ARES: developing a new activity in logistics and reinforcing back-to-work projects

"All roads lead to man" is the motto of ARES, Association pour la Réinsertion Economique et Sociale. Anyone can get back on his feet and recover his dignity by participating in social and economic exchanges. With this in mind, ARES currently works to improve the employability of handicapped persons in the logistics sector, and to connect its back-to-work employees with the corporate world.

"The financial assistance of the Foundation enables ARES to strengthen the supervision of its candidates for integration, in particular by helping them to better define their job profile."

Manuèle Lemaire

Created in 1991, ARES is a group of workforce development agencies that offer work and social counseling tailored to the needs of people outside mainstream society. ARES has 350 employees, 220 of them on back-to-work status, and an annual budget of nearly €13 million.

The Foundation has already supported ARES projects, sponsored by employees of the Veolia Group. Bridges have thus been built with Veolia Environmental Services and Veolia Water, who call on ARES for subcontracting services. Since 2006, a score of employees completing their back-to-work phase have been recruited at Veolia in the Ile de France area.

Log'ins, a door to companies in the competitive sector

The ARES Group combines 5 workforce development agencies, of which Log'ins, the latest, was created in 2011 for the logistic professions (preparation of orders, public-promotional marketing, e-commerce, etc.). As a rule, in this type of company, handicapped persons perform their tasks at an "adapted" workstation and barely advance towards "conventional" company status. Hence the idea of forming a mixed "adapted/back-to-work company" structure to make it easier for handicapped persons to volunteer for and land a lasting conventional job. So why logistics?The back-to-work employees at ARES are unprepared for these trades, although many of them are now leaning toward this durably vibrant sector. Created in 2011 in partnership with logistics specialist Norbert Dentressangle, Log'ins has already garnered big customers: L'Oréal, Beiersdorf, SFR, Canal + and Axa. Some of them are aiming to offer the employees completing their back-to-work phase jobs with their subcontractors in the competitive sector.

To avoid stigmatizing a handicap, Log'ins operates on the principle of staff mixing: half of the teams consist of handicapped persons, who work daily with the ARES services workforce development professionals on the Log'ins site in the Val-de-Marne area.

Log'ins now has 17 employees, and plans to double this figure by the end of 2013 and guarantee that over 60% of its employees will find a lasting job. The Log'ins creation and development budget, to which the Foundation has made a €50,000 grant, covers miscellaneous investment expenditures: organization of dressing rooms and offices, IT system, copacking, packaging and handling equipment, etc.

Nowadays, 330,000 disabled workers are unemployed, set against only 20,000 openings available in sheltered workshops. Every year, less than of the people working for a sheltered 2% employment company land a job in a conventional company or another sheltered employment company.

A comprehensive approach

Log'ins has created a kind of halfway space, between exclusion and inclusion, dedicated to helping its employees gradually build a brighter personal and professional future.

An employee's career at Log'ins begins before he or she signs the work contract. "Our vocational guidance officer recruits people on the basis of an assessment of operational needs and the candidates put forward by the temporary employment agency dealing with social inclusion issues, attached to the Cap Emploi branch of Dammarie-lesLys," explains Sabrina Adjaoud.

Recruitment is therefore based not on skills or a CV, but on the applicant's motivation. The vocational guidance part takes off once the work contract has been signed. "At the professional level, the aim is to identify any limitations resulting from the handicap and to find out which activities match the employee's profile," Sabrina Adjaoud points out. "We approach this question from the angle of contra-indications (transportable weight, stand-up workstation, etc.), the idea being to adapt the workstation to allow a gradual build-up of skills." During their working time, the employees also benefit from individual social counseling (accommodation, budget management, legal and administrative aid), which is invaluable in the event that they are able to find a job in a conventional company.

More training and bridges to corporations

ARES: developing a new activity in logistics and reinforcing back-to-work projects 9614,raw,12SE1602-LOGINS-2_credit-Ce.jpg

photo : Cécile Deligey

ARES' second project has attracted the Foundation's attention: reinforcing the back-to-work circuit.

ARES employs sidelined persons on back-to-work status and, at the same time, gives them social and professional counseling. Social counseling - accommodation, budget management, health, access to mobility, legal and administrative aid - is effective, but professional counseling turns out to be inadequate. The aim is to build a coherent professional project with the backing of refresher courses, skills training and field trips to companies. ARES would like to enrich its training and build even more bridges with corporations to broaden the knowledge of the professions and make it easier for back-to-work employees to find jobs.

In this connection, ARES wants to tighten its bonds with the Veolia entities in the Ile de France area. In July 2012, Veolia Environmental Services included ARES in its recruitment system: this is a first step in the partnership, which could extend to other branches of Veolia.

The €50,000 Foundation grant will be part of the training budget for 420 employees per year over a three-year period, the organization of 12 corporate field trips and 12 trade meetings per year, including at least 4 field trips and 4 meetings in Veolia branches.

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Endowment: 10/12/2013

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    Country: France
    Endowment: 15/10/2013

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