"Learning" factories to overcome disability - en.live-feeds.com

The six factories of the Amipi-Bernard-Vendre Foundation employ 830 people, 720 of whom are disabled.

Concentrated mine, Romain, 23 years old, presses twisted wires using a machine. To measure the dexterity that such a task requires, it is difficult to imagine that this young man suffers from a " fine motor problem » since a young age. "This job gave me confidence and made me grow", proudly entrusts this operator hired at the Nantes plant in 2015.

Spread between the Pays de la Loire and the Center region, the six production, apprenticeship and insertion plants (UPAI) of the Amipi-Bernard-Vendre Foundation, which manufacture electrical harnesses for the automotive industry (PSA, Renault), specifically aim to promote the autonomy of people with disabilities (trisomy 21, cognitive disorders, psychic, autism ...). How? By focusing on manual work and the imitation of increasingly complex and precise tasks. "The repetitiveness of cognitive solicitations develops synapses of the brain, which is very plastic, and can create new ones, explains Jean-Marc Richard, president of the Amipi-Bernard-Vendre Foundation.

People with disabilities have their rights improved

"We do not adapt the position to the handicap"

Founded in 1965 by Maurice Sell, father of a boy with trisomy 21, the foundation is based on a fundamental premise: the ability of each to overcome his disability. At a time when the medical profession was pessimistic about the prospects of evolution of the young Bernard Sell, his relatives have done everything to get him out of isolation by learning and then work.

In factories of the foundation (30 million turnover in 2017), no one is informed of the medical file of the employees. "We do not work on the disease but on the person", says Jean-Marc Richard. Confirmation of the manager of the Nantes factory, Doriane Pastor: "We do not adapt the position to the handicap. Our machines are the same as those of our competitors, She says. But we rely a lot on training. Everything is an individual job of knowing the operators to move them at their own pace. "

"Now I feel able to work in an ordinary company"

Specifically, everyone has a production monitoring sheet, on which are noted the objectives achieved and to be achieved, which evolve over time. "They are learning here the skills, quality of work, productivity and autonomy", summed up the assistant coordinator of the assembly plant, Patrick Lespinasse.

The neuropsychiatrist Jean-Michel Oughourlian, who has immersed himself in these factories, traces in an invigorating work the remarkable trajectories of several employees (1). As Antoine, suffering from autism, prostrate and nonverbal, who has managed, over the years, to "To become an operator almost like the others" and even "Talkative". Or Romain, who already lives in his own apartment, travels in "Buggy" and is about to pass the " true " driver's license.

"Now I feel able to work in an ordinary company", he confides. This is the vocation of these learning factories: every year, 15 people leave to join a traditional company.

Florence Pagneux (in Nantes)