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A great start – in later life



After many different jobs and time raising children, Brigitte decided she wanted to train as a healthcare assistant, despite being almost into her sixties. Her dream was realised thanks to a programme backed by the European Social Fund which aims to get people of all ages back into work.

The PLIE (Le Plan Lillois pour l’Insertion et l’Emploi) project operates in Lille, France as a strategic partnership to tackle long-term unemployment by bringing together institutional, social and economic partners.

Mentoring support

The project identifies groups vulnerable to social exclusion and uses work placements, training and the services of employment agencies to guide people into secure employment. Project personnel mentor participants until they find full-time work.

Brigitte was a student nurse at 18 but dropped out and did a range of other jobs before eventually becoming a carer. She decided to move her career forward by training to be a qualified healthcare assistant, but soon after enrolling on a 12-month course she began to struggle financially.

As a job seeker she was reimbursed when she started her training, but when she turned 60 the reimbursements stopped. However, the project team was able to step in and help her obtain earned income support so she could carry on training with peace of mind.

“It turned out I had rights to certain things,” says Brigitte. “This meant I could finish my course.”

“It turned out I had rights to certain things. This meant I could finish my course.”

Proud family

Brigitte is living proof that you are never too old to learn new skills, and she has made her family very proud. “My granddaughter helped me. She was studying for her school-leaving certificate while I was working towards my healthcare assistant diploma,” adds Brigitte. “My husband was really proud – he was out there shouting ‘Hey, my wife’s gone back to school!’”

Thanks to her studies and natural determination, Brigitte landed a job in a care home. “When Les Orchidées called me, there was no hesitation, I came immediately,” she says. “The residents have got used to me, now I’m part of the furniture.”

For more information

The PLIE project (Fr)

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About the project

The PLIE tackles long-term unemployment by bringing together institutional, social and economic partners. Read More