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Supporting Early School Leavers

The mission of the association Alliance pour l’éducation - United Way, a member of the United Way International network, is to fight against school dropout and promote equal opportunities in helping young people make informed choices for their future careers. Its main targets are young people in priority areas and rural environments.

With a view to promoting preferred rather than imposed career choices, the association mobilizes and pools the resources of complementary local players (businesses, schools, associations), and centers their actions on a shared program, so that by acting together, they can have a greater impact.

As the very first corporate group mobilized for career choice, the association has initiated the Défi Jeunesse program, a unique solution in France supported by 17 companies and involving 31 junior high schools in priority education networks (REP/REP+), five high schools in urban policy neighborhoods (QPV) and 40 field associations specialized in education.

A real action community spearheaded by Alliance pour l’éducation - United Way, Défi Jeunesse brings together companies, associations, and schools as part of a common program to help prepare sixth-grade to ninth-grade students to make their first choices for their future. In practice, the Défi Jeunesse program proposes collective support during school hours to develop young people’s competencies in two areas: better knowledge of the world of work and better knowledge of oneself and others.

In addition to the financial backing provided by TotalEnergies Foundation, Patrick Pouyanné (President and CEO of the Company) has also become the President of the association in order to unite French businesses around this project.

A few key figures representing the outreach of Alliance pour l’éducation - United Way and the Défi Jeunesse program in France for the school year 2021-2022:

  • 13,600 young beneficiaries 
  • 730 employees involved
  • 40 partner associations
  • 40 companies mobilized
TotalEnergies Foundation lends its support to l'Alliance pour l'éducation - United Way to give young people who have dropped out of school the keys to a successful future (in French)

Aristide Adeikalam:
Today, we are lauching the Défi Jeunesse program, which we have set up together with the nonprofit United Way L’Alliance.

Laurence Piccinin:
Today is the grand première. We are very happy, because companies and nonprofits are going to be meeting with 92 sixth grade students, and those kinds of people do not usually get to work together. So we create a bridge between those two worlds. And the assets of Défi Jeunesse are both the serenity, the interpersonal skills and the complementary of contents that these independent operators are going to bring to the students.

Jean Guillaume de Tocqueville:
To say: what’s the point of succeeding alone? None. If I succeeded, that means others can succeed too. That means others deserve to succeed. So that’s the commitment of United Way L’Alliance.

Laurence Piccinin:
It is one of the few programs that lasts all through secondary school. After that, in high school, and until these young people enter the labour market. This really is a lengthy cycle. In sixth grade, the work essentially revolves around educational choices and discovering the working field.

Aristide Adeikalam:
In seventh and eighth grade, there will be great sponsors, senior executives from La Défense, and so ninth grade, there are quality internship offers for our students.

A teacher:
Défi Jeunesse, « i » for?

A student:

A teacher:
Ideas. Yes, I like that. A student:

A teacher:
Ideal, yes.

A student:

A teacher:

A student:
I like it, it’s quite fun actually. We’re trying to broaden the subject although we haven’t talked about it before.

A student:
To help us afterwards.

Isabelle Andrieu:
It’s quite obvious, I mean, once we get them into it, you give them positive thinking, they give you positive in return. And that lasts four years, so it’s real delight.

Dorothée Van Der Cruyssen:
Yes, I noticed that companies were really enthusiastic about participating and getting involved differently with young people, and territories, in a very innovative way. Here you can find another one, either that rhymes with youth, or else, something funny.

A student:
The Défi Jeunesse is about old people teaching young people.

A student:
Défi Jeunesse is a guarantee for the future. Défi Jeunesse is the commitment to succeed, and learn and succeed, that’s the Défi Jeunesse. I’ve got tons of good ideas, you know.

A student:
It helps us work towards better thinking.

A student:
Défi Jeunesse, the future is ahead of you.

A student:
Défi Jeunesse, when you get help there’s no stress. Défi Jeunesse, you get help in case of distress.

Antoine Philippart:
It’s always interesting to see how the children react, particularly in sixth grade.

Aristide Adeikalam:
We were lucky to be able to join forces with United Way L’Alliance, it’s a real blessing for us. Getting started with education and educational choices early on is very important.

Christine Valero:
The pupil, from sixth grade to twelfth grade, must discover the economical and professional world, find their way, make commitments, acquire entrepreneurship skills.

Aristide Adeikalam:
It was great, we had an excellent afternoon.

Catherine Luquet:
Delighted, and anyway it’s a pleasure to see all these young people about to get involved in the program, and a pleasure to see how energetic they are.

Laurence Piccinin:
This is full of promises for what comes next.

Défi Jeunesse, that’s
13,600 young people taken care of in 2021-2022
31 colleges et 5 high schools
40 nonprofits
40 companies
10 territories