During spring 2011, the World Heritage Citadel -Public institution launched a public service contract for cleaning, vegetation clearing, goods handling and minor everyday jobs. The aim of this initiative is to foster employment opportunities for people with social and professional difficulties, by application of article 14 of the public procurement Code. (Code des Marchés Publics).
The “Association Départementale du Doubs de Sauvegarde de l’Enfant à l’Adulte” (ADDSEA) (the Doubs Save the Children and Adults Association) responded positively to this offer by enhancing its educational rehabilitation initiatives. ADDSEA is a private legal association for social welfare, and helps young people of 18 to 25 years who are experiencing particular difficulties in rehabilitation or access to employment; namely long-term unemployed young people, young disabled workers who have been unemployed for longer than a year, young people who have been in trouble with the police, or have social work involvement.
These initiatives aim to help improve self-esteem and give access to training leading to qualifications. Every year, 42 young people sign a 6-month contract that can be renewed once, in view of rehabilitation through paid employment.. This may often be their first real work experience that they can later justify on their curriculum vitae.
Three days a week, a team of six youths, supervised by a specialized technical facilitator, works at the Citadel of Besançon where they gain experience in different maintenance trades namely: cleaning, painting, moving, and carrying out repairs, etc. There is a weekly programme of work which helps the young workers to restructure their lives -they learn to get up in the morning and arrive on time, they learn how to work as a team and how to be organized, to follow instructions and gain skills.
A social worker supports these young people with problems on other days of the week to help them start making plans for their future such as obtaining housing or passing their driving license, looking for a training course or a job, etc. Assessments are also conducted every two months to determine progress made and awareness of how much effort has been put in.
Each youngster writes a self-assessment report of the tasks performed during his stay and at the end of his contract is issued with a certificate of skills achieved.
This partnership between the ADDSEA and the Citadel is mutually beneficial. The Citadel benefits from a revitalization of its green spaces. The young workers from ADDSEA acquire their first professional experience in an important environment that has enhanced their self-esteem- a cultural World Heritage site. The work at the Citadel allows them to gain self confidence and develop their professional skills.