digital conversion

Emmaus Connect or how to combat digital exclusion

75 % of jobs today require mastery of digital skills. Job seekers are therefore not all equal when it comes to finding a job. On Wednesday 13 March, Emmaus Connect inaugurated its 12th digital solidarity space in France in Strasbourg, in the presence of Mounir Mahjoubi, Secretary of State for Digital Solidarity. On this occasion, Emmaus Connect and Pôle emploi also announced the launch of a digital training scheme for jobseekers in Strasbourg. 
It's hard to do without the internet today. However, 23% of the French are "not comfortable with the digital world", declaring that they never surf the internet or have difficulty doing so. This was revealed last June by a CSA study on "illectronism", digital illiteracy. "This study reinforces a concern that has been mobilising us at Emmaus Connect for several years. Avoiding "electronic illiteracy" and understanding digital illiteracy by offering training courses is a priority [...] But the fight against electronic illiteracy also relies on volunteers to run introductory workshops, offer personalised support and help develop the project and make it known to the general public. » explained Jean Deydier, Founder and CEO of the company. Emmaus Connect, at the time of the release of this study.
Faced with the digitalisation of our society and particularly employment and access to rights, Emmaus connect reconnects with the world and trains "fragile" groups: 37,000 people have been supported since 2013.


Combating digital exclusion in Strasbourg

The Emmaus Connect association has therefore been working for six years to reduce the electronic illiteracy of vulnerable groups. After helping 37,000 people in nine French towns and cities, Emmaus Connect is now working to reduce the number of people living in precarious conditions. (1)Emmaus Connect is now based in Strasbourg thanks to the support of the city and its long-standing partner SFR. The latter enables the association to offer access to equipment, telephony and Internet at solidarity prices. Beneficiaries can also access a range of activities to learn, at their own pace, how to use new technologies. 4 million, SFR is helping to lift more than 1,000 people out of digital exclusion this year.
"By participating in the creation of Emmaus Connect eight years ago, SFR made a pioneering choice at a time when digital exclusion was not yet identified as a social emergency. Thanks to SFR's support, Emmaus Connect will be able to support more than 8,000 people with its solidarity access services in 2018. This partnership has made it possible to open 12 digital solidarity spaces across the country. In addition, thanks to in-kind donations from SFR, Emmaus Connect provides these groups with telephone resources and internet access on advantageous terms. »  explains Arthur Dreyfuss, Secretary General of Altice France.

Promoting the return to work

In 2019, Emmaus Connect and Pôle emploi Bas-Rhin will help 400 jobseekers to become digitally independent. On the programme, 32 hours of training based on the interactive platform Good Clicks to acquire the digital skills needed to find a job.
For Karine Meininger, Director of Services for Job Seekers, "... I am very happy to be able to work with you. The experiment conducted in Strasbourg illustrates the ambition of Pôle emploi to play a central role in promoting digital inclusion. »
This system has already proved its worth in the Hauts de France, where the satisfaction rate exceeds 93%.
For Mounir Mahjoubi, "digital must be an opportunity for all. Because it is essential for a good integration in social and professional life, it is indispensable that we train those who feel excluded from it to use digital technology. Emmaus Connect has been working as closely as possible with all those who have long been excluded from the digital world. This new digital literacy training programme with Pôle emploi is a further step towards employment for those who are far from it. »

A collective mobilization to accelerate digital inclusion in France

For Jean Deydier, "Numerical exclusion is not inevitable. The impact of our projects shows that it is possible to help the most vulnerable people gain digital autonomy. The key to success: forging lasting links between local authorities, operators of dematerialised services and social players. In this respect, I would like to pay tribute to the Alsatian players who have collectively mobilised around the project. I hope that it will serve as an example and that it will create an emulation around digital inclusion. »  In addition to SFR, Pôle emploi and the City of Strasbourg, the project also benefits from the support of the SNCF Foundation, the Strasbourg Eurometropole and the CAF du Bas Rhin. For successful digital inclusion, a network of social and digital players in the field must be trained and equipped to act on a daily basis. It is also necessary to guide public and private decision-makers by advising and supporting them in the digital transition of their service or territory.
Emmaus Connect is also, and above all, a team of digital enthusiasts and social action specialists; a team with a wide range of profiles, all united to take up the challenge of digital inclusion. In addition to its 24 permanent employees and 16 on assisted contracts, the association welcomed no fewer than 47 Civic Service Volunteers in 2017.
More than 200 volunteers are committed to the Emmaus Connect adventure in 2017. In the field, they welcome beneficiaries, advise and support them and run introductory workshops or the Permanences Connectées.

Social Precariousness = Numerical Precariousness?

In December 2017, the results of an unpublished study Digital Inclusion: A Profitable InvestmentThe project, led by WeTechCare with the support of Capgemini Consulting, was handed over to Mounir Mahjoubi for the launch of a national strategy for inclusive digital. This study assessed the means to be mobilized for a massive and shared support system for people in difficulty with digital technology. It emphasized that "our society will be inclusive if it takes into account the needs of the population in difficulty with digital technology". It also highlighted the fact that the French people in difficulty with digital technology are part of diverse realities that require adapted support. The risk of digital exclusion therefore covers a variety of realities, highlighted by Emmaus Connect and WeTechCare's fieldwork, which distinguishes three typical user profiles with different support needs: 
- The "advanced" who have basic digital equipment and skills but who do not use them optimally for fear of "doing wrong" or for preference for face-to-face interactions;
- Beginners and intermediates who have low digital skills and rarely connect to the Internet ;
- The excluded who have no autonomy in the use of digital tools, sometimes due to particular situations such as severe disability or illiteracy.
Lack of access to technology is of course linked to the difficulties faced by homeless people and people living below the poverty line. How do they manage, for example, to carry out administrative procedures, to Pole Emploi, or to Social Security, when they do not have computers or internet connections, while the total dematerialisation of many essential public services is intensifying. (2) ? This is the question posed by the sociologist-research director at the CNRS, Dominique Pasquier, in her book " The Internet for low-income families" (Edition Presse des Mines, October 2018). 
A new study by the Mazars Institute, "The French and the transformation of the public service", carried out by OpinionWay on 5 and 6 February this year, shows that 47% of the French consider that the digitalisation of the public service is still complicated.
This was also the subject of a conference-debate proposed to the general public in Belgium by the Commission of the European Communities. ACRF-Femmes en milieu rural last January: the "digital divide", a relatively recent term, brings together the inequalities linked to the new Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Inequalities that are sources of social exclusion for people who cannot access and contribute to information and networks. A new space of inequalities for those who combine social and digital precariousness.
Because the real and virtual worlds are intertwined and digital technology has an impact on all facets of life, Emmaus Connect makes it possible to contribute to a modern and inclusive society, where digital technology should also be an opportunity for the most disadvantaged.

(1) : Antony, Paris, Saint-Denis, Bordeaux, Lyon, Grenoble, Marseille
(2) The complete dematerialization of administrative procedures is expected by 2022.

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