In order to fully integrate the multiple problems of 18-30 year olds into the economic debate, the Circle of Economists has invited a hundred young people to participate in 3 working groups around these themes, to enable them to formulate 16 concrete recommendations for the general public but also for the 400 speakers of the Conference programme, Journalists, economists…

Discover the proposals on the three themes: Equal opportunities, “One Health”, Citizen action.

Equal opportunities

1. Dedicate one afternoon a week to manual and associative activities in middle and high school

FINDING | The socio-economic reality in France highlights persistent inequality: it usually takes six generations for a child from a disadvantaged background to reach a higher socio-economic level. This observation underlines the importance of the family environment in determining individual trajectories. In addition, barriers such as limited access to information, the stigmatization of vocational courses and the overvaluation of long-term studies hinder the social mobility of young people in difficulty and create a glass ceiling for many young people.

FULL PROPOSAL | By promoting craft trades and vocational courses and by encouraging cultural and manual practices in the school environment, we could encourage vocations among young people, who are not sufficiently informed about these courses, often because of their family environment. This would require a reduction in theoretical/technical classes to make this afternoon a routine activity. This approach helps to diversify educational pathways and reduce social disparities. This solution is mainly aimed at young people in vocational courses and those on the margins of society. To make it a reality, a partnership with the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with associations, companies and the French Chamber of Trades and Crafts, is necessary.

CIRCLE NOTE | The introduction of a weekly afternoon devoted to manual and associative activities in French middle and high schools would reach about 5.5 million students, thus promoting the development of their practical and artistic skills. This initiative could enhance the value of craft trades and professional sectors, helping to rebalance the supply and demand of labour in these sectors. According to the Permanent Assembly of the Chambers of Trades and Crafts (APCMA), 150,000 jobs are to be filled each year in the craft sector. This measure could also encourage the development of transversal skills sought after on the market and specific to these sectors, and deemed essential by employers to adapt to changes in the labour market, according to France Travail.

2. Establish a specific educational path in secondary schools in disadvantaged areas, with cultural outings and school trips abroad in order to make up for the cultural deficit that penalises some pupils

FINDING | According to INSEE, only 33% of the children of blue-collar workers pursue higher education, while this figure rises to 60% for the children of executives. This disparity is even more pronounced in certain territories, such as Seine-Saint-Denis, where access to higher education is particularly difficult. Indeed, there are no less than 75 Priority Neighbourhoods of the Urban Policy (QPPV) spread over 35 municipalities. Many solutions have already been considered, such as providing additional subsidies to the schools concerned or increasing the number of teachers per class. However, despite these initiatives, problems still persist, including a cultural deficiency that hinders access to education.

FULL PROPOSAL | This programme would include regular outings and the possibility of organising school trips abroad as well as exchange programmes. Before extending this initiative to other regions, a test phase is recommended in Seine-Saint-Denis and rural areas. The idea of this course is to systematize cultural outings for students, which would enrich their general culture in a fun way and allow them to open up other horizons not accessible in their families. For example, partnerships with local businesses or cultural associations could be envisaged to organize such workshops. In addition to these cultural outings, we are considering the possibility of setting up school trips abroad to these schools. To make this initiative a reality, we could apply for European funds, participate in regional calls for projects, call on the Ministry of Education and collaborate with local associations and companies.

CIRCLE NOTE | In France, the Priority Education Networks (REP) bring together about 1.5 million students in disadvantaged areas, sensitive urban areas or rural areas. To compensate for the cultural and socio-economic deficit hindering access to education, it is essential to establish a specific educational pathway in REP colleges, including regular outings and school trips abroad. This initiative is in line with the School-Company Plan and the “100% success rate in CP” reform deployed in REP since 2017. This programme could contribute to enhancing the value of disadvantaged areas by demonstrating the potential for success of pupils, regardless of their socio-economic origin, the latter representing a significant proportion of young French people, by promoting the social mobility of pupils from the most disadvantaged classes, thus contributing to the reduction of inequalities, and to the renewal of confidence in the education system as a way to social advancement.

