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Pay what you can afford at the garage for jobless

Staff are unemployed or homeless and they get a chance of training for a new life

A garage is enjoying success with a new way of working – by hiring long-term unemployed and asking customers to pay only what they can afford.

Mobilités ‘garage solidaire’ in Toulouse has eight workers, including one homeless man, and all had been either jobless for some time or could not get training.

Hedi Bourdala, who heads the association that founded the garage, said: “Our goal is to help those who are unemployed or those who have difficulties in getting a job set foot in the work market, and help make car costs affordable for everyone”.

He told Connexion that car costs took about a third of a person’s annual revenue, so Mobilités decided to offer prices depending on how much customers could afford.

“We are based on trust – but we must ask for some paperwork to determine the best price to assign to our client.”

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Working alongside Pôle Emploi and other agencies and with government and local council funding, they offer employees contracts for 24 months during which they are trained by professionals and prepared for better chances in the future.

“We also guide those who intend to take the CAP mechanics exam by giving them few classes.”

Customers are also asked to play a part and asked to give classes if they have skills that could be passed on to the workers.

Mr Bourdala added: “We had a bigger garage when we first started, and we used to give music and language classes to the city residents as well.”

The association was created in 2005 by a group of social workers who aimed to help those finding it difficult to break into the job market.

The garage was founded shortly after, and has been growing in business ever since, attracting people from farther afield.

Today, Mobilités offers a wide range of services, such as car and motorcycle rental with prices from €10 a day and accompanied visits to help customers buy used cars.

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