them and allows them to apply the skills they acquired through playing rugby… That is the challenge of the project developed by the ‘Tremplin Jeunes Espoirs’ in 2007. The originators of this initiative include two former members of the Riom Rugby Club, a professor from the Ecole Supérieure de Commerce (Business School) in Clermont-Ferrand, and a manager from the Adecco temping agency. They pooled their expertise and their connections to persuade the private sector to invest in the potential of these young people. And so, with financial support from about sixty companies in the region as well as local government, the association managed to set up the ‘parcours Tremplin’ (‘Springboard programme’). This is a six-month programme, from December to June, based mainly on finding out about different employment sectors, learning job-search techniques, an introduction to self-employment, and work experience placements.

The encounter with the enterprise world

To identify players who would be suitable as participants in this scheme, the association relies on the coaches in the sports clubs of Puy de Dôme. This recruitment does not depend solely on the young person’s social situation :"The most important factor is their drive to succeed", says Mélanie Rance, Programme Head. "They must agree to spend a few hours per week in the programme, and commit themselves to taking all of the course modules offered." Once this commitment has been made, the youths can take the training course, provided partially by instructors from the Clermont-Ferrand Business School and partially by Adecco. Each participant also receives advice from a sponsor, chosen from one of the partner companies, throughout the training period and even afterwards. Philippe Ladet, for example, Director of the public works company Eurovia Dala in Clermont-Ferrand (a subsidiary of VINCI) and sponsor of the association, has already guided two players in 2009 and 2010. An involvement that has been a real learning experience for him : "In business, there is usually not much room for doubt. But with these young people, who are all in need of guidance, you have to be a listener—not tell them what to do, but help them through the process of regaining their self-confidence." This method worked for 17-year-old Michael, a member of the class of 2009, who did not know which path to take. He was hesitating between various vocational diplomas. Philippe Ladet set about finding appropriate work experience placements that would help him make up his mind. "Even though he is still a bit too young to be absolutely sure of his choice, Michael is now taking a vocational course in public works, which will enable him to become a stone carver."

Almost 90% of the young people who went through the ‘Tremplin (Springboard) Programme’ have succeeded, like Michael, in joining a training programme, finding a job, returning to school, or simply regaining confidence in their potential. This observation has made the association want to broaden the scope of its action. Philippe Ladet, who is also on the steering committee, says : "In 2009, we launched the 'Tremplin Jeunes Espoirs Plus' programme for players over the age of 21. We have also opened it up to young people from the world of boxing." Yet more new initiatives that go to show how well sport and integration into employment go together, and how important it is to avoid the premature exclusion from the system of those who have a little difficulty on the road to education and employment.

December 2010 © Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

Reporters d'Espoirs news agency

VINCI Foundation works with Reporters d'Espoirs, a French news agency, to highlight and share the innovative social initiatives that it supports. The arrangement includes the writing of articles and exchange on topics that lead to solutions. Thus presented, the initiatives, validated using the criteria of the editorial charter of Reporters d'Espoirs, are intended to demonstrate their development and results.