3. Create an online platform for use by schools that would centralize the resources and devices proposed by local actors in order to enrich their educational projects

FINDING | Schools face a significant lack of visibility into the resources available at the local level, with only 20% of schools having direct and regularly updated access to community initiatives and support programmes. In addition, there is a systematic communication deficit between schools and private and associative actors: about 35% of schools report difficulties in establishing a constructive and continuous dialogue with these local partners. This lack of coordination hinders the ability of schools to integrate external resources into their educational projects, which could significantly enrich student learning and development.

FULL PROPOSAL | To overcome this problem, it is recommended to develop an online resource platform for schools, where local actors, both private and associative, could deposit information on their schemes and programmes by always updating the data. Schools could then easily access these resources when developing their educational and extracurricular projects. The platform would also promote dialogue and collaboration between schools and local stakeholders, thus contributing to a better integration of community initiatives into school curricula and to the enhancement of local opportunities.

CIRCLE NOTE | In France, where more than 60,000 schools are spread throughout the country, the development of a centralized online platform would facilitate access to the resources and devices offered by local actors, thus promoting collaboration and the enrichment of educational projects. According to a survey conducted by Ifop in 2019, 78% of teachers believe that collaboration with local actors is important to improve the quality of teaching. Economically, this platform would encourage the development of public-private partnerships and local investment in education, while helping businesses to better understand the needs of schools. A World Bank study reveals that a 10% increase in public-private partnerships in education can lead to a 0.6% increase in GDP per capita, a significant increase in these times of low growth, by moving towards greater synergy between employers and the education system to better integrate young people into employment. According to the Ministry of National Education, in 2019, 20% of students in priority education did not have access to the same educational resources as other students. This initiative can be in line with the “Rural Educational Territories” plan launched in 2020, which aims to strengthen cooperation between local actors and schools in rural areas.

4. Develop a mentoring program between young people and employees to support them in their professional orientation, including in-depth exchange sessions

FINDING | Despite efforts to mitigate them, social mobility problems persist in France, particularly affecting young people. In addition to the economic and territorial inequalities that persist despite the efforts made, other factors reinforce this situation. The education system in particular, although aiming at equal opportunities, sometimes struggles to provide equitable resources to all students, thus contributing to the perpetuation of socio-economic inequalities. Young people also face discrimination based on their social origin, ethnicity or gender, which further hinders their opportunities for social mobility. In this context, access to information on career guidance is crucial, as it allows young people to make informed decisions about their professional future despite these obstacles.

FULL PROPOSAL | We recommend the creation of a mentoring program that integrates both youth and adults into schools. This programme would focus on supporting the career guidance of young people. At the same time, we propose the regular organisation of exchange sessions between professionals from companies or associations and young people, in order to enlighten them in their choice of orientation. This mentoring approach would allow young people to directly access concrete advice and a better understanding of the opportunities available to them, while promoting beneficial interactions between different generations and professions. By initiating this system in middle school, young people could benefit from continuous support throughout their school career, thus promoting better preparation for their future career.

CIRCLE NOTE | With approximately 2.8 million students enrolled in high schools, this program would allow young people to explore various sectors and trades, broadening their career prospects. The exchange sessions between employees and young people would contribute to the development of key skills such as communication and problem solving. By motivating students to invest in their professional future, an employment dynamic would be established, against the current economic situation unfavorable to youth employment. It would also reduce youth unemployment, who are the most affected, by promoting their professional integration through advice and appropriate support. This approach is in line with the “1 young person, 1 solution” plan launched in 2020, which aims to offer concrete solutions to young people in terms of employment, training and career guidance, and is not only part of an employment objective for young people, but would make it possible to better maintain the entire social protection system, which is highly dependent on the number of active people in employment.

