Toulouse is one of France’s most dynamic cities, rated fourth in terms of attractiveness, with a strong workforce and solid axes of competitiveness. However, the city has a high level of unemployment (14.5% versus 11% in France in 2013) and a particularly high youth poverty rate (26.2%). North of Paris, Villeneuve-la-Garenne faces the same challenges as Toulouse with a high number of school dropouts and an unemployment rate higher than the national average (18.5% in 2012).
The goal of this program is to ensure students complete their education and develop a greater understanding of how their studies have real work applicability through mentoring, tutoring, workshops and aerospace career awareness activities.
Thus, in 2010, United Way France and the Airbus Foundation created the Flying Challenge program. The Flying Challenge program pairs employees with struggling middle-school and high school students to keep them engaged in school. This successful program has now been expanded to the United States, Spain and Paris region.
In the past four years, 500 students and 200 Airbus employees have participated in the program.
In Toulouse, none of the participating students have had to repeat the year (compared to an average 2.5% rate in Toulouse). Today, United Way programs exist in 60% of the middle-schools located in underprovided areas of Toulouse.
“I discover new things in my meetings with Philippe, and it makes me feel more confident about my personal and professional future” Nisrine B., 8th grade student at Bellefontaine, Toulouse
“The program makes me want to continue my studies. I have more self-confidence: If I work hard, I will succeed !” Sinem, 10th grade student