Reflections over the TAPAJ programme, (alternative jobs paid daily), a practical instrument of social revalorization through vocational integration
As part of a series of meetings organized for the Dianova International annual general meeting, a round-table meeting was held to discuss the challenges of an innovative alternative practice in the area of social exclusion.
The TAPAJ programme, established in Quebec for more than 10 years now and in France since 2012, offers young people facing social exclusion a way to reduce the social risk associated with their situation.
With participants from Spain, the host country, from Canada, France and Portugal, the meeting allowed a history of activities related to this program to be outlined and discussion of the benefits of continuing to roll out this approach internationally. The conversations served to confirm the relevance of the principles underlying the TAPAJ program, but also highlighted shortcomings in terms of the individuals targeted y these practices. Thus, the program has managed to benefit hugely vulnerable target groups in both Catalonia and Lisbon relatively easily but the beneficiaries had a very different age profile. Moreover, the concept of vagrancy, which makes this method more relevant in France, is far less evident in other regions.
Finally, the issue of payment is at the heart of discussions about the TAPAJ program. In fact, the original vehicle proposed in Quebec as an alternative source of income to street activities (begging, washing car windows, prostitution, etc.) and implemented within the framework of the North American regulatory system requires a much more sophisticated implementation in European countries where labour laws prohibit payment for work in cash.
The model, which offers the individuals concerned (the Tapajeurs) the opportunity to work for a few hours a day in return for a payment at the end of the day (4 hrs/€40 in France), also relies on securing contracts with public institutions, in addition to private companies, with the latter being targeted as a priority in order to diversify sources of income. The formula is therefore twice as complex and the organizations supporting the project are tasked with making access straightforward, both for the Tapajeurs and for the contracting companies.
With this task in mind, the workshop participants exchanged views with the aim of establishing guidelines to make the roll out of this program feasible internationally by defining “invariable factors” which would enable consolidation of the overall practice while maintaining sufficient flexibility to adapt the practice to local and national contexts.
A group of experts consisting of Gilles Beauregard, Director of Spectre de rue (Montreal), Jean-Hugues Morales, TAPAJ France Coordinator, and Serge Bruneau, Consultant at the International Centre for the Prevention of Crime (Montreal), will continue to consider the international expansion of TAPAJ. The plenary meeting presentation gave participants an idea of the underlying principles and methods involved in this project and about the debate surrounding this alternative practice of social regeneration through vocational integration.