5. Propose a national “Learning to Learn” programme to equip young people with interpersonal and methodological skills, thus promoting their equal access to social and professional integration

FINDING | It is essential that all young people have the same tools to ensure equal access to social and professional integration. Currently, significant disparities remain: about 30% of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds feel that they do not have the same opportunities for skills development as their peers from more advantaged backgrounds. In addition, 40% of employers identify a lack of interpersonal skills among young people entering the labour market, and 25% report shortcomings in terms of effective work methodology. These figures highlight an urgent need to level the playing field for all young people, regardless of their socio-economic background.

FULL PROPOSAL | To meet these challenges, we propose to implement a national “Learning to Learn” programme, designed to support young people in the development of interpersonal skills and work methodologies, while giving young people the desire to acquire these skills upstream. This programme would include workshops, mentorships and online training modules, tailored to the specific needs of various groups of young people. It would also involve working with schools, universities and employers to ensure a smooth transition from the education system to the labour market, while promoting a holistic approach to education that values both technical and social skills.

CIRCLE NOTE | In France, where education plays a key role in educating citizens and providing access to employment, the proposal for a national “Learning to Learn” programme would respond to the growing need to equip young people with essential interpersonal and methodological skills. According to PISA 2018 results, 18% of students have a low level of reading comprehension and reading, revealing a deficit in the development of these skills. This program would have positive impacts on both the economic and social levels. Economically, by strengthening fundamental skills in young people such as communication, listening, conflict management and team spirit. It would help to develop a more skilled and adaptable workforce that is ready to meet the challenges of the modern economy. According to a study by France Stratégie, a 10% increase in young people’s cognitive and socio-emotional skills could increase GDP by 1.1% in the long term. Socially, it would promote equal opportunities by offering all young people, regardless of their background, the opportunity to develop essential skills to succeed. The expected outcomes include the acquisition of key competences, the strengthening of self-confidence, the promotion of equal opportunities, and preparation for working life. This programme is in line with the “School of Trust” plan launched in 2017, which aims to strengthen students’ fundamental skills and promote equal opportunities.

“One Health”

6. Implement continuing education programs around the ecological transition to develop skills and thus better respond to the environmental challenges specific to each profession

FINDING | 70% of young people would be ready to give up a job if companies do not show sufficient responsibility. Companies are currently struggling to attract and retain talent. However, in France, the ecological transition could create up to 340,000 jobs. The skills gap in companies in terms of know-how on environmental issues is a reality and it is imperative to act now. The transformation of a company is not only based on a CSR profile. Initial training could adapt skills and equip professions with environmental issues. Our observation highlights the importance of skills within the company’s professions and sectors. It is the professions and individuals who make decisions, who hold the power of choice in terms of transforming practices. For example, in the field of information systems coding, it is possible to adopt lighter approaches. In this case, individuals train to develop their profession.

FULL PROPOSAL | Our proposal consists, with the support of ADEME, France Travail, France Compétences, the DPI, the CCI and other players in training and the foresight of the professions of tomorrow, to offer continuing education programmes. The aim is to transform existing professions and sectors, thus enabling everyone to acquire the skills necessary to make informed decisions on an ecological level on a daily basis and in a fun way. This training will lead to a diploma.

CIRCLE NOTE | Continuing education programmes oriented towards the ecological transition are part of recent French reforms, in particular in the context of the Recovery Plan for the Ecological Transition. Aimed at various audiences, covering all socio-professional categories, these programmes aim to respond to the ecological challenges specific to each sector. According to figures from the Ministry of Labour, around 3 million people could benefit from these training courses by 2025. On the economic level, one euro invested in ecological training could generate up to five euros of added value, thus promoting sustainable economic growth. In addition, they allow workers to actively participate in the fight against climate change by making informed decisions in their professional lives, thus contributing to a more sustainable and resilient society, strengthening the adaptability of French society in the face of this major challenge. This initiative could be in line with the France Relance plan, which provides for a budget of €30 billion for the ecological transition, as well as the reinforced FNE-Formation scheme, which enabled more than 1.3 million employees to benefit from training in 2020.

