Ateliere Fara Frontiere : a key actor of social economy through work integration in Romania
Ateliere Fără Frontiere (Workshops without Borders) is a non-profit association for the social, professional and civic integration of vulnerable, excluded and marginalised people. It is a key actor of social economy in Romania since its activities are based on the principle of solidarity and social utility. It particularly implements work integration programs linked to the circular economy such as the following Alstom Foundation-funded project described below.
Mentoring and professional accompaniment in partnership with the business sector – a successful socio-professional insertion project
Eight vulnerable people now have a job and a future in the conventional labour market, and 29 have a CV with work experience and interaction with employers. This was made possible by the RE-insert program run by Ateliere Fără Frontiere with the support of several companies and foundations, including the Alstom Foundation.
The collaboration between companies and social insertion enterprises is vital for the Romanian market to activate people who do not have a job. The reasons are a combination of multiple difficulties : long-term unemployment, addictions, disabilities, dropping out of school, domestic violence, human trafficking, probation, custodial sentences, homelessness.
« The process of integration into the conventional labour market of a person with multiple vulnerabilities is a difficult one and it requires time and sustained effort from the person in the insertion, but also from the teams that deal with it – social worker, lawyer, psychologist, team leader, job coach – which requires human resources and ultimately financial. At Ateliere Fără Frontiere we believe that everyone has the right to a second chance and that is why every effort is worth making. Alstom Romania colleagues offered something very important – contact with real life – in the process of self-assessment, creating expectations for our colleagues in the insertion « , says Damien Thiery, general manager of Ateliere Făra Frontiere.
During the project, there were six visits to Alstom Romania (sustainable railway transports company) and six online mentoring sessions, during which employees, supervisors and representatives of the company’s board showed vulnerable people what a day’s work means, what are the activities within the workplaces, what employment involves within the company.
”As a child of a mechanic, I was impressed by my visit to the Alstom depot and found out that I would like a qualification course in this field. After admission, I want to work for a company like Alstom” – says DP, 19, an insertion employee at Ateliere Fără Frontiere.
Collaborating with the Alstom Foundation
Established in 2007, the Alstom Foundation supports and funds projects proposed by Alstom employees who team up with local NGO partners and not-for-profit organizations to carry out initiatives aimed at improving living conditions in communities located near the Group’s facilities and project sites around the world. The Foundation’s projects focus on four axes: Mobility, Environmental Protection, Energy & Water, and Socio-Economic Development.
“Alstom Foundation has successfully completed more than 180 projects to date worldwide. Such projects, like the one we supported in Romania, truly make a difference in the life of disadvantaged categories. Developed by Ateliere fara Frontiere, a long-standing Romanian Non-Profit association, the project REinsert fights exclusion, marginalization or discrimination, by fostering employability through a mentorship and job shadow program to reduce the risk of severe poverty which threatens 31% of the total Romanian population. Alstom Foundation as well as the colleagues at Alstom in the country supporting the project have been very proud to be a part of it” – says Anne-Cecile Barbier, Secretary General of the Alstom Foundation.
The impact of these actions reflects new opportunities and ways of working to increase the integration of vulnerable people into the labour market. Currently, the inactivity rate in Romania remains high, 31.6% (2019) of the total population and social insertion enterprises are one of the few real solutions to reduce it.
Green Report, a Romanian environmental magazine, rewarded their social activities earlier in January by granting them two prizes of excellence in circular economy and in Agri-food for their educlick platform and bio-co social farm.