ER2C – regional schools for a second chance

It is estimated that about 5 000 young people leave the school system each year without a diploma in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.

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Projects such as this are helping the EU to become a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy by 2020, as set out in the EU 2020 growth strategy. The EU is facing some tough challenges, including an ageing population, an insufficiently qualified workforce, the need for greater innovation, striking a balance between economic growth and environmental degradation, and ensuring secure, clean energy supplies. Regional policy projects across the EU are playing an active role in dealing with these and many other challenges, by undertaking projects designed to generate employment, raise educational achievement, develop renewable energy sources, boost productivity and give all citizens access to opportunities. The projects and the regions play a pivotal role in this, as they generate real results that contribute to achieving the strategy’s key goals.

Regional schools for a second chance (ER2C) is a project of vocational training, employment and social inclusion intended to increase the social and professional inclusion of young people in the Languedoc-Roussillon region. Still today, too many young people continue to drop out of school without a diploma. It accounts for 6% of the students leaving high school or giving up their first year of a vocational training programme (‘CAP’ or ‘BEP’) in this southern region of France. Of these, it is estimated that 33% are coping with problems of illiteracy.

A means to employability

The aim of the nine ER2C schools is to promote innovative ways to bring young people back into the economic and social systems, and not to let them remain excluded from society. This is encouraged by instilling a sense of social and professional inclusion and integration in the young people, previously written off as unskilled school dropouts. They are provided with a ‘means to employability’, and are helped, through a professional project, to regain access to sustainable employment.

The schools have developed innovative teaching methods, tailor-made according to the profiles of the individual students, which are also based on an individualised learning approach and on multidisciplinary teaching programmes.

Making a fresh start

The ER2C project takes in 18 to 25 year olds who have been out of the national school system for at least six months and are registered with an employment centre. These young people, who are generally without a professional diploma and are unskilled, often also have real social problems.

The objectives of the 9 regional schools for a second chance are to:

  • develop or update basic knowledge and skills to enable students to be able to join a company;
  • develop their social and behavioural skills so that they can become fully functioning citizens;
  • provide them with customised coaching to help increase their self motivation; and
  • help develop professional goals, in part through apprenticeships.

Difficulties or past mistakes are not an obstacle. The only selection criteria to being accepted onto the programme, is motivation. Applications are proposed and encouraged through the local employment centre and other regional institutional structures, after which each individual potential student will be interviewed by one of the 9 ER2C schools.

These courses are providing a real second chance – with 64% of students making a fresh start in 2010, going into employment (subsidised contracts, apprenticeship contracts, training contracts), to a training qualification or diploma, or a return to training.

Draft date