My name is Sylvain Grignon. I’m a child of the Parisian suburbs… I’ve grown up, studied, played sport and worked in the Paris region since I was little. I was lucky enough to have a protective environment that helped me integrate into society. Not everyone around me was so lucky.
So when I could, I made a few attempts at helping the most underprivileged young people, by running recruitment forums in struggling neighbourhoods at Mantes la Jolie, for example, when I was a store manager.
So when I came back to Paris after a few years, mainly spent working abroad, and I saw the situation was still deteriorating rapidly, I said to myself that as a regional manager, I had the opportunity to do something on a different scale.
When I met Quentin from Sport Dans La Ville, I immediately understood that the union between this association and the Paris Petite Couronne region would come naturally. Helping young people to get a start in the professional world, using sport as a common language… I was already sold on it…
Sport Dans La Ville develops centres with a focus on sport, especially football, but also basketball, providing a bridge to the professional world.
We identified several sites, then thought about how to collaborate effectively. We presented the project to the store managers, and several were interested and ready to get involved. With David Thoury and Pape Faye, we sketched out ideas for a partnership between an SDLV centre and a store. Our personal commitment was based on mentoring a young person, monitoring and helping them and throughout their journey. Our professional commitment was to make our stores “available” for young people from SDLV to discover the company and the world of work.
I came to the Foundation with Pape, David and Quentin, then we launched the project in the first two years. The centres in Noisy and Saint Denis were opened, the young people took their first steps in our stores with a Decathlon jacket on…
Obviously they had what it took, they had so much to give us in return.
For over 10 years now, we’ve been collaborating with Sport Dans La Ville to help young people reintegrate through sport. Today, we wanted to turn our actions into a 3-year project (2017-2019): the JOBATHLON.
We share the same values of responsibility, commitment and kindness. We want to restore young people’s confidence and help them to get back on track. We’ve carried out several actions locally (in the greater Lyon area) to encourage reintegration: mentoring, equipment, help into employment, recruitment, company tours…
Jobathlon is based on key actions, and we have in-house mentoring in order to create a team of Decathlon mentors who help young people every year.
There are also themed workshops 4 times a years in the school holidays. These are half-day or day-long workshops about personal development, creating a job search network, and interview simulations. Meanwhile, we are setting up specific recruitment sessions, which require us to organise recruitment sessions 2 or 3 times a year called “viens en short” [meaning “come dressed in shorts”].
Other key actions, like the Jobathlon scheme, require setting up one or two training schemes a year, for 12 to 15 young people. They last 4 weeks and are designed to prepare the young people for the “viens en shorts” sessions from April to October. Lastly, there are sports actions organised throughout the year by Decathlon employees and young people from Sport Dans La Ville. This way, we can create our own network and enlist new mentors.
You have to bear in mind that starting the Jobathlon could enable 200 young people a year to receive help with building and implementing their project!
Lastly, as is often the case at Decathlon, I set off on another mission, I passed on the baton… but this project is still thriving… I still feel proud of it…
Story told by the Decathlon team.