"Being of Mexican origin, I know how it feels to be seeking work in the context of a language barrier, qualifications which aren't recognised and an evident reluctance to take on foreigners. It's thanks to an association like Essor that I was able to find a job with Générale des Eaux."
Created in the Hauts-de-Seine in 1988, Essor is an association specialised in so-called "intermediary" social integration: it provides support to jobless victims of social exclusion while proposing suitable employment and follow-up. Those assisted by Essor are offered occasional assignments on renewable temporary contracts, as required, together with the necessary social and psychological support. For instance, they are required to perform work for the municipality (council worker, window cleaner, storeperson, etc.) or private customers (removals, gardening, cleaner, childcare, etc.).
At the same time, Essor employees have access to training which is designed to enhance their job prospects.
In 2004, thirteen permanent staff supervised 415 workers. Out of the 167 people who left the association the same year, over half found work.
Two new advisors
At end 2004, in order to improve monitoring of its jobseekers, Essor took on an advisor in social and family economics as well as an extra psychologist. Working conditions were becoming cramped. Two new offices proved essential to conduct interviews with jobseekers while respecting the confidentiality to be expected for this kind of contact. Essor therefore expanded by renovating an existing lean-to on the site.
Construction work was done by a local "social integration" company, Azro. Alongside the municipality of Nanterre and the "Fondation Vinci", the Veolia Foundation provided Essor with a grant of 10,000 euros. The funds were used to buy part of the office automation equipment necessary for the work of the association's two new employees.