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This website as well as the publications and online tools accessible via this website may contain UK data and analysis based on research conducted before the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union on 31 January 2020. EU averages or other statistical parameters including the UK reflect the situation in the European Union before 31 January 2020 and should not be considered as representative of the situation in the EU thereafter. Any data or information pertaining to the UK will be gradually phased out from Cedefop’s website, publications and online tools, as ongoing research projects with the United Kingdom’s participation are concluded. Data coming from UK were collected, processed and published before its withdrawal from the EU. Therefore, EU averages contain UK related data up to 2019.

General themes

The main features of the French VET system are:

  • all IVET qualifications can be obtained either in school-based VET or through an apprenticeship, or by validation of informal and non-formal learning;
  • early leaving in education and training is low and has been below the national target in the last five years;
  • in 2018, one third of all upper secondary learners were following vocational programmes;
  • there are more VET learners in post-secondary VET and their number is on the rise; the share of learners in the short cycle of upper secondary VET is decreasing ([1]Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques, 2018 [Benchmarks and statistics, 2018], pp. 253, 259.
    http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf
    ).

Distinctive features:

Right to education The State ensures the principles of equal opportunities and the right to education. It has the obligation to organise public education that is free of charge and secular.

Role of the social partners The social partners have an essential role in regulatory, political and financial aspects of lifelong learning programmes. The inter-professional agreements they sign were the basis for the introduction of reforms up to 2018, and are generally reflected in legislative and regulatory documents. Social partners also manage different bodies that fund apprenticeship and vocational training schemes for small companies, as well as the unemployment insurance system for job-seekers.

Obligation to contribute financially to CVET French CVET is distinguished by the existence of compulsory contributions allocated to a particular purpose, reflecting the desire to encourage companies to train their staff. The rate is set by law, but some professional branches have applied rates above the legal minimum.

Recognition of ‘individual rights’ to training Another distinctive feature is the recognition of ‘individual rights’ to training, designed to promote social progress and reduce inequalities in access to training. The best known are the recently introduced personal training account (compte personnel de formation, CPF) and the individual training leave named ‘CPF for career transition’ (CPF de transition). The purpose of the CPF is to support the use of an ‘individual right’ scheme, by making it more accessible to all (employed and unemployed) and more portable from one company to another.

Decentralisation / leadership role of regions The law of 2014 brought to a conclusion to the process of decentralisation. It gave regions full authority over vocational training, career advice and coordinating job support policies. Regions develop training policies adapted to their needs and implement them within regional public training (SPRF) and guidance (SPRO) services. Regions are now able to define and manage territorial public policies and can articulate their strategies on VET and economic developments. Since 2019 the Regions are no longer competent for the management of training in apprenticeship provision.

Foster key competences The common set of knowledge, competences and culture was (re)designed in 2015 to ensure the acquisition of key competences in compulsory education (6-16 years) and help learners succeed in VET. The new setting entered into force in 2016-17. It includes personalised support to students throughout their education path.

Strengthen the use of digital technology in education In 2015 France established a three-year digital plan for education to pilot new forms of teaching and learning. The aim is to mainstream digital technology in primary and lower secondary education by providing technical resources, teacher training and funding.

Ease career transition The main aim of the new career guidance service (conseil en évolution professionnelle, CEP) is to offer the employed and unemployed support for personal career transitions and suitable training. This requires coordinated actions among national and regional actors, and active social partner involvement. The service is linked to the personal training account (CPF).

Developing quality processes in CVET According to 2015 legislation, as of 2016 the main CVET funding bodies must ensure the quality of the training they finance, based on predefined criteria. The 2018 reform plans for a new quality framework to apply from 2021 onwards.

Facilitate access to training The active population in the public and private sectors has online access to information related to their personal training account (CPF). Each individual’s rights are entitled in Euro and, by the end of 2019, a digital application will make it easier for beneficiaries to enrol directly in training courses.

Upskilling low-qualified youth and unemployed

The Investment in skills plan (PIC) aims at training and supporting the access to employment of one million young people and one million job seekers. It is funded up to EUR 15 billion for the period 2017-22. The plan links skills needs analysis and innovation with the provision of new training paths.

Population in 2018: 66 926 166 ([2]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series; provisional in 2018. Source: Eurostat, tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

Population increased by 2% since 2013 ([3]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series; provisional in 2018. Source: Eurostat, tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].). This is mainly due to natural growth (France has one of the highest fertility rates in the EU) as well as to positive net migration.

In 2014, there were 6 million immigrants living in France (9.1% of the population), of whom 43.8% (2.61 million) were from Africa. The proportion of immigrants from Europe remains large, though falling: it was 36.1% in 2014, as compared with 50% in 1990. 14.5% of France’s immigrants are from Asia ([4]Insee - Charts of the French economy - 2018 edition:
https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/3353488
).

As people live longer, France’s population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 29 in 2015 to 43 in 2060 ([5]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to national statistics, since 1980, the number of people aged 60 or more has grown from 17% to 25.9%, and their proportion in the French population as a whole is almost the same as that of young people aged under 20 (respectively 24.1% and 25.9%) ([6]Insee - Tableaux de l’économie française, édition 2018 [Charts of the French economy, 2018 edition]:
https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/3353488
).

Most companies are very small: 72% have no employees and 23% have between one and nine employees ([7]Insee - Tableaux de l’économie française, édition 2018 [Charts of the French economy, 2018 edition]:
https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/3353488
).

