LE FOYER holds its first certificate-presentation ceremony for its participants in social integration programmes!

The presentation was attended by members of the LE FOYER association, along with its president and representatives of UNAMA, Eco-mobilier and the Maisons du Monde Foundation, the main partners of the project

On March 15, 7 participants in LE FOYER social reintegration programmes were awarded Vocational Qualification Certificates in cabinet-making. These are state-recognised and the equivalent of French secondary-level vocational diplomas such as the CAP and BEP.

This new vocational qualification is the result of the first phase of the “Le Mobilier de 2mains” project that is aimed at equipping participants in social reintegration programmes with skills in a trade that offers them a future and increases LE FOYER’s capacity to recycle the wooden furniture that it receives on a daily basis.

A collective, innovative and committed project

In partnership with UNAMA (the National Union for Furniture Craftworkers, which runs the training courses), Eco-mobilier and the Maisons du Monde Foundation, LE FOYER steered this innovative project.

Trainers each devoted one week per month to teaching employees this new vocational skill. The result lived up their expectations: as well as generating a new dynamic within the cabinet-making workshop, employees gained new skills and gave free rein to their creativity to add unique touches to their recycled furniture.

“I learned a new way of working with wood here. I learned to respect the material.”

Guillermo, painter and recipient of the LE FOYER certificate

The certificates were presented in the workshop where the recycled furniture was put on display.

Guillermo, a 65-year-old painter who has lived an eventful and varied life, spoke of the array of things he learned during the course: “Here I perfected my understanding of assembly techniques. (…) That is what I learned here, that wood moves! It is a noble, living material! I learned to respect wood.”

The trainers, who were also in attendance, spoke of their pride at participating in the project and at seeing their students presented with certificates: “The results are extremely positive,” says Baptistin, a cabinet-making teacher in Le Foyer’s workshop. “We worked a lot on cross-cutting skills and (…) can see that the training has created genuine vocational prospects, enabling people to discover a trade and finetune their skills. From the first day we felt the shared dynamic (…). It has really been a wonderful adventure.”

A project to be expanded beyond LE FOYER to have a nationwide reach

The second session will begin soon and participants in the first course expressed their desire to take part in the programme. In view of the success of the project, both for the participants and the Maisons du Monde’s customers, who donated more than €210,000 to fund the project through ARRONDI, a new phase will be introduced to widen the project: the next sessions will cover participants from other bodies working on social reintegration whose are too small to be able practically to run such a course.

Furthermore, the Emmaüs Défi association, which is also backed by the Maisons du Monde Foundation, plans to run in Spring a course for the people involved in its “Recreators” project with the aim of recycling wooden furniture and encouraging new environmentally-friendly practices and processes.

More than a certification, this new qualification opens up new vocational prospects in which recycling wood will be considered not as a transition job but a real career.