Racing to a greener future: supporting the creation of jobs through improving cycling infrastructure in Paris

08 September 2023

As part of France’s plan to tackle climate change, the national Government announced in May 2023 that €2 billion will be invested by 2027, to improve cycling infrastructure and help people purchase bikes, as part of broader efforts to reduce car use.1

Compared to other countries in Europe, France has relatively high levels of unemployment among young people, and those without diplomas or higher education are disproportionately impacted by this.2

With France's ambition to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050,3 and employers struggling to hire skilled, entry-level talent , an opportunity exists to address the rising demand for jobs, through upskilling unemployed young people – bolstering the workforce with a new generation of skilled workers, to support the net zero transition.

Generation France CEO, Fatène Ben-Hamza, and program graduate, Rubens Nelson, talk about the impact the program has on the country and the community.

Hearing from the learners’ experiences, we do see a lot of improvement and we know the program not only has an impact on them personally, but also their community.
We’re seeing a huge increase in the usage of bicycles in France which means that the demand will continue to grow, and we need to find the talent to meet those needs.”

Fatène Ben-Hamza
CEO, Generation France

Addressing the need for skilled talent

In 2021, to help meet these challenges, Generation France launched a pilot Bike Repair and Maintenance program. In 2022, they secured a partnership with the Macquarie Group Foundation, as the Foundation’s focus across Europe, the Middle East and Africa is to support people in achieving their social mobility aspirations through employment.

The program saw 189 expressions of interest from applicants across Paris, and in partnership with Cyclofix and Lime, Generation France created a three-week full-time bootcamp training program for candidates. Bootcamp participants develop the technical skills of repairing and maintaining bicycles, as well as the behavioural skills of working in a customer-facing role, such as customer assistance, sales and support. The bootcamp style program structure and specific set of development skills are designed to help candidates gain confidence in their own abilities.

Program participants gaining hands-on experience in the Lime bike warehouse.
The program allowed me to develop my skillset and learn to deal with problems in a new way. The behavioural skills that I acquired through this program are attention to detail, perseverance, future orientation, and a certain confidence in myself.”

Rubens Nelson
Bicycle repairer - Lime Bikes

The impact and outcomes of the program

Since launching, three cohorts of candidates have been through the program accounting for 41 participants, with the Macquarie Group Foundation funding over 50 per cent of these places5. Additional backing of the initiative has been from the Ile-de-France region and the city of Paris with the Paris Fabrik program. The initiative has been successful in getting candidates into employment with 88 per cent of participants being placed into a job three months after completing the program, and almost 100 per cent after six months of completion5. This figure is significantly higher than the 54 per cent of job seekers who returned to work within 6 months following the end of training from Pôle emploi, a French governmental agency which registers unemployed people, helps them find jobs and provides them with financial aid.4

This value of this program has only been reinforced by the national government plan to double the number the bike network in France by 2030.1

This collaboration is part of a global partnership that the Macquarie Group Foundation have with Generation You Employed.