The economy depends primarily on the tertiary sector. The proportion of the different sectors in terms of gross added value generated in 2016 is:

  • services (commercial and non-commercial) (77.3%), with main branches of activities:
    • real estate (13.2%);
    • wholesale and retail trade (17.6%);
    • non-market services (22.7%);
  • industry (14.1%);
  • construction (5.5%);
  • agriculture (1.6%).

In terms of number of enterprises per sector ([8]Of a total of 4 365 347 enterprises listed in 2016; excluding agriculture and non-commercial activities.):

  • wholesale and retail trade (19.26%);
  • ‘professional, scientific and technical activities and administrative and support service activities’ (17.79%);
  • construction (13.49%);
  • ’public administration, education, human health and social work activities’ (13.79%).

Information not available

In 2018 total unemployment ([9]Percentage of active population, aged 25 to 74.) in France was 7.8% (compared with 6% in the EU-28), marking an increase of 1.7 percentage points since 2008 ([10]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary. Education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The economic crisis had less impact on the evolution of unemployment rates of those with medium-level qualifications (including most VET graduates) and with high-level qualifications than for those with low qualifications. However, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) remains higher than in the pre-crisis years.

The unemployment rate of young people (15-24 years old) with low- and medium-level qualifications increased sharply at the beginning of the economic crisis and is still almost three times higher than the general working population.

The employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates has slightly increased from 73.6% in 2014 to 74% in 2018 ([11]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted on 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase in employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 (+0.4pp) was the same as the increase in employment of all 20-34 year olds (+0.4pp) in the same period in France ([12]NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in France please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in France. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/france_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

In 2018, most people in the age group 25-64 in France have a medium-level qualification (42.3%, against 45.7% in the EU) while the share of those with high-level qualifications (36.8%) is higher than the EU average (32.2%). The share of people with no or low-level qualifications (20.6%) is below the EU-28 average (21.8%) but is within the ten highest in the EU.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

For more information about VET in higher education in France please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12b]Cedefop (2019). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 6: vocationally oriented education and training at higher education level. Expansion and diversification in European countries. Case study focusing on France. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/france_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study_0.pdf

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

39.9%

57.1%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [Extracted on 16.5.2019]

The share of learners in upper secondary VET in 2017 decreased by 3.1pp compared to 2013, while the share of VET learners in post-secondary increased by 5.8pp in the same period.

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The rates of access to training for men and women are similar. In the academic years 2014-16, there were more men than women among those who left initial education with a vocational qualification (such as CAP/EQF level 3, a vocational baccalaureate/EQF level 4 or BTS, DUT /EQF level 5) (see figure below)

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques, p. 253 ([13]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

 

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased by 2.9 percentage points, from 12.4% in 2009 to 8.9% in 2018. It has been below the EU average (10.6%) and the national target set (<9.5%) since 2013.

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

National authorities have an obligation to support young people aged 16 to 18 without a diploma and unemployed. There is a training scheme, not leading to qualifications, to support reintegration of early leavers from education and training. The service includes for all beneficiaries:

  • a personalised interview to assess needs, skills and level of education;
  • a training offer and personalised support (a tutor from national education during the training course).

Between 2010 and 2017, the number of people leaving initial training without a diploma was reduced by 42.85% ([14]https://www.education.gouv.fr/cid55632/la-lutte-contre-le-decrochage-scolaire.html%20-%20Les_chiffres_du_decrochage).

Teaching and administrative staff in upper secondary schools involved in the initiative to reduce dropouts from education and training (Mission de lutte contre le décrochage, MLCD) may follow relevant training to acquire the necessary skills (MLCD certificate) ([15]http://eduscol.education.fr/cid55115/mission-de-lutte-contre-le-decrochage.html; Decree 2017-791 of 5 May 2017:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/decret/2017/5/5/MENE1710930D/jo/texte/fr
).

The national youth guarantee scheme (garantie jeunes) targets young people with low education and/or disadvantaged socio-economic background. After a pilot phase begun in 2013, it was made more generally available in 2017. Between October 2013 and July 2018, 229 000 young people benefited from the scheme ([16]DARES (2019). La Garantie jeunes: quels jeunes et quel bilan après cinq and ? [Youth guarantee: assessment after five years]. DARES analyses series, April 2019, No 018.
https://dares.travail-emploi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/dares_analyses_garantie_jeunes_bilan.pdf
).

The Investment in skills plan (PIC) aims at training and supporting the access to employment of one million of young people, including dropouts, by 2022.

Lifelong learning (formation tout au long de la vie) is a national obligation of the State. It covers both initial education and training (general, technological/professional and vocational streams, including apprenticeship) as well as continuing vocational training for adults and young people already engaged in working life ([17]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid217/la-formation-tout-au-long-de-la-vie.html).

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training; break in series.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning has been steady since 2014, slightly increasing by 0.2 percentage points (from 18.4% in 2014 to 18.6% in 2018); it is higher than the EU 28 average (10.8% and 11.1% respectively)

According to national statistics, in 2015-16 73% of people aged 14-22 were in education, i.e. a little more than 15 million learners in total ([18]Insee - Bilan formation-emploi 2018 [Assessment of training and employment 2018]:
https://www.insee.fr/fr/statistiques/2526273
). In 2016, one in two employees participated in a training programme.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Repères et références statistiques 2018, Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research, p. 253 ([19]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf)

 

Share of learners in vocational and vocationally-oriented programmes either in school-based education or in apprenticeship in 2014-16:

  • in VET EQF level 3 programmes (CAP, BEP): 11%
  • in VET EQF level 4 programmes (vocational baccalaureate): 17%
  • in EQF level 4 technological programmes (vocational-oriented): 6%
  • in EQF level 5 post-secondary non-university programmes (DUT, BTS etc.): 13%

National statistics make no differentiation between academic and professional bachelor and master degrees.

