Getting social mobility up and running again

Since 2005, Télémaque has been working to improve equal opportunities: in partnership with the French Ministry of Education and a network of company employees, it provides support up to the baccalaureate level for bright, motivated young people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Social and Employment

  • Locations:
    Ile-de-France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Occitanie, Hauts-de-France, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Nouvelle Aquitaine, Pays-de-la-Loire (France)
  • Sponsors:
    Brigitte Durand
    Marc d’Engremont
  • Grants:
    €87,500 over five years to the Committee meeting of 21/01/2009
    €45,000 over three years to the Committee meeting of 23/05/2014
    €35,100 to the Committee meeting of 26/04/2017
    €17,550 to the Committee meeting of 28/11/2018
    €10,000 on 11/05/2020
    €10,800 to the Committee meeting of 01/04/2021
    €12,150 to the Committee meeting of 04/10/2021
    €12,150 to the Committee meeting of 19/10/2022
    €14,850 to the Committee meeting of 18/10/2023

Project leader


In 2009, the Foundation and the Human Resources Department began working to encourage Veolia employees to take on the role of tutor, and have been successful in doing so. Some of them have been replaced during this long partnership due to career developments (mobility or departure, etc.) but all of them have testified to the personal enrichment of this support.
Brigitte Durand

Upward social mobility is failing, especially in the secondary school sector: this view is shared by the majority of teaching professionals. A Senate report in 2007 underlined that a child of a blue-collar worker is seven times less likely than a child of a senior executive or teacher to have access to higher education in France. From secondary school onwards, pupils are not on an equal footing. Young people from underprivileged backgrounds disappear during the course of higher education: they are rarely present in selective programs, or at Master's or PhD level.

To remedy this situation, Télémaque has developed an approach: identify bright students from disadvantaged backgrounds and accompany them from middle school to higher education. The Institute reveals the potential of young people in fragile and priority areas by relying on complementary players. The ambition is clear: to massively resolve the problem of social determinism in France.

Creating the conditions for greater social equality

The originality of its action lies in dual tutoring. Thanks to a partnership with a range of major companies, Institut Télémaque offers selected students the opportunity to be followed in parallel by a mentor from the teaching staff of the school where they are studying, and by a tutor employed by a company, who volunteers to accompany them throughout their studies. Together, the school mentor and the company tutor support the student in all aspects of his or her academic career and personal development.

More than 1000 young people accompanied since 2005

220 partner schools

120 partner companies

7 regions in France

In addition to putting Télémaque in touch with volunteer employees, companies provide financial support to enable the association to meet the educational needs of its students. Individual support is coupled with group activities organised by the Télémaque team such as job forums, educational workshops, training courses, cultural or company visits. Télémaque also provides each student and his or her tutors with a grant to finance outings, language-learning trips, books or anything else that will enable the young person to succeed.

Targeting the baccalaureate

Aware of the value of such an approach, the Veolia Foundation, the Veolia Campus and the Veolia Human Resources Department have supported Télémaque since 2009. Ten students (nine in the general stream and one in the vocational stream) have been supported by 10 Veolia employee tutors in Ile-de-France, the North and Rhône-Alpes regions. The operation was a success, with 97% of the young people who were supported successfully passing their baccalaureate in 2013, and 79% of them graduated with honours (21% with a "very good" grade).

This support was repeated in 2014 for three more years on the basis of five young people. Veolia employees have joined forces with the Foundation: 13 of them have become tutors.

In 2017, the Foundation confirmed and extended the funding provided to Télémaque. Thanks to its support and the involvement of Veolia employees, 13 young people have received support over a two-year period.

In the same year, Télémaque launched the platform Free and accessible to everyone, it offers educational content on careers guidance with a clear goal in line with the Institute's aims: to fight self-exclusion, social determinism and enable young people to break the glass ceiling.

National development and strengthening in a time of increased need

The next step is to accelerate the development of Télémaque by scaling up to support more young people and be present in more regions. This was the rationale behind the renewed support of the Veolia Foundation in 2018.

Two years later, the world is going through the Covid-19 pandemic and France is in lockdown for several weeks. The task of Télémaque is becoming essential for a large number of students who have dropped out of school. The Foundation is there to help the association develop its platform.

The adventure continues in 2021: the Veolia Foundation supports the accompaniment of 17 young people by Télémaque, in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Ile-de-France, but also in Toulouse, Marseille and Clermont-Ferrand. For the 2022-2023 school year, nine young people will be accompanied individually by Veolia sponsors in Ile-de-France, Auvergne Rhône Alpes, Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur, Occitanie and Hauts-de-France, with the renewed support of the Foundation. In 2023, eleven young people are being mentored in Ile-de-France, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur and Occitanie. Because equal opportunity is a requirement wherever it is needed.