Passeport Avenir, the equal opportunities partnership between institutions of higher education and companies .
A degree from a major business or engineering school or from any other academic institution is a decisive factor to find a job under optimal conditions in France.
The same finding keeps coming up, however. Young people from under-privileged areas are under-represented in those courses even if they have the potential, owing to persistent discrimination and to social, geographical and cultural determinism.
Passeport Avenir is a non-profit organization established in 2005 as the result of a firm conviction: companies have a role to play in changing the situation. Making access to careers easier, showing that the stakes transcend formal education, inspiring vocations, supporting and demonstrating trust are all aspects where a company’s involvement can round out –not replace- the work done by families and education professionals.
Passeport Avenir objectives
Support young people from under-privileged neighborhoods until they graduate from an institution or higher education.
Guide young people through individual mentoring actions, group workshops and logistical support throughout their education.
Establish a pool of talented graduates where cultural diversity is the norm and which showcases examples of educational and career success.
Passeport Avenir's 5 levers for action:
1. Individual mentoring
The association runs a network of volunteer-mentors within the partner companies. They support the students who request it throughout their preparatory classes and their three years at Elite Universities. The mentor’s role, takes on different forms depending on the expectations and needs expressed by the students and their different personalities. Mentors work hand in hand with the teachers (referring teachers in each partner preparatory class and university)
2. Discovering the world of business
Passeport Avenir increases the opportunities for students to discover the wealth of specialties that will be available to them. Presentation of specialties and company visits are just some of the opportunities available for students to meet business people and to broaden their knowledge of the business world.
3. Opening up to international opportunities:
The association offers the young people that it supports English conversation over the telephone in order to make them more comfortable and gain confidence. This initiative gives the students a unique opportunity to practice English individually, to improve their spoken language and to understand and develop their business network overseas.
Since 2009, in partnership with the Foundation, Alcatel-Lucent organize "We Made It!” competition which sponsors twenty or so young people to spend a week in the United States.
4. Financing of studies:
To varying degrees, financial problems are often a real obstacle to pursuing studies for students from low-income surroundings. This is why Passeport Avenir works to devise innovative solutions in partnership with major companies which share its objectives and its values.
5. Getting a job:
Passeport Avenir uses the partner companies’ expertise in terms of human resources in order to support young people when looking for courses and apprenticeships, but also in their search for jobs. Since 2009, the association has offered workshops to Elite university students in the mentoring programs, on interview techniques and how to find jobs.
“to dispel the last and most fearsome of inequalities those stemming from birth, that is the problem facing us this century and we must apply ourselves to it”