Video. At 79, this retired lawyer gets his CAP as a carpenter

Alain Geisz in front of one of the pieces of furniture he had to make during his apprenticeship. “I started it again, here, at home! “Smiles the former lawyer. ©L’Orne Hebdo

With disconcerting humility, Alain Geisz does not, however, sulk his pleasure in announcing that at 79 years oldhe has just picked up his second CAP!

Graduated from a DESS in Civil Lawthis Ornais by adoption, born in January 1943, has spent his entire career in Alencon Bar (Orne) of which he was one of presidents.

First degree in 1968

To practice, he had to obtain the Certificate of aptitude for the profession of lawyer : “my first CAP”, he confides, his mischievous gaze behind his rimless glasses. It was in 1968.

In 1972, the young lawyer had joined the bar of Alençon. “It was at the time when there were still attorneys, court officers. The lawyers then had only to plead”, recalls the honorary lawyer who asserted his rights to retired in 2014after a few thousand cases processed.

The need to work with one’s hands

Since then, those who call themselves “multi-active” have been enjoying their hobbies: the shot (he has been a member of the Association de tir civil et de la police d’Alençon (ATCPA) since 2008), but also cabinetmaking.

I have always worked with wood. It is a tradition in the family to work with one’s hands. We feel the need! My father was a surgeon and when he was not operating, he worked wrought iron.

Alain Geisz, honorary lawyer from Alençon

When he was neither in his office nor in the courtroom, Alain Geisz swapped his lawyer’s robe for his overalls.amateur cabinetmaker.

“I restored tables, I made small pieces of furniture,” he adds, showing a chair here, a box of paintings there for his wife Brigitte, who is just as skilful with her hands for embroidery and painting on porcelain.

It is besides Brigitte who triggers the resumption of studies of Alain Geisz. “In shooting, Sylvain Milcent, a friend of mine, is a trainer at the apprentice training center in Alençon. He attended the Boule school and specializes in marquetry. He had invited me to the CFA open house. »

No age limit!

In June 2019, Alain Geisz went there “to see”. And come out spellbound. ” It was very interesting “.

However, it remains there. “My wife went back and asked if there was an age limit for registering for the CFA. He was told no. She then asked to register me! », Still laughs Alain Geisz, who made his comeback the following September.

“Obviously, at my age, I was exempt from finding a business,” he jokes. He was registered in “free student” and attended only the practical courses in the workshops. This earned him funding for his training. He was the cost of the latter, but points out that “it’s hourly pay.

As he contributed to the right to training for 46 years, he has, at the time of his retirement, “recovered a small jackpot”.

This budget dedicated to his CAP therefore also contributed to his motivation: “I had to pass my exam for the return on investment! »

Alain Geisz and his first achievements,
Alain Geisz and his first achievements, “as an exercise”, as an apprentice carpenter. ©L’Orne Hebdo

“Are we still learning at my age? »

But its real thirst for learning is the first trigger of his commitment.

This has always been my philosophy: I have always learned all my life. Because obviously, I don’t know everything! And I was very intrigued to know if, at my age, one could still learn.

To convince himself of this, Alain Geisz therefore took up the challenge “to pass a CAP”.

His denim overall fitted on the shoulders, his safety shoes on his feet and his schoolbag “ filled with “a saw, a plane, a chisel, a square and something to draw”, the apprentice carpenter thus patiently learned “to saw, sand, cut, glue”, but also “cutting, planing and planing” the wood to give life, first to a mallet, then to a small table, a small chest of drawers and finally a larger TV stand. “It was our exercises! “, he points out.

He details: “Contrary to my leisure hours devoted to catering, there I discovered production. I learned to work on large machines that often have to be used by two people for safety reasons. But what was quite difficult for me was to stay up for seven hours. Physically, it’s a very hard job.. »

And which requires a great rigor. “We work at 10e of a millimeter. The finer the line on the wooden board, the more precise it is. You have to be very demanding in this job, there is almost no room. And if it doesn’t work, we start over! »

Alain Geisz, here alongside his wife Brigitte, who enrolled him in the CFA, and for whom he made small wooden furniture before his CAP, including this paint box.
Alain Geisz, here alongside his wife Brigitte, who enrolled him in the CFA, and for whom he made small wooden furniture before his CAP, including this paint box. ©L’Orne Hebdo

“They sometimes ventured to ask me my age”

He says he was “very well received by the teachers” and “very helped” by his young friends. “They encouraged me and when my pieces weren’t finished on time, they gave me a hand. »

From this return to school at the age of 79, Alain Geisz has also kept a few anecdotes.

In the canteen queue, some students took me for a teacher and wanted to let me pass! When I told them that I was a student, they sometimes ventured to ask me my age. Precisely because of my age, sometimes I was also allowed to take a coffee break in the teachers’ room.

He also discovered the nickname of the apprentices. “We often hear: ‘Come here, my rabbit!’ But in reality, it is the companions that we call the rabbits! »

He also remembers that “in the establishment, everyone is polite and says hello”.

A moment of panic

In June 2022he took the examwith another free student comrade, at the Laplace high school in Caen (Calvados).

For a test on safety and the environment, a technology test “which consists of making plans and diagrams”, and two days of practical test “of seven hours each, with a lunch break of three-quarters of hour “.

A pace which makes him say that “it was no picnic! »

I almost left during exams. I had a moment of panic thinking that I wasn’t going to make it.

“Apprentices are just as deserving as graduates”

Alain Geisz is an ardent defender of apprentices and manual workers. “Always,” he insists. “Particularly because I met a lot of them when I was a lawyer”.
But surely even more since he completed his apprenticeship. “At the same time, making a distinction between manual labor and intellectual labor is absurd. Manual labor is a series of intellectual labors. Carpentry, for example, requires more rigor than that required in general education and they have to work in a limited time. »
And the newly graduated apprentice concludes: “All those who obtain a CAP are just as deserving as all those who obtain their Bac! »

His best average

In July, after a few sleepless nightsit is febrile that Alain Geisz has connected to the internet to get the results.

“Those of the CAP are published last, after those of the Bac and all the others. It is not normal ! “, he curses.

Verdict: received with 14.43 overall average. “It’s the best I’ve ever had so far!” he exclaims with a burst of laughter before confirming that yes, you can learn at any age.

But my difficulty is that I forget quickly now. So I have to repeat and practice constantly.

What he strives to do on a daily basis in the beautiful studio of his Héloup’s home, at the gates of Alençon. And without stress, this time.

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