The following levels are included in initial education and training:

  • pre-primary (ISCED level 0);
  • primary (compulsory) education for children aged 6-11, (ISCED level 1);
  • lower secondary education for learners aged 12-16 in collèges (ISCED level 2);
  • upper secondary education for learners aged 16-18 (ISCED level 3);
  • tertiary (ISCED level 5) and higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8)

Pre-primary education is optional, but in practice is attended by all children aged three to six.

Primary education is the first part of compulsory education (five years, learners aged 6 to 11); lower secondary marks the end of compulsory education (learners aged 12 - 16) and is delivered in junior high schools (collèges).

In 2017, 5 629 800 pupils were in public and private secondary institutions in mainland France and in the overseas territories ([20]Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques, 2018 [Benchmark and statistics, 2018], p.86.
http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf
). In initial education, each pathway prepares students for an exam to obtain a qualification. Altogether, there are around 15 000 IVET qualifications referenced in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP) ([21]http://www.intercariforef.org/formations/recherche-formations.html;
http://www.cncp.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/media/projet_ra2017ga2.pdf
) and more than 500 000 CVET training programmes referenced by information centres ([22]Database managed by a network of regional information centers:
http://www.intercariforef.org/formations/recherche-formations.html
).

Lower secondary offers general education, but vocational courses preparing students to enter an apprenticeship are also offered. At the end of the cycle, learners pass an exam to obtain the end of lower secondary education certificate (diplôme national du brevet) which is not essential to access upper secondary.

In upper secondary (three years, learners aged 16-18) learners may choose between

  • the general path leading to the end of secondary education general exam (and Baccalauréat degree), opening up access to higher education and tertiary level studies;
  • the technological path leading to the technological baccalaureate which opens up the possibility to follow VET studies offered at EQF levels 5 or 6;
  • the vocational path that includes a two-year path to obtain a professional skills certificate at EQF level 3 (CAP) and a three-year path leading to a vocational baccalaureate at EQF level 4 (BAC-pro). Those with a CAP may also continue in one-year school-based programme to receive the applied arts certificate (EQF level 4).

In tertiary non-academic education there are two-year VET programmes

  • in university technology institutes (IUTs) attached to universities to prepare an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT, EQF level 5);
  • in an advanced technician section in vocational high schools to prepare an advanced technician certificate (BTS).

Professional bachelor (EQF 6) and master (EQF 7) programmes are also offered in parallel to higher education academic studies (EQF levels 6 to 8); the latter are delivered in universities and in public or private higher colleges of excellence (grandes écoles).

In Initial VET the following learning options are available:

  • full-time education in VET schools;
  • work-based learning in school-based VET; which length varies depending on the type and education level of the programme:
    • 50% in EQF 4 upper secondary VET programmes (BAC-pro);
    • 30% in EQF 5 VET programmes (DUT, BTS);
    • 10% in EQF 6 professional bachelors;
    • 30% in EQF 7 professional masters
  • work-based learning delivered as apprenticeship. This type of learning is delivered partly in apprenticeship training centres (CFA) and partly in companies under an apprenticeship (employment) contract.
    • the share of work-based learning (in-company practical training) is 67%.

Types of learning in school-based programmes:

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

Learning forms in continuing VET:

Lifelong learning (formation tout au long de la vie) is a national obligation. It includes both initial education and training (general, technological and vocational streams, including apprenticeship) offered from upper secondary to higher education levels; and continuing vocational training for adults and young people already engaged in working life ([23]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid217/la-formation-tout-au-long-de-la-vie.html). Under this concept, vocational education and training is offered as:

  • initial vocational training for young people, including apprenticeship; it is offered from upper secondary to tertiary education enabling young people to obtain qualifications for the labour market;
  • continuing vocational training for young people who have left or completed initial education ([24]Initial education includes pre-elementary to higher education levels.) and to adult employees, job seekers, civil servants, self-employed workers and business owners. It promotes and supports labour market (re)integration, encourages skills and career development through acquiring new qualifications and contributes to economic and cultural development and social advancement;
  • a scheme that allows adults to gain vocational qualifications through knowledge and skills acquired at work ([25]http://skillpass-game.com/sites/default/files/doc/assembleenationale.pdf).

Since 2009 ([26]Act No 2009-1437 of 24 November 2009 on lifelong career guidance and vocational training:
http://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000021312490
), every working person has a right to a professional qualification. Under this right, the (self-) employed and job seekers may choose a training course that enables them to progress in a career by at least one level, by acquiring a qualification corresponding to the short- or medium-term needs of the economy. This qualification should either be

  • included in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP - Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles);
  • recognised in the professional sector classifications;
  • a certificate of professional qualifications (CQP) recognised by the branches but not attached to a qualification level.

The legal definition of training action was broadened by the law of September 2018, including position tests, distance learning and on-the-job training (Action de formation en situation de travail, AFEST).

The State is the only body that develops qualifications that can be accessed through initial education. All the qualifications developed by the State can also be accessed via lifelong learning and validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience).

Beside formal IVET programmes leading to qualifications issued and recognised by the State, different bodies offer training programmes leading to sectoral vocational qualifications and certificates issued by them.

