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European Social Fund Plus

Transforming lives and communities​​: the French 'Territoires Zéro Chômeur​​ de Longue Durée'

Transforming lives and communities
© Territoires zéro chômeur de longue durée

The zero long-term unemployment initiative has emerged as a model in combating long-term unemployment in France. By focusing on actions at local level and using community-based solutions, it has revitalised local economies and brought new hope to nearly 3200 people who had been out of work for extended periods​ and who are hired today​.

The approach works by engaging​​ people who have been unemployed for over a year, assessing their skills and aspirations, matching them with community needs, and creating a job that addresses these needs.

​​​Everyone is employable

The philosophy of the approach builds on three main assumptions:

  1. Everyone is employable​ when jobs are adapted to people's abilities and skills​
  2. There is no shortage of work​ when the choice of activity is not determined solely by the market profitability
  3. There is no lack of money, as employment deprivation costs the community more than the creation of the jobs needed to make employment a right.

An important feature of the approach is to distinguish between work and employment. Once it is done and local needs identified, any work can become employment if it serves the community.

Building a sense of community

Laurent Grandguillaume, President of the Association of the Zero Long-term Unemployment Territories in France, says that: 'Territoires zéro chômeur de longue durée have shown that we can work together  with people and communities, to put an end to long-term unemployment, in the firm belief that the right to employment costs less than unemployment and, what is more, it brings  benefits for the people and for the communities they live in.

The success of the project 'Territoires Zéro Chômeur​​ de Longue Durée' lies in its collaborative approach. The initiative works closely with local businesses, municipalities,​ employment bodies ​and the unemployed, to identify community needs that can be addressed through new employment opportunities. This method not only creates jobs but also fosters a sense of community and belonging among participants.

​​​Nicolas Devaux, an employee in Loos who benefited from this initiative, shared that ‘Getting involved [in the project], I met some of my neighbours for the first time, despite living in this neighbourhood for over thirty years. This shows the deep social isolation that can happen when unemployed’.

Scaling up success

Starting with a sample of 10 ‘territories’ in 2016, the initiative has evolved into a nation-wide movement that extends beyond merely generating jobs for the unemployed. Its overarching goal is to make the right to employment for everyone in France a reality.

Encouraged by its success across France, covering more than 60 territories, the initiative is now expanding towards Belgium and other countries. This expansion is not just about replicating the model but also about adapting it to different community needs and contexts.

Project details

Project name
Territoires ​zéro​​​ ​chômeur​​​ de longue durée
Territoires zéro chômeur de longue durée
Project start
Project end
Internet and social
Contact details
7 rue Leschaud, 44400 Rezé
+33 02 85 52 45 49
Total budget
€45 million for the initiative in 2023
EU Budget contribution
€190 000 for the Association in 2023