7. Create a direct impact environmental challenge (CEID) to encourage young employees to commit to environmental protection within companies

FINDING | 54% of young people are ready to get involved in protecting the health of the planet. During the Conference, economic actors, often faced with recruitment difficulties among young people, will be present. Facilitating the engagement of young employees is essential, given the large number of young workers working in economic structures. We specifically target employees under 35 years of age who wish to get involved, by involving the general management. It is essential that these actions are valued, in order to arouse the interest of companies to implement them.

FULL PROPOSAL | Setting up a CEID: an environmental challenge with a direct impact. Internally, this would not represent a high cost. The company thus decides to allocate a meeting room once a month to a promotion of employees wishing to bring about change, while remaining under the control of the general manager who chooses the environmental theme for the promotion of the employees of the year. For example, in the transport sector, this could include initiatives to reduce emissions from company cars. Thus, employees will have the opportunity to meet two days a month for a whole year to reflect together, then present their recommendations. With this system, the management shows real listening and involvement, promoting a dialogue, similar to an “environmental graduate program”. The size of the class varies according to the size of the company, thus promoting an approach of co-construction and dialogue.

CIRCLE NOTE | Creating a CEID is part of an innovative approach to actively involve young employees in the protection of the environment within companies, in response to the climate emergency. This initiative focuses particularly on Generation Y and Z workers, who demonstrate a stronger commitment than their elders to environmental issues, nearly 70% of young workers would be willing to give up a position in a company that does not satisfy them in its consideration of ecological issues. By implementing CEIDs, companies could not only meet this growing demand, but also benefit from significant economic benefits. Indeed, the share of funding devoted to the environmental transition represents only 11% of the total R&D budget in France, i.e. €5.5 billion. This would therefore make it possible to boost innovation and put French companies on the path of environmental transition through progress and competitiveness.

8. Promote the use of short circuits in company canteens to improve employee nutrition, support local agriculture and occupational health

FINDING | Faced with the current crisis in agriculture, characterised by supply difficulties and significant environmental impacts, the importance of supporting short circuits is increasingly felt. Companies that integrate in-house canteens are particularly well placed to have a positive impact on this ecosystem. Food, recognized as an essential pillar of health, plays a crucial role in the well-being of employees. Indeed, 70% of employees believe that the food supply at work influences their health. However, only 15% of company canteens in France mainly use products from short circuits. The adoption of these practices can not only strengthen the local ecosystem but also serve as an asset in the employer branding strategy of companies. In addition, studies show that better nutrition at work can reduce absenteeism by up to 27% and increase productivity by 20%.

FULL PROPOSAL | It is therefore proposed to democratize the use of short circuits in company canteens. This initiative should involve close collaboration between companies, local producers and public authorities to facilitate this transition. It would be beneficial to put in place tax incentives for companies that embark on this path, as well as training programs for canteen managers on the benefits and management of local supplies. At the same time, a national campaign could be launched to raise awareness of the importance of short circuits, both for the health of individuals and for that of the local economy. The long-term goal would be to improve the overall health of employees while supporting local and sustainable agriculture.

CIRCLE NOTE | The Agence Bio study reveals that 48% of consumers of organic products prefer short circuits for their food when they have access to it. By encouraging companies to source locally, this initiative would benefit France’s 450,000 farms, boosting the regional economy and reducing the carbon footprint of transporting food. According to the International Labour Office, a healthy and balanced diet can increase employee productivity by up to 20% and reduce absenteeism by 19%. Thus, the potential savings for companies are considerable. This measure is in line with the EGAlim law, which aims to develop the use of local and sustainable products in collective catering. By promoting quality food that respects the environment and is beneficial to health, the promotion of short circuits in company canteens would represent a major step forward for employees, farmers, companies and the environment.

