Eiffage Foundation: extended duration and scope for experimental zero long-term unemployment zones

Eiffage Group

The Eiffage Foundation has been supporting the experimental zero long-term unemployment zones initiative since 2015, both at national level supporting the initial ten volunteer zones and helping to expand the initiative to at least a further 50 emerging zones, and at the local level in the Pays de Colombey et du Sud Toulois area where 70 jobs have been created in two years. 

Since 2015, the Eiffage Foundation has been supporting the experimental zero long-term unemployment zones initiative, initially developed by the ATD Quart Monde association. The objective is to eradicate long-term unemployment in ten urban and rural areas with populations of between 5,000 to 10,000, by offering volunteers who have been unemployed for over a year employment on a permanent contract, with minimum wage and preferred pace. The idea is to tap into the skills and aspirations of people in the local area, identify local needs in terms of goods and services that are useful and don’t compete with existing activities, and create jobs that are financed by the transfer of unemployment-related costs, with no additional expense for the local authority. In total, over a three-year trial period, some 800 job-seeker volunteers have been employed by dedicated job-creating enterprises (job-creating enterprises are specifically set up in the area to employ job-seekers). Furthermore, some 350 people found employment without going through a job-creating enterprise.
At the end of 2018, the Eiffage Foundation renewed its support for the experiment for a further two years, in order to see the first phase through to the end. Legislation was passed in February 2016 to set up the first ten zones for a period of five years. In early 2020, a second law will be passed to prolong the experiment at those ten zones and extend it to between 50 and 100 other areas for a period of five years.
With the help of the Eiffage Foundation, the Territoire Zéro Chômeur de Longue Durée association provides support to the ten existing zones and is helping to train and assist almost 90 new zones opting in to the experimental scheme.
At the local level, the Eiffage Foundation has supported the Pays de Colombey et du Sud Toulois area (Meurthe-et-Moselle), which groups together 38 rural areas located an hour from Nancy, right from the start. Local officials are fully engaged in the experiment, with a view to revitalising the local area by creating additional economic activities. Over a period of two years, 70 jobs have been created via two job-creating enterprises. The first of these, called La Fabrique, provides various services: recycling, market gardening, forestry work, etc. The latest initiative launched in 2018 has helped recreate a sheep wool bedding industry, based around a cooperative involving 13 local sheep farmers.
Around half of all job-seekers in the area have been informed about the zero long-term unemployed zone initiative. And around half have actually been employed by a job-creating enterprise.
Following a period of growth and development, the job-creating enterprises in Colombey have now entered a structuring phase: a new job-creating enterprise is due to be set up to group together the agriculture-based activities, and another will pool all the support functions. In 2020, a honey house will be set up in Battigny, a village with a tradition of bee-keeping, in order to redevelop this activity and create synergies with the other job-creating enterprise activities. Local Eiffage and Crepi agencies are already backing the experiment, the aim being to develop involvement and skills volunteering among Group employees.