New building and new training for the Compagnons of Anglet

Jean-René Dithurbide ©Agglo/V.Biard

In addition to its training centre located at the Arkinova science park, the Fédération Compagnonnique now has a new site at Anglet. Its original premises have been rebuilt and now offer new services. 
Interview with Jean-René Dithurbide, Director of the Fédération Compagnonnique of Anglet.

What is the main piece of news this September 2020?

The reopening of our original centre in Montbrun. We are not only thinking of our training offer but of our overall offer with the project we are launching this September. Our Montbrun centre has been deconstructed then rebuilt around four centres of activity: training in events management and business seminars, accommodation with ‘Housing for Young Workers’ accreditation, a catering area with Mickaël Degueurce of the Avant-scène restaurant in Anglet in charge of it, and a cultural area including the ‘Expression Square’ to promote the expertise of the Compagnons, and we will bring together the arts and sciences of the park.
We are going to exhibit the replica of the framework of Notre-Dame which has been made on a scale of 1/20th and this exhibition will shortly be opened by Alain Rousset, President of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region. We are bringing together all the institutional players who have supported us in this enterprise: the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (Deposits and Consignments Fund), the Regional Council of Nouvelle Aquitaine, the Community of the Pays Basque urban area, the Departmental Council, the town of Anglet and the CAF with social and educational activities to support young people.

How are the apprenticeships going?

We can observe a renewed surge in activity related in particular to the progress of apprenticeships. We have gone from having 580 to 780 trainees with 550 in Anglet and 230 in Lons. We welcome jobseekers, company employees and apprentices from very small businesses and SMEs and who contribute to the development of the local economic sector. These young people generally stay here for two years. In addition, we have just obtained national QUALIOPI certification which enables us to take a bid position on new calls for tenders and training activities. It is also another way of ensuring we are recognised by the institutions. 

What training do you offer?

We currently offer twenty diplomas in the building professions: bricklayer, tiler, carpenter, roofer, staircase maker, joiner, painter, plasterboard craftsman and also in the area of consultancy with training for BIM manager and multidisciplinary training for site manager, assistant site manager, and building research technician. This offer is adapted to the particular skill and expertise requirements of very small businesses and SMEs. 

What has been affected by the recent reform of apprenticeships?

This reform is a lever with two distinct elements. Incentive measures help businesses to set up apprentice contracts. The reform also enables the whole of the training organisation to become a CFA (Apprentice Training Centre) and to accept young people from the age of 16 and even younger upon derogation, and above all to open up apprenticeships up to age of 29. Apprenticeships are expanding from training to CAP level (similar to NVQ) up to degree level. 

How do you persuade young people to choose an apprenticeship with the Compagnons du Tour de France?

First we invite them to come and meet us. Then we advise them to forget any preconceptions they may have about the Compagnons, especially the idea that it’s a vocation and that you are obliged to travel. Of course, we keep the Compagnon tradition going but it’s first and foremost about training. Then, you can indeed travel and discover other regions of France as well as Europe and further afield. 
The training we offer gives a second chance to young people who may be alienated from the world of employment or the education system, in particular via a pre-apprenticeship arrangement which is like a preparation for apprenticeship. It enables them to reposition themselves and test themselves so they can then move towards preparing and obtaining a diploma.


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