In 2014, the Societe Generale Corporate Foundation supported chef Alain Ducasse's "Femmes en avenir" project, which provided isolated women in the Paris area with training in catering. The success of the Parisian version of the project made us eager to continue the adventure in 2015 with its new offshoot in Marseille: "Des Etoiles et des Femmes" (Stars and Women).

This project provides women from the disadvantaged northern neighbourhoods of Marseille, who are alienated from the workplace, with high-quality catering training in Michelin-starred restaurants in Marseille. It aims for excellence and gives the participants the opportunity to train with some of the best restaurateurs in the best possible conditions.

The recruitment session for the first intake took place in Marseille between June and the end of September.

- There were 100 candidates, with 12 winners of 10 different nationalities. And one target: helping women who face the greatest difficulties in finding employment and who mostly live in underprivileged areas of Marseille to train at the catering college for a year, to earn a diploma in cooking.

- Twenty two weeks of theoretical et practical classes at the school, 14 weeks working hands on in some of the city's best restaurants.

"In our sector, you have to look for talent everywhere, cultural differences are really valuable," stresses Alain Ducasse.

The work-study training started in September 2015 and, for one year, the participants will study for their vocational qualification in catering at the apprentice training centre and receive technical training from a top chef. Throughout the course, the participants will also be supported by the PLIE (local integration and employment plan) and DEPART association, to clear other obstacles hampering their return to work (mobility, childcare, etc.).

The Etoiles et des Femmes project is also supported by the Carrefour Foundation, Solidarity Accor and the Caritas Foundation.

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