9. Offer young workers a “global health package” including coverage extended to their specific needs

FINDING | Young workers, often in their first job, are considered juniors for three years. Thus, they may be subject to a salary limit for eligibility for certain aids. Despite the focus of health programmes on seniors, young workers, who represent about 20% of the working population, face significant difficulties in accessing appropriate health care and adequate nutrition. This age group faces a marked deficit of measures tailored to their specific needs, which makes access to health services not only difficult but also expensive. About 30% of young workers report having given up medical care for financial reasons, including costs related to essential services such as sports licenses, psychological consultations or nutritional counselling. This expenditure weighs significantly on their finances. In addition, the status of young worker is not specifically recognized by social security schemes, adding an additional layer of complexity to their access to healthcare. These figures underline the need for targeted intervention to improve access to and quality of care for young workers.

FULL PROPOSAL | To remedy these deficits, it would be wise to offer a “global health package” specially designed for young employees. This package, offered in addition to existing mutual insurance coverage, should offer extended coverage that includes expenses that are usually not reimbursed. It could include the support of sports licenses, thus facilitating access to regular physical activities, essential for physical and mental well-being. The implementation of this package would require close collaboration between companies, the State and health ecosystem actors, each contributing to the development and financing of this programme. This initiative would not only improve the health and well-being of young workers, but would also strengthen their productivity and commitment to their jobs.

CIRCLE NOTE | The comprehensive health package for young workers, including extended coverage for non-reimbursed services and physical activities, meets the needs of this population by improving their well-being and productivity at work. Nearly two-thirds of young people say they are stressed and under pressure, while 34% of them have a sedentary lifestyle that leads to overweight or obesity. By offering extensive medical coverage, this package specifically targets the often overlooked needs of this age group. This investment is not without benefits for companies and society as a whole, since 1 euro invested in prevention and employee health generates 3 to 5 euros in additional benefits for the employer, thanks to an increase in productivity and a reduction in absenteeism, according to Horizon Santé Travail. Ultimately, a holistic health package for young workers would not only improve their individual well-being, but would also contribute to a corporate culture focused on health and well-being, fostering a more balanced and productive work environment. This initiative is in line with the “My Health 2022” plan and the “Sophrology and Meditation in the Company” scheme currently in place supported by the Ministry of Labour.

10. Introduce a mandatory transparency policy for mutual insurance companies, with clear and accessible information on health benefits, to enable young people to make informed decisions about their well-being

FINDING | Access to social benefits and health systems is often complex and not very transparent, which makes it difficult for individuals, especially young people starting their independent lives, to fully take advantage of the assistance to which they are entitled. Indeed, only 40% of young adults are aware of all the health measures to which they could claim. This lack of knowledge is exacerbated by a general feeling among young people, who perceive that mutual insurance companies do not voluntarily promote certain measures in order to reduce the consumption of these services. In addition, a recent study shows that 50% of young people do not feel physically or mentally healthy, highlighting the urgency of improving access to and visibility of available services.

FULL PROPOSAL | It is crucial to establish a mandatory transparency policy regarding the rights and benefits available to beneficiaries. Mutual insurance companies and other health organisations must commit to providing clear, precise and easily accessible information on the schemes to which beneficiaries are entitled, as well as the conditions of access to these services. This initiative should include the development of intuitive digital platforms and targeted information campaigns to ensure that every young person can make informed decisions about their health and well-being. In doing so, it is hoped not only to improve the health of young people but also to strengthen their confidence in health and social protection systems.

CIRCLE NOTE | Faced with the complexity of choosing a mutual insurance company, many young people subscribe to contracts that do not meet their needs. Nearly 30% of people under 30 have difficulty understanding their mutual insurance contract. By ensuring transparency in health services, this policy would allow young people to effectively compare offers and choose the one that best suits their specific needs. This measure is in line with the law of 14 July 2019 on the organisation and transformation of the health system, which aims to improve access to care and strengthen the transparency of information. Greater transparency would also encourage mutual insurance companies to improve the quality of their services and to offer more competitive offers, thus stimulating competition and innovation in the health sector. Ultimately, a mandatory transparency policy for mutual insurance companies would benefit both young people and the entire population, by strengthening trust in the health system and promoting informed decision-making for better social protection.

