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backtoworkA local French group is helping women get back to work after spending a period of time out of the workplace.

Called Back to Work Léman, the group aims to provide both locals and expats with the skills they need to take up employment again.  By putting on a wide variety of presentations and workshops in the Pays de Gex region, the organization hopes that many of its members will gain the confidence to apply for work in the area.

With 120 people on its mailing list, of which 50 are active members, Back to Work Léman has become increasingly popular in recent months. With activities ranging from presentations on how to prepare a business plan and social networking, to workshops on public speaking, IT and CV preparation, it is no surprise that membership has increased so rapidly since the organization was launched in 2009.  With an enrolment fee of just 20 euros it represents excellent value for money, even with the additional registration costs required by some of the events.

Whilst most of the presentations and workshops are run in French, the organization acknowledges that many of its members are English-speaking and aims to provide more sessions in English in the future. However, according to Back to Work founders Marie-Christine Delafontaine and Véronique Deruaz, many of its Anglophone members are actually grateful for the opportunity to practice their French in a warm and welcoming environment with like-minded individuals.

She adds,” Many of our presenters, such as those working in the UN and the NGOs, prefer to speak in their mother tongue.  We are happy to let them speak English since most of our francophone members understand the language and it is a wonderful opportunity for them to brush up on their language skills too!”

She continues, “We have no intention of replacing the many other organizations in the region that have been set up to help people get back to work.  Instead, we see ourselves as a complimentary service, designed to help women find the necessary time for themselves, so that they may build up their confidence and acquire the skills required to find a new post suited to their changed circumstances.”

For further information on Back to Work Léman, visit the group’s newly launched blog at http://backtoworkleman.over-blog.com/.  It includes a selection of articles on finding work, as well as a full program of activities for March.

The most recent event in the Back to Work Léman program was a session on “relooking”, presented by image counselor, Lia Chambaz.  For further details on this and other sessions, contact Marie-Christine and Véronique by email on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.