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In practice

The Picoulet Centre: Increasing Labour Market Opportunities Through Digital and Language Training


Paris, France—

  • The Picoulet Centre is a community centre in the 11th arrondisement that collaborates with local residents to organise activities, such as work-related workshops and theatre classes, and provides information and assistance to people in need.

  • The Centre organises language and digital training to facilitate labour market integration, and their digital training courses enable participants to receive the PIX digital skills certificate which is recognised by French companies.

  • The strength of the approach of the Picoulet Centre is to help participants improve their language and digital skills in parallel to increase their labour market opportunities.

Published on the 06/05/2024

Geographic scaleNeighbourhood

KeywordsFuture of work, Inclusion, Women

ThemesSocial and solidarity economy, Local employment and skills


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What are the objectives?

The Picoulet Centre is a community centre based in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. The Centre collaborates with local residents to organise activities and provide information and assistance to people in need. Among its initiatives, the Centre organises different types of training that help participants develop language and digital skills thereby enhancing their chances of getting a job.

How does it work in practice?

The Picoulet Centre collaborates with a variety of organisations operating in the neighbourhood to improve outreach. Several associations and social workers address their clients to Picoulet Centre, and the Réseau Eif-fel (a network built by the City of Paris, in partnership with three Parisian associations) facilitates the match between prospective learners and the Picolet Centre.

The activities of the Centre include:

  • French for professional purposes which helps participants develop or improve their work-related language skills, including how to value their skills, interact with colleagues and express themselves in a work environment. In addition to improving language skills, this training has also a digital component that contributes to further enhancing participants’ opportunities to find employment.

  • Digital training at different levels, including learning how to use a computer, searching for information, filling in forms, using Office and creating digital content. In addition, training provides practical tools for job search and to prepare for official digital certifications.

  • Work-related workshops, which include group sessions on how to prepare a CV and a cover letter, how to look for a job and prepare for a job interview and one-to-one coaching sessions. These workshops are run in collaboration with La cravate solidaire, a network of associations whose main objective is to fight against discrimination in the hiring process.

  • Theatre classes to help participants become more comfortable in communicating in French, improve their self-esteem and build motivation.

To respond to the multiple needs of participants, the Centre also provides additional support, including basic digital training, access to computers and internet, practical support to lone parents and their children and assistance with administrative procedures.

The Centre receives its funding from public and private donors. Slightly less than 50% of its funds are from the city. The other main funders are the Caisse d'Allocations Familiales (CAF; “Family Allowance Fund”), and the Direction Départementale de l'Action Sociale, de l'Enfance et de la Santé (DASES; “Departmental Direction for Social Action, Childhood and Health”). Additional funding of less than 10% is provided by private donors.

What has been the impact?

The centre has been particularly impactful for women and the elderly. For example, digital literacy training was provided to 92 people in 2022, of which 71% were women and more than two thirds were people aged 55 and above. The Centre also provided support for administrative procedures to over 860 people and their public computers were used by more than 1200 people.

What can other communities learn from this example?

The strength of the approach of the Picoulet Centre is to help participants improve their language and digital skills in parallel to increase their labour market opportunities. The training provided by the Centre Picoulet enables participants to validate their skills via the PIX digital skills certificate, which is recognised by French companies and aims to become a European standard. In addition, the Centre offers counselling services and provides support in finding employment in work integration social enterprises (enterprises d’insertion).

Similar programmes will be particularly helpful for not-for-profit organisations and social centres located in more disadvantaged neighbourhoods, with a high presence of people with a migration background. Language courses, combined with digital training and comprehensive support can facilitate their integration not only in the labour market, but society as well.

Further information

Website for the Picoulet Centre (in French)

OECD resources

OECD (2023), OECD City Network on Jobs and Skills: Digital Skills and Digital Inclusion, https://www.oecd.org/cfe/leed/future-proofing-adult-learning-cities/City_network_Nov_23_Summary.pdf