Citizen action

11. Dedicate one afternoon per month to volunteering to raise awareness among middle school students by encouraging meetings with local associations

FINDING | 58% of young people consider that they lack the time to get more involved. If we focus on middle school students in particular, the organization of their weeks does not seem to be conducive to finding space for local engagement. Let’s take the example of food distribution: the days and times of distribution are based on a voluntary model designed for people who are available during the day, most of whom are retired. However, voluntary work in associations has been declining since 2010. This decrease concerns all generations, but especially the elderly. The sharp decline observed in January 2022 is linked in particular to the Covid-19 crisis. This decline seems to be sustainable among the over 50s, while there is a recovery in voluntary work among the youngest in 2023. (Source: INJEP) What if igniting the flame of volunteer commitment from middle school was one of the solutions to recruit new ambassadors of solidarity?

FULL PROPOSAL | At the level of the department, we advise setting up a system of contact between local associations and colleges in order to allow young people to discover associations on one Wednesday afternoon per month. A call for applications would be made on the department’s website in order to recruit associations that are committed to meeting young people once a month over a one-year program. The associations would spend each month in a different college. The participation of the colleges would be voluntary and an organizing committee would be set up in each interested college, composed of professors and/or supervisors paid within the framework of HSA/HSE (overtime). During each meeting session between middle school students and associations, a “typical” volunteer activity would be offered in order to present to young people many ways to get involved for others and for the environment (waste collection, meal preparation, exchanges with the elderly, etc.).

CIRCLE NOTE | To enable the 3.3 million middle school students in France to participate in volunteer activities, thus significantly increasing volunteer participation, currently estimated at 20 million volunteers of all age groups. Valued at 16 billion euros annually, volunteering has a significant economic impact and could instill values of solidarity and civic-mindedness in young people. The expected effects could allow for personal development and social skills, a reduction in early school leaving (1.2 billion euros in annual cost), an increased social impact for associations and NGOs, greater social cohesion and savings for public services in areas such as social assistance, the environment or culture. In addition, it would make it possible to compensate for the collapse in the number of volunteers, many of whom come from an ageing population. This initiative, in line with the 2016 reform of the middle school encouraging the civic engagement of students, promises lasting economic and social benefits, increasing the added value of volunteering and contributing to a more integrated and united society.

12. Make a “citizen pathway” compulsory in high schools and colleges (11-18 years old) with the aim of experimenting on the ground with civic and democratic engagement

FINDING | 44% of young people consider themselves to be French citizens, but do not feel represented politically (63%). However, 21% of young people are not committed: they do not know how to translate their civic commitment. The lack of representativeness is deteriorating the feeling of belonging to the exercise of politics in France. Young people know less and less about the basics of the Republic and French culture.

FULL PROPOSAL | To set up a citizen trail for each middle and high school allowing meetings between elected officials, institutional visits and to learn in the field the workings of the French political exercise. This program would be a way to connect the national education system and political and associative actors. Citizen mediators would be appointed to oversee the system by establishment. This measure would also aim to take an interest in the theme of equal opportunities by allowing young people to meet peers who allow them to project themselves and embody their training in the best possible way: for example, elected representatives of QPV.

CIRCLE NOTE | This measure aims to involve approximately 5.5 million students in secondary schools in France, increasing their civic engagement and understanding of political mechanisms. According to the 2024 Cevipof trust barometer, two-thirds of French people believe that democracy is not working well, testifying to a rift between citizens and institutions. The expected effects include increased voter turnout, reduced social costs, improved social cohesion, enhanced value for local elected officials, and long-term savings. In addition, this mandatory citizenship pathway could help to combat the feeling of exclusion and political disillusionment among young people, who are increasingly turning away from the ballot box. The abstention rate among 18-24 year olds reached 73% in the 2019 European elections, compared to 49% for the population as a whole. By facilitating the meeting between elected officials and youth, this program could help reduce this gap and strengthen trust in democratic institutions. The compulsory citizenship course in high schools and colleges could thus complement and strengthen these actions, by offering young people a concrete and direct experience of democracy and political commitment.