The methods for accessing different qualifications are flexible. They can be accessed through the initial education system, but also through apprenticeship, continuing vocational training, and validation of non-formal and informal learning ([27]Art L335-5 du Code de l’éducation:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006071191&idArticle=LEGIARTI000006524828
). A qualification acquired through continuing vocational training has exactly the same value as one obtained in initial education.

All VET qualifications offered in school-based and classroom VET programmes may be obtained in apprenticeship; in the latter case, practical training spend in a company covers 60 to 75% of the total programme duration.

A major reform of the vocational training system is under way ([28]The 2018 Bill for the freedom to choose one’s professional future:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=A6446FA6AF9D1ED55743DC8A12894157.tplgfr36s_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037367660&categorieLien=id
) affecting CVET governance, funding mechanisms, and apprenticeship provision. The 2018 Bill defines for apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) the same obligations and quality standards as those for IVET training centres and a new funding model for CFAs and apprenticeship contracts.

All training providers, including apprenticeship training centres, will have to be quality certified by 2021, as long as the training they offer is financed by public funds and mutual funds.

Since 2018, France Compétences is the new governance and monitoring body responsible for VET implementation and financing ([29]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/a...) that will replace and absorb several national instances ([30]Copanef (National Inter-professional Committee for Employment and Training - Comité paritaire interprofessionnel national pour l'emploi et la formation), Cnefop (National Council for Employment, Vocational training and Guidance - Conseil national de l'emploi, de la formation et de l'orientation professionnelle), FPSPP (Joint Fund for professional career security - Fonds paritaire de sécurisation des parcours professionnels) and CNCP (National Committee on Vocational Qualification - Commission nationale de certification professionnelle).).Gradual implementation is foreseen as of 2019. It will distribute the mutual fund envelopes and ensure the equalisation of apprenticeship funds to skills operators (OPCO) ([31]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
) and the regions. Skills operators will manage two envelopes, the financing of alternance training programmes (apprenticeship contracts and professionalisation contracts) and the financing of the training plan for companies ([32]French employers can organise collective training for their employees. All these training sessions are presented in a specific document, the skill development or training plans.) with less than 50 employees. Full implementation and transition from the old system to the new one is to be completed by 2021 ([33]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/refernet-france-reforming-continuing-vocational-training-2018-bill).

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

Governance of the French VET system

Vocational training in France is a matter of shared competences between the State, the regions and representatives of the business world ([34]http://media.eduscol.education.fr/file/dossiers/61/5/formation_professionnelle_VF_151615.pdf).

At State-level, initial VET is mainly regulated by the Ministries of Education (upper secondary VET) and Higher Education (tertiary VET). Different ministries develop VET qualifications and nationally valid certificates. Continuing VET is under the remit of the Ministry of Labour ([35]Adapted from Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
).

Initial vocational education and continuing vocational training are managed by different ministries, have different funding sources and even different objectives. There are qualifying requirements for VET teachers and trainers, and various funding IVET schemes.

IVET

Governance of initial VET

Initial education covers all levels of education from pre-primary to higher education. Initial VET is offered from upper secondary to higher education (EQF levels 3 to 7).

The Ministry of Education and other ministries that develop VET qualifications in their remit:

  • develop standards for IVET qualifications in consultation with business representatives;
  • define examination regulations;
  • issue/award VET qualifications and diplomas;
  • offer various types of training in their institutions for school learners and apprentices;
  • recruit, train and pay teachers;
  • monitor quality of training and training delivery (results and resources used).

The Regions are responsible for the planning and coherence of vocational training in their territories, except for apprenticeship provision. They define their policies according to their economic and social priorities, in consultation with the State and the social partners.

Social partners are the main stakeholders systematically involved in VET implementation. They:

  • contribute to the elaboration of VET qualifications;
  • participate in examination boards;
  • offer in-company training;
  • contribute financially to VET provision (technological and vocational training paths) by paying the apprenticeship tax.

In practice, ministerial advisory professional committees are formed with the participation of social partners to plan the revision of VET qualifications in line with labour market needs.

The national commission for collective bargaining (CNNC) issues opinions on draft legislation (laws, decrees, ordinances) for employment policies, guidance, IVET and CVET policies and training actions financed though calls (training plans) organised by the State ([36]Art. L2227-1 of the Labour Code.
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCode.do?idArticle=LEGIARTI000019870676&idSectionTA=LEGISCTA000006177940&cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006072050&dateTexte=20121101
).

IVET providers

IVET is offered from upper secondary to tertiary/higher education in public and private establishments. In upper secondary three paths are offered: general, technological and vocational (respectively, teaching staff specialise as upper secondary teacher, technological path teacher and VET teacher).

In 2017, upper secondary VET programmes were running in 1456 schools (lycées professionnels) (834 public and 622 private establishments). Upper secondary VET prepares learners for VET qualifications at EQF level 3 and 4; in an advanced technician section learners may also prepare an advanced technician certificate (BTS) (EQF level 5).

