Jeunes d’Avenir Fairs or how to give meaning to your work
Meeting with Danielle Deruy, Managing Director of AEF Info Group
Each year, Jeunes d’Avenirs Fairs welcome more than 15,000 young people in Ile-de-France region, 7,000 in Hauts-de-France and 4,000 in Marseille-Provence. These young people, with no diploma at baccalaureate + 5, meet companies, associations and volunteers to help them in their path to employment. Danielle Deruy, General Manager of the AEF Info Group, at the initiative of these exhibitions, talks about the importance for companies and their employees to engage with these young people, particularly through the sponsorship of skills.
In 2013, AEF info Group created the Jeunes d’Avenir Fairs. What was the motivation?
Quite simply because our group is interested in major social and societal issues and is particularly concerned about the training and employment of young people in precarious situations: this million young people who are called “neets” (not in education, nor in training, nor in employment).
But it is also with the support of our 20,000 professional subscribers, public and private decision-makers, that we came up with the idea, in 2012, of proposing an event gathering advice, training and job offers for these young people who have no networks and generally do not know company “codes”. This idea came to fruition the following year, with the support of the ministries concerned, Pôle Emploi (French employment agency), Local Missions, professional branches, companies, training organizations and associations. Its success rests on the one hand on the partners who commit themselves and propose thousands of job offers or training, and, on the other hand, on volunteers, HR directors and collaborators who accompany these young people. Large French groups such as Essilor, Compass, Microsoft, Engie and Air France are now offering their employees to join this initiative.
More than 500 employees of various companies give their time on each of your fairs to guide young people in their career or simply give them advice. What feedback have you had from them?
First, a feeling of pride and valorization, then of utility. They are unanimous in declaring that it is a very strong moment for them, that they have never felt so useful in their lives in such a short time. Young people who come to Jeunes d’Avenirs want to integrate into society through work, but they often have little or no contact with the professional world, which, of course, worries them. Jeunes d’Avenirs demystifies the world of work, creates the link, allows personalized, rich and benevolent exchanges that often provoke beautiful encounters. How often have volunteers proudly reported to us that young people have told them: “Thank you. You gave me the click! “.
Could we go further in the exchanges between these volunteers and the young people?
Yes, and this is what we have gradually put in place: continue to help them in a sustainable way. Some volunteers follow one or more young people after meeting at the fair. This year we have launched, with the support of the Regional Council of Ile-de-France region, our “job board”. This platform proposes job offers to young people, even those who do not have a degree, and also creates conditions throughout the year for meetings between young people and volunteers. They animate a live chat and can sponsor a young person with whom they came in contact.
More broadly, should companies invest more heavily in this type of public interest initiative and, if so, how?
Of course it should be and I think they are many to aspire but often do not know how to proceed. Many employees would also like to engage in solidarity actions but how? The success of Jeunes d’Avenir skills sponsorship program is partly due to the fact that we offer a very free framework that adapts to all profiles and is very effective, with results. Only the motivation of the volunteer is important. Companies can offer all their employees the opportunity to invest in a simple and structured way in a transaction that makes sense and values them.
 AEF Info specializes in major socio-economic fields, including those related to education, education, training, social, employment and CSR and employs around 80 permanent journalists