13. Reconcile young people, citizens in the making, with institutions by proposing a “citizen pathway” led by local elected officials

FINDING | 63% of young people do not feel represented in politics. This represents more than 18 young people in a class of 25, which is too many, and it shows a disconnect between current young people and institutions. We believe that this is where the origin of this disengagement lies and that solutions must be imagined from the earliest years of the citizen in order to rebuild the feeling of citizenship.

FULL PROPOSAL | We would like to propose the implementation of a compulsory “citizen pathway” from 11 to 18 years old, which would be designed around a concept that is not very innovative, admittedly, yet so central to the way of building oneself: the encounter! The objective would be to facilitate the meeting between local elected officials and budding citizens, in order to explain the role of institutions, of the different scales of competence, and thus to create a sense of belonging. This would result in two approaches: on the one hand, with the arrival of local institutional actors in schools, and on the other hand, through the visit of pupils to local public establishments (town hall, departmental and regional councils, etc.). This course would be followed by the referent teachers on the subject of civic education and could lead the young people who have been most affected to take an interest in the experiences practiced in the municipal and regional councils. The compulsory aspect of the discovery of institutions would effectively ensure more diversity within these junior councils, often known to social and cultural circles that are already politicized and committed.

CIRCLE NOTE | This process aims to reconcile around 5.5 million young people in French secondary schools with institutions, at a time when electoral abstention among young people is worrying (44% of young people feel they are citizens of their country and abstention can reach more than 50% in some elections). It aims to increase civic participation, improve social cohesion, reduce deviant behaviour, develop transferable skills and save money for the education system. According to an INJEP barometer, 71% of young people aged 15 to 25 believe that school should play a more important role in citizenship education. This proactive strategy, in line with the 2016 middle school reform that introduced moral and civic education, could strengthen democratic foundations and cultivate a generation of well-informed and responsible citizens, renewing the social and democratic pact between young people and institutions.

14. Deploy a volunteer training program for university students, in order to increase the number of referents in charge of local awareness-raising, with and for young people

FINDING | 63% of young people do not feel represented in politics, 78% consider that their voice does not count and only 10% feel sufficiently informed about the mechanisms! We thought that these subjects were discussed more at school. Among our intuitions, there is on the one hand the fact that institutions and elected officials can sometimes seem far from young people. On the other hand, we are well aware that this is also a subject of time dedicated to information/training on these subjects. We have the impression that creating spaces of proximity (in age) between young people who raise awareness and those who are aware could recreate trust.

FULL PROPOSAL | With this system, waves of university student classes would be formed by local associative actors, experts in citizenship, commitment, solidarity. During a one-week course, they would be introduced to pedagogy by making appropriate tools available to them; The aim is to raise awareness of these subjects among schoolchildren and high school students (primary, middle school, high school). This proposal first makes it possible to fight against inequalities in access to information by going to schools. This would make it possible to renew volunteers in local associations and to create links and intergenerational sharing. The students could then go to the schools to be the ambassadors of the associations for young students. This awareness-raising training would be enhanced by ECTS credits to the students who participate.

CIRCLE NOTE | This proposal concerns about 2.7 million students in France, aiming to increase the rate of volunteering among this population. According to a survey by the Observatory of Student Life (OVE), 23% of French students are involved in volunteer activities. This program is in line with the law of 8 March 2016 on the rights and freedoms of students, which encourages student engagement and the enhancement of skills acquired in the context of associations. In addition, this program could help to combat the social isolation of students, which is a growing problem in France. According to the OVE, 37% of students are in a state of psychological distress, and this figure is trending upwards. The implementation of such a program could also have positive effects on the mental health of students. Volunteering can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, while improving self-esteem and overall well-being.