Higher education comprises:

  • universities, public establishments which do not have selection processes;
  • university technology institutes (IUTs) attached to universities offering VET programmes leading to an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT) at EQF level 5;
  • a non-university sector made up of higher education elite establishments (Grandes Ecoles), which are only accessible via competitive entrance competitions, and preparatory classes for those establishments ([37]Grance ecoles are tertiary education institutions of excellence operating in limited fields (public administration, science and engineering, humanities and business administration). Access to Grandes Ecoles programmes is possible through a competitive and selective admission procedure (upper secondary – Baccalaureate - graduates, pre-selected based on their school profile and grades, must undertake preparatory classes in a two-year programme with eliminatory examinations at the end of each year). Higher education in French is free, but only the State may issue university degrees and diplomas. Private HE institutions must be accredited or State-labelled (for a validity of six years), through the Commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion (CEFDG). The State-approved label is a recognition procedure conducted by the Ministry of National Education which gives the diploma the value of a national qualification. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of six years. Grandes écoles offering programmes leading to business and management qualifications are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. A State-approved qualification provides access to the LMD cycle (Licence-Master-Doctorat), whether in France or abroad.).

Reforming upper secondary VET

Reforming the upper secondary vocational path started in May 2018; it is part of the national skills strategy and will be developed in line with the regional development strategy ([38]Cedefop (2019). Spotlight on VET – 2018 compilation: vocational education and training systems in Europe. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/publications/4168
). The organisation of the vocational baccalaureate will evolve in September 2019. Whatever the specialty, a set of key skills will be common.

54 hours per year are dedicated to the career guidance project for the transition from upper secondary to higher level studies ([39]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid2604/la-voie-technologique-au-lycee.html#Vers_le_nouveau_baccalaureat_2021). Personalised support focuses on written and oral expression and guidance. It includes:

  • two weeks of orientation dedicated to the discovery of professional sectors;
  • training in higher education;
  • personalised guidance interviews.

A personalised guidance service is in place (reviens te former) ([40]http://reviensteformer.gouv.fr/) for those aged 16-25 with at most an upper secondary baccalaureate but no vocational qualification, wishing to return to education and training to acquire a VET qualification.

CVET

Governance of continuing VET

The vocational training system is managed within the framework of a ‘four-party system‘: the State, the Regions and the social partners (employer representatives and trade unions) contribute to the development and implementation of continuing vocational training and national apprenticeship policy.

The State develops the standards and strategies for vocational training. It guides CVET/apprenticeship policies in order to secure professional careers and access to employment. Three ministries are particularly concerned with continuing vocational training and apprenticeship:

Since 2014, the Regions have been in charge of

  • training specific audiences ([44]People with illiteracy, people with disabilities, prisoners, French people living outside France.) previously under the responsibility of the State;
  • appointing operators to provide professional development advice, as part of the regional public guidance services;
  • organising and financing the regional public service for vocational training ([45]Art. L214-12 à L214-16-2 du Code de l'éducation.).

Social partners have an essential role in regulatory, policy and financial aspects of lifelong learning programmes (IVET and CVET). They:

  • sign inter-professional agreements which are used in shaping reforms and are reflected in legislative and regulatory documents;
  • manage 11 bodies called ‘skills operators’ (OPCOs - Opérateurs de compétences) organised by professional sector. Among their tasks, skills operators can help benefit from mutual funds the SMEs employing fewer than 50 persons, to develop training programmes for their employees (plans de développement des compétences). OPCOs are also responsible for developing apprenticeship and funding the training costs of apprenticeship pathways leading to a qualification.
  • contribute to the development of diplomas by taking part in boards of examiners.

Reforming continuing vocational training

A major reform of the vocational training system is under way. It aims to improve VET attractiveness and responsiveness to the labour market by restructuring its governance, funding mechanisms, and apprenticeship provision.

New governance: the 2018 Law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future ([46]https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=A6446FA6AF9D1ED55743DC8A12894157.tplgfr36s_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037367660&categorieLien=id) established France Competences, a new governance and monitoring body on VET implementation and financing ([47]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/a...). This is a single, four-party public institution operating under the supervision of the Minister in charge of vocational training. France Compétences replaces and absorbs several national bodies on VET implementation and financing ([48]Copanef (National Inter-professional Committee for Employment and Training - Comité paritaire interprofessionnel national pour l'emploi et la formation), Cnefop (National Council for Employment, Vocational training and Guidance - Conseil national de l'emploi, de la formation et de l'orientation professionnelle), FPSPP (Joint Fund for professional career security - Fonds paritaire de sécurisation des parcours professionnels) and CNCP (National Committee on Vocational Qualification - Commission nationale de certification professionnelle).).

France Compétences will distribute the mutual fund envelopes and ensure the equalisation of apprenticeship funds to skills operators (OPCO) ([49]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
) and the regions. Skills operators will manage two envelopes, the financing of alternance training programmes (apprenticeship contracts and professionalisation contracts) and the financing of the training plan for companies ([50]French employers can organise collective training for their employees. All these training sessions are presented in a specific document, the skill development or training plans.) with less than 50 employees.

The activities of France compétences and the new OPCOs start from the first quarter of 2019; full implementation and transition from the old system to the new one is to be completed by 2021 ([51]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/refernet-france-reforming-continuing-vocational-training-2018-bill).

The national framework of vocational qualifications (RNCP): the 2018 Bill foresees that, from 2019 onwards, the levels of qualification in the national nomenclature are to be aligned with EQF. Implementing provisions came into force in January 2019 ([52]Decree No 14 of 8 January 2019, implementing provisions of the 2018 Bill (Chapter IV, Article 31).). France Compétences assumes the responsibilities of the national commission for vocational certifications ([53]CNCP - Commission nationale de la certification professionnelle.).

