Accessing stable and rewarding employment has a significant impact on quality of life. Valloire Habitat took an innovative approach to help socially vulnerable people to enter the workforce. Through the project ‘1000 aiguilles, Plus que des points’, women in the Valloire Habitat neighbourhoods have the opportunity to follow a professional training course in luxury sewing. Let’s take a look at this initiative to promote women’s economic participation…
How does the initiative work?
Valloire Habitat believes in a holistic approach to professional integration. The ‘1000 aiguilles’ project not only provides practical training but also focuses on strengthening social ties. Therefore, it recognises the interdependence of many aspects of a person’s life throughout their career.
The project aims to help the tenants facing the most barriers to employment. In January 2023, three tenants began the professional training programme in luxury sewing. The six-month programme includes three months working with an association and three months in the workplace. Following the success of the first cohort, seven new tenants joined the training in September 2023.
This comprehensive project removes all the obstacles that could jeopardise the chances of long-term re-integration and enables people to invest in resuming a professional activity in a calm and sustainable manner.
A strong local collaboration
Valloire Habitat led the initiative in collaboration with the city hall of Montargis, Montargoise Agglomeration, France LUXURY SHIRT, the Mille Sourires Association and the Pôle Territorial de Coopération Économique (a group of organisations working cooperatively on economic projects). The participants learn the techniques to create ready-to-wear menswear for luxury brands.
By providing the premises and expertise in collaborative working methods, Valloire Habitat facilitated the workshops where participants learn practical sewing techniques. These workshops are held in a Valloire Habitat apartment at the heart of the neighbourhood, making it easy for the women to attend. In addition, Valloire Habitat obtained funding to offer participants the support they need to achieve their goals and develop the social skills needed for sustainable integration into the workforce.
On completing the training, participants are offered a one-year work contract in a professional workshop, with the potential for renewal to a permanent contract. In July 2023, three of them have signed a permanent contract.
Valloire Habitat’s role in promoting access to employment
Difficulties with employment can have repercussions on housing, but housing can also act as a defence against vulnerability. Housing can be a shock absorber and protector against job insecurity, as well as a lever for change.
The ‘1000 aiguilles’ project therefore reflects two pillars of Valloire Habitat’s mission:
- the life-course of customers and the attractiveness of our regions through access to employment for our tenant
- the maintenance of local jobs and the development of local businesses