Sunday, May 22

“Le Chantier”: the radio that opens the way to employment

“Hello, welcome to the radio + Le Chantier +”: Benjamin Bony, employee in insertion and ephemeral journalist, welcomes the listeners of Clermont-Ferrand to the microphone of this media like no other which uses journalism to facilitate job search.

“By offering our employees to speak in public, to do journalistic work, we give the possibility of regaining confidence in them, with this essential human function, the voice”, explains Benoît Bouscarel, ex-journalist to France Culture at the origin of this associative project, according to him, unique in its kind.

8:45 a.m.: after coffee, it’s time for the daily editorial conference in modern and friendly premises, on the ground floor of a building in the city center.

The journalists, five employees in integration, determine the program of the day, with Angélique Mangon, supervisor and professional journalist.

Today, two volunteers are needed for a report in an urban farm: “It involves preparing the questions this morning and going to the field in the afternoon. It’s a bit fast but it’s possible” , she said to reassure her audience.

Benjamin Bony, 34, and Firoz Ahmed, another 43-year-old employee, accept the mission.

Here they are on the heights of Clermont-Ferrand, surveying a vast vegetable garden at rest in this winter period, with a breathtaking view of the city.

Microphone in hand, final adjustments: “be indulgent, journalism is not our core business!” warns Benjamin Bony, facing the farm manager.

Since his return from China where he spent ten years, this interpreter and French teacher has struggled to find a job because his experience is not recognized in France.

“The radio brings me a lot: learning to speak in public, doing an interview, writing a report,” he explains.

Firoz Ahmed regularized his situation after leaving Bangladesh in 2016: with his Bac+5 equivalent diploma and his impeccable English, he is aiming for a job as a receptionist but he is systematically criticized for his poor level of French.

Since his arrival at the Chantier in November, this father of a family has made serious progress, hailed by the whole team: “Before, I was shy, some laughed at the way I spoke, today I manage… French, it’s my priority”, assures the apprentice reporter, very involved.

The radio has been broadcasting since January 2021, alternating musical programming and podcasts relayed on its website.

– “Reach out to others” –

Two-thirds of the fifty or so employees who have worked for Le Chantier have found their way back to long-term employment, through a contract or a diploma, according to Benoît Bouscarel, who chairs the structure.

Teddy Patin, 32, has just won a six-month contract as a payroll manager in a high school, after several months of radio experience.

“The radio gave me confidence, allowed me to communicate better with others, to approach them because I was very shy. ‘oral, it makes a big difference at the employer level,’ explains the brand new temporary worker, passing through the premises where ties with the elders are cultivated.

“It is extremely interesting to see how far we are able, with these actions, to remove the brakes on employment”, underlines Benoît Bouscarel. With Charlotte Waelti, another radio professional, in 2015 he founded “l’Onde Carrier”, an integration association at the origin of the Chantier.

The radio report also makes it possible to meet economic and cultural actors to carry out subjects around the environment, solidarity, social and culture.

The contracts last on average thirteen months and can last up to two years. The idea is not to train journalists but to strengthen a professional project in the hotel industry, market gardening, construction, culture, etc.

The State covers salaries at minimum wage level. The rest is financed by the department, sponsorship, and employee productions: podcasts, animations, services with local partners.

And the small association sees big: at the end of 2021, the Carrier Wave was distinguished by the foundation “La France s’engage” chaired by François Hollande. At stake, an endowment of 250,000 euros over three years and support to create ten other “inclusive” editorial staff. The first is being installed in Reunion.

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