"It was while watching on YouTube that I came across the foundry. Otherwise I would have gone into computer science, "says Leonard, 17, delighted with his schooling in baccalaureate pro foundry at the Gustave-Eiffel high school in Armentières (North), "as long as he is not in front of a desk". Like Luka and Sasha, also 17, Marcel, 16, and Rodrigue, 18, he spent the day feeding a huge chimney and monitoring the temperature inside to reach 1,300 degrees, the melting temperature of the cast iron.
Behind them, the BTS were able to cast the resulting alloy into molds stored in front of them. All of them - there is not a single girl this year - are destined for the foundry trades, an essential process for the development of parts ranging from the cast iron casserole to the ball prosthesis part.
"A lot is played around the meeting"
If Rodrigue does not discover the working conditions, because he has "family at Staub", whose French factory is located in Merville a few kilometers from Armentières, Luka landed here after a trade forum. Rather intended for the catering trades, after a CAP cooking with his cousin, the meeting had for him the effect of a click.
It was also a meeting that took Pierre into this sector. The former student came to attend the well-honed ballet of the students of the bac pro and the BTS to melt the alloy. The young man was hired by Staub at the end of his BTS: "I arrived a little by chance and I did not know what to do after my STI2D baccalaureate. I was in architecture and construction and my architecture teacher offered me to come and see what the BTS foundry looks like. I went. »
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The first year, he tests the teachings a little, "to see". The 2nd, he spends alternately with Staub. "It made me want to, the company gave me responsibilities quite quickly and I gave them satisfaction," recalls the one who was barely of age. Two years later, at the age of 21, after graduating and being trained in management, he co-led a team of 40 people.
"Choosing your orientation means being able to go on a professional or life path that corresponds to our expectations, our aspirations and our skills," abounds Armand Cosseron, who co-founded Tu feras quoi plus tard, an association that fights for a better orientation: "A lot is played around the meeting, the one with someone who can inspire. Helping young people to orient themselves means encouraging meetings with professionals who can come and share their profession and how we can get there. Chance will be more or less strong depending on the access we have to information. The more contacts I have, the more I have the opportunity to project myself into a journey. »
A job at stake
Internships in the professional sector are numerous and allow young people to become familiar with the business world, but not only. They are also a gateway to alternation, which sometimes comes at the right time. "Half of our students receive an apprenticeship offer at the end of their internship and they can receive up to 1,000 euros," says Nicolas Armingaud, the director delegate for training at the Gustave-Eiffel high school. With profiles mostly from the working classes, the remuneration is "much higher than a scholarship".
Especially since, on the foundry employment side, "we have almost 100% employment rate," says the director delegate for training at the high school. After graduation, some, like Pierre, continue in BTS, which will open the doors of an engineering school, or a professional license. Still others stop "because they are very courted and very well paid," smiles Nicolas Armignaud. Companies will pick up their trainees with the aim of training them and then... keep them. "We have alumni in all the companies and if some choose to come to the foundry, those who arrive by chance stay. "
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This is the case of Pierre, who works staggered hours 4h-12h or 15h-23h: "In alternation, I discovered the active life, so we realize the constraints and positive points of the job. It's an extraordinary job, which stands out completely but requires passion," says the man for whom the passion for melting cast iron has put the dusty and noisy environment in the background.
"There is a real challenge of valuing the professions"
Each year, more than 600,000 take the baccalaureate outside the general and technological stream. Perceived as a dead end, which barely allows access to poorly paid and physically exhausting positions, the professional path nevertheless offers little-known opportunities.
"There is a real challenge of valuing the professions", notes Armand Cosseron: "Today the orientation is not made in the right way because we always have in mind this idea of a siding. We have many testimonies from young people who would have liked to go into literary or economic and social studies and who were directed to the professional baccalaureate when they did not aspire to it. The fault is a lack of knowledge of the opportunities or the very usefulness of the professional sector.
An observation that Rachid Zerrouki has regularly had the opportunity to make during the seven years he worked in SEGPA, a specialized section responsible for accompanying "young people in great academic difficulty, from the sixth grade": "If we presented the extent of what can be done with the professional path, it would be less seen as a siding. More and more people understand this: in Marseille, there is a 10% increase in registration. This is changing and it is a source of hope! We must support this vision, politically by promoting professional sectors, by making people want to go there. »
A craze... and variable salaries
Problem, some sectors are very tense and others much less. "Some will be considered as sidings and others not," continues the one who embodies Rachid instit on Twitter: "In Marseille, we do not jostle to go to the electricity sector, but early childhood is very much in demand, especially to be a childcare assistant. Bodywork is an enigma because the sector recruits a lot, but there are few places. If we open up bodywork sectors, we mechanically reduce unemployment. In masonry, it is also difficult to recruit, because young people know relatives who have suffered physically from the profession. »
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Salaries can also be different from one sector to another. Unlike early childhood, the foundry, a sector where job offers are important, offers significant first salaries: 2,200 euros net per month in Belgium, 2,400 after graduating from a BTS, barely less in France with 2,000 euros net according to figures put forward by the director of training at the Gustave-Eiffel high school. Especially since there is no shortage of positions: out of 600 people to be replaced per year, only 200 come out of training between the professional baccalaureate and the BTS. Enough to leave the choice of their future company to Luka, Léonard, Rodrigue, Marcel and the others.