Acta Vista: building in order to rebuild

Acta Vista is based in Marseille and gets people back to work by involving them in the protection and restoration of the region’s key built heritage sites. Its employees work on sites such as the former military fort on the Cride Peninsula and the Hôpital Caroline, with the aim being to offer employees solid training to equip them for the future. Details about the projects run with the Foundation.

 

“Acta Vista is heavily invested in serving local heritage and is well known for the quality of its work. By supporting this project, we are addressing two concerns: encouraging vulnerable or marginalised people to return to work and contributing to the conservation of outstanding sites.”
Fanny Butruille

Acta Vista has been making sustainable back-to-work schemes its core business since 2002. The organisation has achieved tangible results when advising businesses, offering assistance, setting up projects, managing projects and running back-to-work schemes. So what is its speciality? Conserving and renovating exceptional heritage sites in the PACA (Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur), Val de Loire and Luberon regions of France. Acta Vista makes use of practical learning. It runs back-to-work and vocational training schemes in heritage-related trades. The beneficiaries learn a trade by working on prestigious buildings, with the aim being for them to gain sustainable employment. 

Over 400 people hired and trained annually, one-third are under 26. 

92% of employees gain a qualification.
60% of scheme leavers secure a job or a place on a further training course. 

Each person hired and trained by Acta Vista generates a €7-10,000 saving for the local council, making for a total of over €2 million per annum (McKinsey 2010 study). 

Protecting exceptional heritage sites off the coast of Marseille
Acta Vista is particularly active along the coastline of the Calanques (rocky creeks) area. The organisation has done development work in Gardiole and Fontasse and has done maintenance work on the ramparts of Ganteaume and Entrecasteaux Forts. In late 2007, Acta Vista turned its attention to the restoration of the hôpital Caroline (an isolation hospital for patients with infectious diseases) on the Frioul Islands. The project harnessed 40 people who had to travel backwards and forwards between Marseille and the island. Transport became a crucial issue for the Acta Vista teams. A semi-rigid boat was bought with the Foundation’s support to make the organisation more independent and improve its response capacity.
Acta Vista-d
6:30am in Marseille’s Vieux Port: every working day, 58 Acta Vista back-to-work employees take the ferry to the Frioul Islands...



Restoring Cride Fort
In 2012, Acta Vista got involved in a large project - restoring Cride Fort, a 17th military structure. This was a three-phase project, with each phase lasting 12 months, and helped create employment in the West Var jobs market. The project revolved around 45 job seekers under the age of 26 with no qualifications who were excluded from conventional training pathways but were keen to work in the building trade, being hired, trained and obtaining qualifications. Work on the site alternated with training delivered by Bao, Acta Vista’s own training body.
 
This training was supported by the Veolia Foundation and enabled the young people who completed the scheme to sit an examination to become a skilled heritage restoration worker (built heritage bricklayers), assessed and certified by France’s Council for Architecture, Urban Planning and the Environment. The training and qualification programme was part of Sanary-sur-Mer’s rollout of the Agenda 21 UN action plan.
 
From 2013 to 2015, this training scheme enabled three of the fort’s facades to be renovated. The North, South and West Facades were renovated with the moat being excavated and rubble being removed, scaffolding being erected, the walls being chipped away, hazardous sections of masonry being removed, masonry being restored and each façade being pointed. The terrace roof was also waterproofed.
 
In 2015, Acta Vista turned its attention to the internal and external restoration of the fort. The team of young people on the back-to-work scheme had to excavate the interior floors, build a staircase on the West façade, strip down and totally clean out the interiors, seal and pave the terrace, apply the finish plaster to the terrace and seal the battery foundations, reinforce the eastern moat's retaining wall, do brickwork on the perimeter wall, and finally build and install the wooden observation tower and restore the old pump house.
 
Opening a school
This Acta Vista project was devised in partnership with Sanary-sur-Mer council and the local Maritime Prefecture and involves opening a water sports and scuba diving school on the Cride Peninsula. The school will be a tourist attraction and will showcase the collections of the town’s Musée Frédéric Dumas, will raise the awareness of visitors about the coastline’s rich biodiversity, and will give them the opportunity to enjoy the thrill of scuba diving, thanks to the patronage of Oceans Future, run by Jean-Michel Cousteau.
  
