IMPORTANT LEGAL NOTICE: The information on this site is subject to a disclaimer and a copyright notice.

[ Contents ]

Creating jobs in rural areas


"Three new sources for jobs"

Joseph Serin
[LEADER Ouest-Aveyron, Midi-Pyrénées, France]


When the time came to organise tours of
projects in our area for a LEADER seminar (*)
that we were going to be hosting, we asked
ourselves the question: "what projects in
Aveyron are a good reflection of the
changing job scene in the countryside?"


After consulting our partners in Aveyron's three local action groups, we discovered that the projects best illustrating this change were concerned with three types of employment: jobs where employers share the working time and costs of a worker; multi- skilled jobs in the outdoor recreation sector; and, jobs providing new services for small businesses.

Time and cost-sharing jobs go hand-in-hand with employer groups - these are organisations comprising anything from a few to several dozen employers. Together, these employers hire workers, generally full time, who divide their skills and working time between the group's members. Today, there are some thirty employer groups like this in Aveyron. Agriculture is currently the only sector that uses this method to organise labour because of agriculture's tradition and culture of cooperation, but sectors like crafts and SMEs are also considering this approach.

We also identified other experiments with the same objectives including, with the help of LEADER, a group of farmers who set up an office to manage seasonal labour. Thus in 1998, 11 tobacco growers hired some fifteen people to harvest and sort their crop. These workers are recruited by employment and rehabilitation organisations which put them in touch with the office. While trying to find other seasonal jobs in agriculture and non-industrial sectors to provide more steady work, the office rids the employers of administrative tasks.

Outdoor recreational activities (water sports, cave exploration, mountain climbing, hang-gliding, etc.) which take advantage of exceptional landscapes and sites and require highly qualified staff can be a source of new businesses and a variety of jobs. The leisure company, "Horizon", for example, received LEADER assistance to diversify its activities and not be so dependent on the seasons. It is now repairing paragliders to supplement its income.

To help with the development of these activities and promote more diversified employment, the "Centre de ressources pédagogiques pour les métiers du tourisme en espace rural" ("Educational Resource Centre for Tourism Jobs in Rural Areas") set up by the Chamber of Commerce offers training and counselling to entrepreneurs and explores the possibility of organising other local activities related to sport, heritage, etc.

Job opportunities are also to be found in the new services sought by businesses. The "Motifs" company has a sales representative who is working with a person who reproduces old tapestries (see photo) to develop the sale of these products in specific places such as specialised shops and popular tourist sites. The "Elisphõre" company is developing software applications and electronic identification products in order to trace meat from the abattoir to the consumer. Both cases demonstrate the importance of new services which often use the new information technologies that can be created in rural areas.

All of these projects, be they concerned with new problems, rapidly expanding activities that develop space, new services, a particular form of know-how or new societal expectations, underline how rural areas have been able to adapt and react to market expectations and a changing society. They show that the desire to innovate and embark on business ventures is stronger than the "culture of handicaps".


(*) "A changing rural job scene",
9-13 December 1998.

source: LEADER Magazine n°20 - Spring, 1999

European Flag