Training and employment opportunities inside the well-being sector for visually impaired practitioners - AlterMassage

Competing for the Convergences Europe Awards, the Training and Employment Project for visually impaired practitioners borne by AlterMassage aims at fighting unemployment among the visually impaired, allowing them to train and get into employment.

Why this Training and Employment Project for visually impaired practitioners?

In France, unemployment rates of visually impaired or blind people between 25 and 49 years old reaches almost 30% ( 8% for the general public). Meanwhile, a study reveals that one out of five European employees declares suffering from stress-related health problems due to work. Such findings are evidence of an urgent need for change and it is in this context that companies today have obligations on these two major issues: the integration of persons with disabilities and the prevention of psychosocial risks due to work.

What is the solution to the problem of unemployment among people with vision impairments?

The L’OCCITANE Foundation, AlterMassage and Training and Vocational Rehabilitation Centre (CFRP) wished to hit these two targets with one stone. The L’OCCITANE Foundation, committed in the sight impairment cause, initiated the creation of “Wellness Practitioner” training programme for the visually impaired practitioners, makings sense with the core business of the group. This trainning programme is now driven by the CFRP of the Valentin Haüy Association (VHA) which trains a dozen people every yea. AlterMassage supported at its start in 2014 by the L’OCCITANE Foundation, now provides services designed and conducted by trained practitioners. The structures are managed together to design and implement services of wellness by visually impaired practitioners, today highly recognized by clients.

Project’s Impact :

The partnership allows the project to have a positive impact on the employment of visually impaired people and the quality of life at work.

On the employment part, the CFRP of the VHA monitors its trainees from the welfare practitioner training. Most of them become self-entrepreneurs and AlterMassage stays the major employer of graduates. More qualitatively AlterMassage allows its disabled employees to reinforce their skills.

On the stress at work part, a project of CSR performance measurement is being designed to demonstrate the benefits and effectiveness of our services to clients.

What partnerships were involved to implement the project?

AlterMassage , the CFRP of the Valentin Haüy Association and the L’OCCITANE Foundation gathered around a common goal which is the professional integration of visually impaired and blind people in the welfare sector.

The tripartite partnership was built step by step, from 2009 on, and each of the partners  played a clear and complementary role: financial support and creation of the training programme by the L’OCCITANE Foundation in both structures, recruitment partnership between AlterMassage and the CFRP. United together, the partners have fostered a favourable ecosystem in France for the employability of visually impaired people in the field of wellness, a key area for companies to improve their social performance and quality of life at work.

An innovative partnership for training and employment of visually impaired people.

The complementary strengths of each partner allowed to initiate and implement a “Wellness Practitioner” training for the visually impaired, the recognition of the training programme by the state and promising opportunities on the job market. This would not have been possible without increased mobilization of several partners. AlterMassage also offers innovative approaches to consider the employability of its practitioners: in addition to massages, they develop skills in value-added functions ( such as management, accounting, etc.), thereby changing the image of disability in the workplace and promoting long term professional integration.