Destination: the Frioul Islands to restore the hôpital Caroline
In 2017, Acta Vista set up a new project - restoring the hôpital Caroline on Ratonneau Island, one of the islands in the Frioul archipelago. This long-term project has already mobilized close to 300 people on back-to-work contracts. These workers have reinforced seven of the hospital’s 12 buildings and have completed the restoration of one of them, the Chevalier Roze building. The organisation has set itself the goal of recruiting and training some 100 people who are out of touch with the job market in order to step up its work. It also plans to forge operational links with the Veolia Group to facilitate the recruitment of its workers once they have completed the back-to-work scheme. The Foundation’s assistance is backed up by the support of the Veolia teams in South-East France and the teams notably help with enhancing the back-to-worker employees’ personal safety skills.

In 2019, the Acta Vista teams are focusing on the Fort Saint-Nicolas entrusted to it by the city of Marseille. Still as part of its integration projects, the restoration of the fort, which has been under way for several years, is gradually moving to the upper part of the building.

Acta Vista now recruits and trains an annual total of over 350 people on back-to-work contracts. One-third of these workers are under 26. 96% of the workers achieve a qualification at the end of the scheme and over 60% secure employment. Back-to-work schemes can foster a sense of community when workers safeguard local heritage to the benefit of all.
 
Pâquerette Demotes-Mainard
“Reviving restored sites”
 
Interview with Pâquerette Demotes-Mainard, Acta Vista’s cultural projects and partnerships coordinator.
Acta Vista-e
“It is very enriching to produce such stunning work”

Interview with Harmony Rochais, trainer-technical supervisor responsible for the carpentry workshop.
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“Motivated and supported employees quickly become independent workers”

Interview with Thomas Fray, heritage bricklaying trainer and technical supervisor.
 

“I’m enthusiastic about this project which combines employment, development of the local economy and raising awareness about biodiversity.”
Paul-Emile Roblez

Acta Vista and Bao’s teams have about forty staff (back-to-work project managers, administrative personnel, site managers/trainers, supervisors, foremen, environmental engineers, etc), who have supervised 2,800 employees in back-to-work projects since 2002 with a success rate of 40 % finding work on average and 60 % obtaining qualifications. In respect of its socially useful work, Acta Vista is approved as being “Socially Responsible” and has several certifications confirming its priority commitment to the environment, including “Protection of the environment” accreditation and ISO 14001.
 
Furthermore, Acta Vista has set up the “Vitruvius for heritage and humanity” fund, in order to make clearer how it manages grants and ensures their full traceability.
The news was revealed on 22 December by François Hollande, the President of France, at an event held at the Elysée Palace. Acta Vista, association supported by the Veolia Foundation, was among the 16 winners chosen from the 850 projects submitted to the La France s’engage call for projects.

More information on the news corner.
  • A professional, quality-approved initiative
    Acta Vista and Bao’s teams have about forty staff (back-to-work project managers, administrative personnel, site managers/trainers, supervisors, foremen, environmental engineers, etc), who have supervised 2,800 employees in back-to-work projects since 2002 with a success rate of 40 % finding work on average and 60 % obtaining qualifications. In respect of its socially useful work, Acta Vista is approved as being “Socially Responsible” and has several certifications confirming its priority commitment to the environment, including “Protection of the environment” accreditation and ISO 14001.
     
    Furthermore, Acta Vista has set up the “Vitruvius for heritage and humanity” fund, in order to make clearer how it manages grants and ensures their full traceability.
  • Acta Vista, winner of "La France s'engage"
    The news was revealed on 22 December by François Hollande, the President of France, at an event held at the Elysée Palace. Acta Vista, association supported by the Veolia Foundation, was among the 16 winners chosen from the 850 projects submitted to the La France s’engage call for projects.

    More information on the news corner.