15. Introduce paid leave dedicated to civic engagement and volunteering

FINDING | 58% of young people consider that they lack the time to become more committed. However, one in two young people considers that commitment is a source of well-being and self-confidence. A need that is all the more critical as it grows with age. Because commitment helps to increase skills, and in particular to open up to the world, which is essential when you start your working life. Leave for caregivers, leave for victims of violence, menstrual leave, parental leave… are emerging and making their mark in companies. Indeed, since the pandemic, the boundaries between professional and personal life have been blurred and the company must support its employees in all aspects of their lives. At the same time, employees are questioning the meaning of their work and their long-term employability to cope with the obsolescence of their skills. Many find the answer in commitment, which allows them to progress and feel useful.

FULL PROPOSAL | We want to propose the implementation of adapted pathways so that employees can dedicate time (in the form of paid leave) to their commitments. The employer could therefore monitor their citizen and volunteer mobilization. The commitment would thus be valued and would allow them to accumulate training credits and accelerate their learning path. The implementation of the 4-day week has proven its effectiveness for many employers: freeing up a full day for the employee considerably increases his or her well-being and productivity. We want to go further with this proposal to make commitment a lever of attractiveness for the employer and no longer limit employee engagement to evenings and weekends! We want to focus on local ecosystems for implementation, to enhance the value of territories and to energize the associative and citizen fabric in which employers are immersed. To implement this proposal, we will join forces with model companies, pioneers in terms of valuing commitment, platforms allowing meetings between employees and associations (Vendredi, WantToHelp, and academics to carry out an impact measurement to quantify the concrete benefits of this additional leave.

CIRCLE NOTE | This initiative encourages companies to offer paid leave for volunteering, potentially reaching 30 million working people in France. It aims to increase the contribution of volunteers to the French economy, estimated at 16 billion euros, and to strengthen social ties. According to a study by France Bénévolat, 68% of volunteers would like to get more involved if their employer made it easier for them to volunteer. We can therefore see that freeing up time is the main issue. The expected benefits include increased volunteer participation, improved employee well-being, positive economic impacts on businesses, increased social cohesion, and reduced costs for public services. This measure, in line with the law of 10 August 2018 for a State at the service of a society of trust, which facilitates voluntary commitment, could strengthen civic engagement and contribute to a more robust and resilient society, while contributing to the attractiveness of employers.

16. Educating about citizenship in the workplace with citizen weeks

FINDING | 78% of young people consider that their voices do not count and 63% of young people do not feel represented. The abstention rates of the last elections speak for themselves. We need to tackle the problem at the root: where citizens spend the majority of their time at work. The company plays a role in raising awareness and educating on societal issues: gender equality, environmental transition, fight against discrimination, etc. It is time for her to take an interest in citizenship.

FULL PROPOSAL | Companies dedicate time to raising awareness and informing citizens. The company obviously remains neutral but has a role to play as a society within society. Employees are also and above all citizens: the role of the employer is to remind them of this. As for March 8 or during the Black Lives Matter weeks, a dedicated time each year will be set up to train in citizenship and create debate at the heart of the company. In addition, each electoral campaign will be an opportunity to bring collective spaces to life with dedicated events. These events will be organized by employee collectives, corporate foundations or CSR managers, and will be integrated into companies’ CSR policies. We could imagine weeks of civic engagement to promote employees involved in politics, by creating the equivalent of the climate fresco dedicated to citizenship to learn about their rights and duties, interventions by elected officials (internal and external), political science professionals to embody the theme of the week. As Pascal Demurger said, “The company of the twenty-first century will be political or it will no longer exist!”

CIRCLE NOTE | This program proposes to integrate citizenship education into companies, potentially affecting 29 million workers in France if such an initiative were generalized in companies and public administrations, thus affecting the entire working population. According to an OpinionWay survey, 63% of French people believe that their company is not sufficiently committed to society. It aims to strengthen employees’ sense of belonging and increase their productivity and job satisfaction. Benefits include improved employee engagement, increased productivity, reduced healthcare costs, enhanced social cohesion, and a positive impact on society. This initiative, in line with the 2019 Pacte law which encourages companies to take into account social and environmental issues, offers an opportunity for companies to play an active role in civic development and to benefit from tangible improvements in their operations and reputation.