CVET training – main characteristics

Continuing vocational training comprises lifelong learning programmes and training schemes for vulnerable groups. It targets the unemployed and people already engaged in working life (private sector employees, civil servants, self-employed). The aim of CVET is to support workers to adapt more quickly to the changing labour market needs and acquire a (new) VET qualification. There are various routes and progression opportunities while training is offered from a range of VET providers. The type of training programme depends on the status of the beneficiary. A list of available lifelong learning programmes is presented in the table below.

Lifelong learning programmes by target groups, objectives and funding sources

Programme name

Target group

Target qualification

Funding

sources

Professional development contract

Young people

Jobseekers

People on basic

welfare benefits

RNCP registered diploma or qualification 74% other than:

- certificates of vocational qualification (CQP): 11.8%

- Or qualification recognised in the classification of a non- RNCP registered collective agreement: 14.2%

Social partners, employers and State

Skills development plan

Employees

These training initiatives mainly aim to adapt, develop, acquire, maintain or enhance skills.

Mainly employers and social partners

Promotion or transition through apprenticeship (new in 2019)

Mainly employees

This programme lead to a recognised diploma, title or qualification

Mainly social partners, employers

Personal training account with professional transition (new in 2019)

Employees, Jobseekers who have previously held a temporary contract

This programme lead to a recognised diploma, title or qualification

Mainly social partners

Personal training account

Employees, jobseekers, unqualified young people

Notably:

- Courses providing basic

knowledge and skills;

- Courses leading to a RNCP registered qualification or to an

identified part of a vocational

qualification, classified in the list,

for the purpose of acquiring a et of skills;

- CQP;

- work experience accreditation

(VAE) support initiatives

All funding sources: Regions, local job centres, social partners, learners, etc.

Courses funded by the Region

Mainly jobseekers, sometimes employees

Courses leading to and preparing for qualifications, professional development courses 85.4%

Social and professional integration courses 16.6%

Regions, joint funding by State social partners

is possible

Courses funded by local job centers

 

Jobseeker courses for qualifications,

Professional development,

Job adaptation

Regions,

joint funding by

State, social partners

is possible

Source: Appendix to the finance white paper 2018 – Vocational training ([54]http://www.performancepublique.budget.gouv.fr/sites/performance_publique/files/farandole/ressources/2015/pap/pdf/jaunes/jaune2015_formation_professionnelle.pdf).

CVET providers

The training market in France is free. In 2016, 68 000 CVET providers had a turnover of EUR 14.3 billion. Their number and turnover are relatively stable compared to 2015.

 

Breakdown of the number of training providers, learners and annual turnover by status of training providers (%), 2016

Source : Appendix of the draft budget bill – November 2018 ([55]https://www.performance-publique.budget.gouv.fr/sites/performance_publique/files/farandole/ressources/2018/pap/pdf/jaunes/Jaune2018_formation_professionnelle.pdf).

 

Employment policies relevant to VET

A major investment plan for a skills society 2018-22 aims to train one million low-skilled jobseekers. This plan is implemented in the form of national calls for projects and regional skills investment pacts. It follows the 2016 initiative to offer 500 000 additional training places, which mainly involves the employment agency in sponsoring training for jobseekers ([56]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/actualites/l-actualite-du-ministere/article/plan-d-investissement-2018-2022-former-2-millions-de-demandeurs-d-emploi).

There are several training schemes targeting the low qualified. They aim to facilitate (re)integration into the labour market, leading or not to a qualification; the most representative are:

  • support scheme for NEET’s ([57]People not in education, employment, or training.) aged 16-18 to reengage in education and training;
  • supporting measures through the national youth guarantee scheme, which is integrated into the investment plan for a skills society 2018-22 and received increased funding;
  • a training scheme for teachers and school staff on strategies/tools to prevent drop outs, leading to a certificate (award);
  • a key competences scheme of tailored training modules to acquire five basic skills ([58]Written comprehension and expression, initiation to a foreign language, mathematics and basic scientific and technological skills, numeracy, the ability to develop knowledge and skills.). The scheme is implemented by the regions and targets mostly jobseekers and young people aged 16-25; it may take place in parallel with a subsidised contract for a training action leading to qualifications;
  • the CléA ([59]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/cs/news-and-press/news/france-clea-certificate-key-competences-demand-among-jobseekers-and-employees), an inter-professional certificate attesting to proficiency in basic knowledge and vocational skills. The scheme is leading funded certification in CPF ([60]CPF (Compte personnel de formation / personal training account) is an individual right to training for all those entering the working life (the unemployed and employees).) training.

IVET funding

Education funding includes:

  • teaching and training (including in apprenticeships);
  • administration and educational research;
  • catering and lodging, counselling and medical service;
  • transportation, purchase of books and other educational materials.

All funding sources combined, expenses for general, technological and vocational education were estimated, in 2016, at EUR 149.9 billion (State funds 54.6%, 23.8% regional funds, 1.3% household and 8.5 % company funds).

Funding of initial education and training, 2016

Funding category

Share of total funding

Teaching and training

85.3%

Catering and lodging

7.2%

Administration, guidance, transports and other expenses

7.5%

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 316 ([61]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

CVET funding

Companies are the main CVET funding source (30.8% of total expenditure, see table below), through their contributions to skills operators (Opérateur de compétences, OPCO) and the apprenticeship tax.

The Regions are the second largest funder (18.7%). The appropriations allocated to training (excluding public officials) by local and regional authorities other than the Regions (departments, municipalities, etc.) account for less than 1%.

