At the Parthenay Solidarity FabLab, Christopher is getting a different kind of training

Christopher, aged 20 and looking for a job, turned to the Parthenay FabLab, the Parth’Lab. A great discovery for this young IT developer, which has turned out to be a great training opportunity.

Christopher Parthenay
For Christopher, it all started at the Local Outreach Office. After helping him over the course of several job searches in the Poitou-Charentes region of south-western France, his case officer suggested that he look at the Parth’Lab, a FabLab based in his home town of Parthenay. The idea piqued Christopher’s interest, and he contacted David, the site’s FabManager. After a meeting and several discussions, he joined our Solidarity FabLabs programme: "I didn’t really know much about FabLabs, so I was pretty nervous when I started. I got over that fast, because everyone is really nice but we work hard and learn a lot. And it’s really fun."

Christopher is at ease with new technologies. After completing a vocational baccalaureate in Electronic Engineering in Lyon "to stay with my friends", he earned a higher national diploma in IT Services for Businesses. Thanks to his education, he has solid programming skills: "I started studying programming in secondary school, and since I liked it I decided to go on and do a 2-year degree in IT."

"Everyone is really nice. But we work hard and learn a lot."

The next step was harder. After finishing his diploma, Christopher enrolled at ENI, an IT school with a campus in Niort which offers work-linked training. Christopher spent several months looking for a local company for his apprenticeship. In vain: "By December or January, I decided to give up on finding a company for an apprenticeship and started to look for a job. That’s when I signed up at the Local Outreach Office."

Learning differently

Our Solidarity FabLabs programme turned out to be the perfect solution for Christopher. After joining the programme in February, he quickly got into the heart of the subject: he helped create an electronic car which can be driven by smartphone, before starting on a more personal project, "an arcade joystick for retro computer games." These two projects helped him develop new skills and round out his skills as a developer: "I didn’t know how to do any of the technical stuff, like welding. It was the same for the machines, I didn’t know anything about laser cutters or 3D printers. So I learned how to use them."

christopher fablab solidarity parthenay
Christopher working on a joystick for retro video games

His experience at the Parthenay Solidarity FabLab is a clear asset in his job search. And while his new skills as a maker are important, he prefers to focus on the importance of teamwork: "I work in development, and that’s often a team job. When you say that you’ve worked on a FabLab project, even if it wasn’t in IT it’s still teamwork. So that’s definitely an advantage, it’s a good thing to be able to put on your CV."

Christopher weldingParth'lab fablab solidarity
Welding, one of the many skills Christopher has developed since joining the FabLab.
voiture Parth'Lab fablab solidarity christopher
The prototype of the electronic car that Christopher worked on.

6 months after he first visited the Parth’Lab, Christopher is a firm believer in the educational role played by FabLabs: "It helps you learn things in different ways. Since it’s a group project, you help each other a lot and it really inspires you to get involved in the projects." In Parthenay, like in all Solidarity FabLabs, group work and helping each other are key. Christopher has no plans of stopping: "As soon as I find a job, I’ll find another FabLab and get involved in the solidarity projects it offers." To take a turn sharing his skills.

Learn more
View all of the Solidarity FabLabs in France on our interactive map.

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