At a time when the All Saints holidays begin, a number of leisure facilities and colonies are facing a shortage of candidates holding the Bafa, the certificate of aptitude for the functions of animator. “Several of our leisure centers have been forced to reduce the number of places offered to families by 10%”, deplores Jean-Daniel Lemercier, director of the Rural Families federation of Ille-et-Vilaine.
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His testimony is consistent with the survey conducted among around 1,200 associative structures by the professional organization Hexopée, including The cross reveals the main lessons here: 82% of popular education players encounter recruitment difficulties. Among them, 75% say they have difficulty recruiting in the specific field of animation. In this sector, which employs more than half of the animators, 10% of jobs remain unfilled. A rate that climbs to 41% in small structures where part-time work, often suffered, is the most developed.
Covid effect and structural reasons
“In particular, a Covid effect”, continues Jean-Daniel Lemercier. “Many Bafa training sessions have been canceled since the start of 2020. However, most of the holders of this certificate work for a few years as facilitators, in recreation centers or summer camps, then move on. There is therefore a strong need for renewal. “
But the reasons are also structural. There is the cost of the training, around 800 or 900 €. A factor on which the government intends to play with the announcement in The cross by the Secretary of State for Youth and Commitment Sarah El Haïry of aid of € 200 which will be allocated in 2022 to 20,000 young people. Many municipalities or departments also offer training assistance, sometimes through voluntary engagement for the benefit of the community.
“The question of remuneration and development prospects is also central”, notes David Cluzeau, CEO of Hexopée. This explanatory element is cited by 24% of respondents, just after the proposed times (34%).
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These two factors often combine. ” We ask our animators to mobilize nearly 50 hours per week, with great responsibilities (up to 8 children from kindergarten and 12 from elementary school), for a remuneration that starts at 35 € per day, notes Laetita Vigourt, director of the socio-cultural center Léo Lagrange, in Roye (Somme). Even though our municipality finances training in Bafa for 9 people, in exchange for volunteer hours, many young people prefer to turn to small jobs that are less time-consuming and better paid… ”, she notes.
A puzzle for rural communities
The associative structures, which according to Hexopée hire a little more than half of the animators, are not the only ones to be confronted with this shortage. Communities, too, are sometimes forced to downsize, or even to close leisure centers. “In our territories, the holders of Bafa are few, deplores Michel Fournier, president of the Association of rural mayors of France. However, many municipalities need their service at the same time, especially on Wednesdays. “
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Small towns are in fact often the most affected by this lack of organizers, abounds Delphine Labails, PS mayor of Périgueux (Dordogne) and president of the education commission at the Association of Mayors of France. “The legislation provides for the possibility of employing 20% of non-staff on animation missions. In town, certain municipal employees are often called upon. A possibility that the villages often do not have ”, she decrypts.
The government will soon submit to the actors of the sector the idea of lowering the age from 17 to 16 years for taking the Bafa and, therefore, to exercise the functions of facilitator, with an audience sometimes barely younger. “It would not be absurd”, reacts Delphine Labails. “Civic service shows that some young people are mature enough to get involved from the age of 16. “
All the more so as this commitment also sometimes opens up professional prospects. “Bafa is also a gateway to the animation industry, since some choose to make it their job in the long term”, recalls David Cluzeau. “It is urgent to counteract its decline in attractiveness. Otherwise, the entire branch is in danger ”, warns the CEO of Hexopée.