State intervention expenditure on CVET/apprenticeship training decreased by 7.1%, along with the expenditure of other administrations or bodies with a public service mission, including Agefiph (association managing the fund for the professional integration of people with disabilities), Unédic ([62]The Unédic (Union nationale interprofessionnelle pour l'emploi dans l'industrie et le commerce / National Professional Union for employment in industry and trade) is managed by social partners. From consultancy to evaluation, to piloting and deployment, management or communication. Unédic implements unemployment insurance through support and sharing expertise services.) and Pôle Emploi.

Individual spending, consisting of individual training purchases, was dynamic (+3.0%).

The expenditure of the State, territorial and hospital public services for the training of their staff, representing 22%, is stable overall. Expenditure by the civil service is down (-4.0%) but expenditure by civil servants in the territorial and hospital sectors is up by 2.3% and 3.1% respectively.

Overall CVET expenditure by main financers

 

2014

(EUR millions)

2015

(EUR millions)

Structure 2015 (%)

Évolution 2015 / 2014 (%)

Companies (excluding direct expenses)

7 992

7 677

30.8 %

-3.9

Unédic/Pôle emploi and other public administrations

2 135

2 104

8.4

-1.5

Regions

4 500

4 647

18.7 %

3.3

State

3 748

3 483

14.0 %

-7.1

Other local authorities

116

113

0.5%

-2.8

Private individual

1 362

1 403

5.6%

3.0

State, territorial and hospital public services

5 481

5 469

22%

-0.2

TOTAL

25 334

24 896

100.0

-1.7

Source : Annex of the draft finance law on vocational training 2018 ([63]https://www.performance-publique.budget.gouv.fr/sites/performance_publique/files/farandole/ressources/2018/pap/pdf/jaunes/Jaune2018_formation_professionnelle.pdf).

In 2017 a major investment plan (2018-22 Plan d’investissement dans les compétences, PIC) aimed at mobilising EUR 57 billion over a five-year period was set up. One of the objectives of this plan is to raise the level of employment by building a skills company: to this end, EUR 15 billion managed by a High Commissioner for Skills and Inclusion through Employment ([64]Haut-commissaire aux compétences et à l’inclusion par l’emploi. See
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/grands-dossiers/plan-d-investissement-dans-les-competences/article/le-haut-commissaire-aux-competences-et-a-l-inclusion-par-l-emploi
) are allocated to training actions for skills development targeting mostly long-term jobseekers and young people without qualifications.

Reforming CVT governance and funding mechanisms A major reform of the continuing vocational training system is under way. It aims to improve VET attractiveness and responsiveness to the labour market by restructuring its governance, funding mechanisms, and apprenticeship provision ([65]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/refernet-france-reforming-continuing-vocational-training-2018-bill 
).

Since 2018, France Compétences is the new governance and monitoring body on VET implementation and financing ([66]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/agences-et-operateurs/article/france-competences  
). Gradual implementation is foreseen as of 2019. France Compétences replaces and absorbs several national bodies on VET implementation and financing ([67]Copanef (National Inter-professional Committee for Employment and Training - Comité paritaire interprofessionnel national pour l'emploi et la formation), Cnefop (National Council for Employment, Vocational training and Guidance - Conseil national de l'emploi, de la formation et de l'orientation professionnelle), FPSPP (Joint Fund for professional career security - Fonds paritaire de sécurisation des parcours professionnels) and CNCP (National Committee on Vocational Qualification - Commission nationale de certification professionnelle).). It will distribute the mutual fund envelopes and ensure the equalisation of apprenticeship funds to skills operators (OPCO) ([68]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
) and the regions.

Skills operators will manage two envelopes, the financing of alternance training programmes (apprenticeship contracts and professionalisation contracts) and the financing of the training plan for companies ([69]French employers can organise collective training for their employees. All these training sessions are presented in a specific document, the skill development or training plans.) with less than 50 employees.

Full implementation and transition from the old system to the new one is to be completed by 2021 ([70]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/news-and-press/news/refernet-france-reforming-continuing-vocational-training-2018-bill).

The following categories of VET teachers and trainers are in place:

  • VET school teachers;
  • apprenticeship general courses teachers;
  • apprenticeship technical, theoretical and practical courses teachers;
  • in-company apprenticeship mentors (in-company trainers) ([71]Centre Inffo (2016). Supporting teachers and trainers for successful reforms and quality of vocational education and training: mapping their professional development in the EU –France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
    http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_TT.pdf
    ).

Requirements for VET school teachers A national entrance examination has been set up for teachers wishing to work as vocational teachers in upper secondary vocational programmes (lycée professionnel). To participate, candidates must demonstrate either a level of qualification in the subject to be taught or a number of years of professional practice in the relevant profession.

Requirements for teachers in apprenticeship training centres (CFA) and in-company trainers For apprenticeship, there is no national examination to become a teacher; each apprenticeship training centre (CFA – centre de formation des apprentis) does its own recruitment, and candidates should apply directly to it. Formal requirements for CFA teaching staff:

  • VET teachers (general teaching roles) must demonstrate a qualification equivalent to that required for a similar post in a public establishment;
  • in-company trainers, called apprenticeship mentors (maîtres d’apprentissage) (performing technical, theoretical and practical teaching roles) must have a relevant qualification that is at least at the same level as the qualification that the apprentices are working towards and have several years of working experience in the relevant speciality/skills.

In IVET

Teachers may benefit from continuing training schemes.

