"Learning" the factories to overcome disability

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The six factories of the Amipi-Bernard-Vendre Foundation employ 830 people, including 720 with disabilities.

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

The six production, apprenticeship and placement plants (UPAI) of the Amipi-Bernard-Vendre Foundation, which produce electrical wiring for the automotive industry (PSA, Renault), spread between the Pays de la Loire and the central region. in particular they aim to promote the autonomy of people with disabilities (trisomy 21, cognitive disorders, psychic disorders, autism …). Such as? Focusing on manual work and the imitation of increasingly complex and precise tasks. "The repetitiveness of cognitive stresses 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 their disability. At a time when the medical profession was pessimistic about the evolutionary prospects of the young Bernard Sell, his relatives went out of their way to get him out of isolation by learning and then working.

In the factories of the foundation (30 million turnover in 2017), no one is informed of the medical record of the employees. "We do not work on the disease but on the person", says Jean-Marc Richard. Confirmation of the director 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 work of knowing the operators to move them at their own pace. "

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

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

The neuropsychiatrist Jean-Michel Oughourlian, who has immersed himself in these factories, traces the remarkable trajectories of different employees in an invigorating work (1). Like Antoine, suffering from autism, prostrate and non-verbal, which has succeeded, over the years, a "To become an operator almost like the others" and also "Talkative". O Romain, who already lives in his apartment, travels inside "Buggy" and is about to pass the "True" driver's license

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

Florence Pagneux (in Nantes)

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