Promoting the integration of people with disabilities is a mission that FELCO has been pursuing since 2013, when the company began to regularly welcome trainees for workforce reintegration referred by the Neuchâtel Center for Professional Integration (CNIP). This long-term commitment was acknowledged in March 2021 with a gold medal from the Label Intégration "coup de cœur".
Reintegration Into the Workforce
Based in Couvet, Switzerland the CNIP is a public institution specializing in vocational training for adults and assisting with reintegration in the industrial sector. Eight years ago, the CNIP set up a program on behalf of the Disability Insurance Office (OAI) to consolidate training acquired through internships at companies. This takes place through a network of more than 300 partners in all the French-speaking Swiss cantons. In 2020, 13 companies in Neuchâtel hosted CNIP interns. One of them is FELCO, which has confirmed its commitment to this reintegration approach.
Each year, FELCO welcomes one or two interns from the CNIP for 6 to 18-month assignments. Currently, the two trainees are being trained in quality control at our company in Les Geneveys-sur-Coffrane. Martin Fidalgo Lema and Nicolas Bossel had to give up their respective professions. They are now learning to carry out dimensional measurements, validate compliance with the brand's high standards (colors, visual criteria) and inspect a wide variety of components, from machined parts to plastic shells and from leather cases to electronic cards. "There is such a wide variety of products at FELCO that the trainees quickly acquire a broad range of skills," says Isabelle Seuillerot, Head of the Quality Department at FELCO.
A Human Experience, in Focus
"Our role is to help people find a place in the working world. But this extends far beyond the professional experience", Isabelle Seuillerot emphasizes. The trainees arrive with life stories that are sometimes painful, and their journeys are often bumpy. "People often feel uprooted when they arrive. We help them find their bearings. Little by little, they regain their confidence, integrate into the workforce and feel useful and independent again. That's what I particularly like about this supportive approach," adds Isabelle Seuillerot.
A Committed Intern
A CNIP coach regularly supports the company so that the internship goes as smoothly as possible. The reintegration rate for this program, i.e. the number of people who have found a job on the last day of their training period, stands at 42%. At FELCO, Nicolas Bossel for example has joined the pruning shears assembly workshop. This former car mechanic has therefore found a new professional family at FELCO.