The trade school, the first gateway to integration for migrants in the Lot

the essential
About forty migrants are currently in training at the Cahors trade school, a gateway to the world of employment which allows them to facilitate their integration.

With the migration crisis, in recent years, more and more migrants have joined the ranks of the trade school, around forty out of 593 learners. Of all ages and backgrounds, they come from Africa, Central Asia to Bangladesh. People with varied profiles, different academic levels but who remain motivated by the same desire: to learn a trade. Except that their first obstacle remains the French language.

A “springboard” class

A specific course of a CAP in 3 years (instead of two) has therefore been established by the establishment to support them as best as possible. “They already have an apprenticeship contract when they arrive here. We reposition them to know their basic level: the knowledge already acquired in math, French and general culture, what they know of the values ​​of the Republic. Then, we recommend a CAP of 3 or 2 years” explains Nathalie Lajardie, teacher of French, history-geography and moral and civic education (EMC). A first year that the trade school called “springboard” to acquire basic knowledge with several hours of FLE (French as a foreign language) lessons.

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today, 22 students, mostly unaccompanied minors (MNA), follow this course. “We want to ensure their entry into the CAP and give them the means to succeed. This is our second promotion, we will really see the results next year. If the first promotion passes its exams” hopes Hayet Soudani, the professor of FLE. At the same time, for those who do not take the “springboard” class, two to three hours of weekly FLE lessons have been offered to migrant learners for four years. “We try to make small groups by profession and by level. The idea is to individualize the courses to prepare them for the exams and they are in demand. And even those who continue their studies with additional mentions want to continue the courses of FLE” she adds.

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A skilled and sought-after workforce

Youssif Mansaray, 18, arrived in 2020 from Sierra Leone. After several internships in the bakery, he was won over and wanted to make it his job. “The baguette, the pastries, kneading, cutting, rolling the dough, I like it, I like what I do, I’m very motivated” smiles the young apprentice. Youssif is one of the first students in the “springboard” class, English-speaking, he started from nothing to learn French. “He was rigorous with this thirst for learning and moving forward” emphasizes Nathalie Lajardie. Today, he works at the Fournil de la Croix de Fer in Cahors and hopes to have a permanent contract at the end of his apprenticeship. Beyond knowledge, thanks to the school of trades, he also learned punctuality, keeping a rhythm and being responsible.

Emran in front of his mounted piece he made on Wednesday
DR – Emran Hussain

In a context of labor shortages in certain sectors, companies are all the more welcoming to these qualified and motivated young people. Even if their administrative journey with the prefecture remains tedious. Even today, Emran Hussain, 19, has difficulty obtaining certain papers. But the young pastry chef, who got his CAP hands down, doesn’t give up. Today, he is perfecting himself as an ice cream maker/chocolatier with an additional mention at trade school. “I like studying, I like to learn new things and improve myself. I am passionate about pastry and I want to go even further. I still think of continuing with a technical trades certificate (BTM) in two years in pastry or bakery” says the Bangladeshi who arrived in France in 2019.

“We tell them about Souleymane Sow, best apprentice butcher in France. We try to respond as well as possible to these new learner profiles. We adapt, we adapt our methods and we develop our practices. It also allows us to questioning is positive for everyone” conclude the teachers.

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The trade school, the first gateway to integration for migrants in the Lot