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“A volunteer work site that gave me a career plan”

In Châteauneuf-sur-Epte in Normandy, France, the Historical Heritage association, in partnership with Rempart, has been welcoming young people for seven-day volunteer work sessions over the last five years. The objective is twofold - to work together to restore a medieval ducal fortress and enable the students to hone their professional competencies and aptitudes. The initiative is destined for young people who want to try their hand at traditional craftsmanship trades, confirm their professional career choices and also build their self-confidence while rebuilding the ancient castle. 

“A volunteer work site that gave me a career plan”

“A volunteer work site that gave me a career plan”

Motte Castle,
Châteauneuf-sur-Epte (Normandy)

Fiona Mansais:
My name is Fiona, I spent a week on a volunteer work site at Chateauneuf-sur-Epte.

I am passionate about heritage and architecture and that’s why I did my studies in this field as well as in security.

Franck Bucher:
This location has a history rooted in the creation of Normandy's duchy. In 1097 Guillaume le Roux had this massive fortification built and today our association is there with several young people who accompany us on the construction site, the partners, the patrons, to bring back to life and entirely restore the site.

Melissa Michel:
We created this volunteer worksite training five years ago. This training happens every year during the month of August and we gather a group of young people and work on their professional skills and the needed abilities, everything that will be peripheral to an actual job.

It can be discovering a job, it can also be a professional project confirmation. Also to get a good life rhythm back, to get some self-confidence back, to feel useful and get out of your daily routine.

Fiona Mansais:
We cleaned the tower and sifted the ground to see if we could find some interesting elements. 

I am attracted to craftsmanship and artistic craftsmanship. For me, it was a good opportunity to test myself on manual work as well. I like outdoor sports so having to live in the open and sleep in tents also appealed to me. 

We did traditional masonry where we first learned how to build a wall and make mortar. What I enjoyed about traditional masonry is to work on a listed heritage building. 

Doing a manual activity and a form of craftsmanship but on a building that requires the use of specific techniques. 

I consider getting involved with an association, maybe the one that welcomed us during this volunteer work site project.