Every year the Ministry of Education prepares a National training plan (Plan national de formation, PNF), which sets out guidelines for continuing training of State education staff ([72]http://www.education.gouv.fr/pid285/bulletin_officiel.html?cid_bo=131780
http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/26/85/0/perso149_annexe_972850.pdf
).

In 2018, a circular for 2018/19 is supporting initiatives to encourage regional education authorities support training activities for VET school teachers, reinforce contacts with trades and professions and relationships between schools and businesses ([73]https://www.education.gouv.fr/pid285/bulletin_officiel.html?cid_bo=131780).

In CVET

CVET trainers may benefit from dedicated training programmes for their continuing professional development.

A range of CVET programmes exist, such as pedagogy adapted to adult education, to the conception and management of training actions and other skills development paths. These are accessible throughout the main CVET training schemes (the skills development plan at the initiative of the employer and the personal training account (CPF) scheme at the initiative of the employee). Participation of their staff in continuous training actions is a criterion required for the quality accreditation of the training providers. Professional skills and continuing professional development of VET instructors are among quality criteria required for training providers, so that their programmes can be funded by the main CVET funding bodies.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([74]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

The role of skills operators in skills anticipation

Following the 2018 reform ([75]Loi n° 2018-771 du 5 septembre 2018 pour la liberté de choisir son avenir professionnel [The 2018 Bill for the freedom to choose one’s professional future]:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=A6446FA6AF9D1ED55743DC8A12894157.tplgfr36s_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037367660&categorieLien=id
), Skills operators (OPCO) ([76]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
) is a new body which is managed by social partners and supervised by France Competence ([77]France Competences is the new governance and monitoring body on VET implementation and financing: https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/a...). As part of their mandate, OPCO will support skills anticipation in the labour market by:

  • supporting companies and professional sectors to build forward-looking management of jobs and skills;
  • providing technical support to professional branches and a local service to small and medium-sized businesses;
  • helping companies and industries to anticipate technological changes and needs in their businesses;
  • supporting companies involved in apprenticeships ([78]Joint construction of vocational qualifications (that may be acquired in IVET or in apprenticeships), definition of the cost of the contract for diplomas and professional titles, payment of CFAs, etc.) to plan and implement their training provision.

Regional employment and training observatories ([79]Oref - Observatoire régional de l’emploi et de la formation:
http://reseau.intercariforef.org/
) provide regionally based systems for analysis and research on the relationship between employment, training and qualification requirements. Using data provided by their national and regional VET stakeholders, they conduct research and provide expertise to anticipate economic changes and skills for the future. They focus on:

  • training needs;
  • job trends;
  • links between employment and training;
  • sectoral approaches;
  • professional mobility and economic development.

Financial support to SMEs

Public subsidies are in place to support very small and small companies anticipate their human resources management skills.

--------

Information on skills anticipation in France is also available in Cedefop skills panorama, 2017 ([80]Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in France. Analytical highlights series. Available at
http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-france
).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([81]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European skills index ([82]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Designing VET qualifications

The framework for establishing professional qualifications is based on certification processes in place since 2002 when the national committee on vocational qualifications (Commission nationale de la certification professionnelle- CNCP) and the national register of vocational qualifications (Registre national de la certification professionnelle, RNCP) were put in place ([83]See also Cedefop (2016). European inventory on NQF, 2016: France. Cedefop country specific report.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/france_-_european_inventory_on_nqf_2016.pdf
).

Certification process refers to a description of skills, abilities and knowledge associated with a qualification that is necessary to exercise this profession, function or professional activity. It’s a document, obtained by an individual following a set procedure, which confirms these professional skills according to given criteria. In 2017, there were around 18 000 identified qualifications. More than 15 500 vocational qualifications were listed in the RNCP ([84]CNCP (2017). Rapport au Premier Ministre, 2017 [Activity report 2017].
http://www.cncp.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/media/projet_ra2017ga2.pdf
). These processes lead to a variety of vocational qualifications:

  • IVET certificates and qualifications (EQF levels 3 to 7), which are awarded on behalf of the State by ministries;
  • CVET sectoral qualifications recognised by the social partners and issued by other bodies:
  • certificates of professional qualifications (CQP) (certificat de qualification professionnelle) created by the social partners of a branch;
  • the title of ‘qualified engineer’ (titre d’ingénieur diplômé) created and controlled by the CTI (Commission des titres d’ingénieur – engineering qualification committee) ([85]https://www.cti-commission.fr/);
  • the vocational certificate (certificat professionnel) created by public or private training providers ([86]Such as: (a) consular schools placed under the control of the chambers of trades and crafts or the chamber of commerce and industry;(b) the National Conservatory of Arts and trades - CNAM (Conservatoire national des arts et métiers) or the national association for adult vocational training - AFPA (Association pour la formation des adultes); (c) private establishments awarding vocational qualifications and diplomas in their own name.).
  • Most of these CVET qualifications are registered in the RNCP.

Designing IVET qualifications

Ministries design and create VET qualifications on the basis of opinions from consultative bodies:

  • vocational advisory committees (CPC - commissions professionnelles consultatives), mainly collaborating with the education ministry, but also those of employment, social affairs, agriculture, youth and sport, and culture;
  • national bodies responsible for assessing training courses on behalf of the Ministry of Higher Education.

Vocational advisory committees (CPC)

CPCs are a place of consultation between VET stakeholders for State-issued VET qualifications. Members include representatives of employers (large companies, business federations), trade union organisations in the sectors concerned, teachers, the government and other qualified professionals). CPSs are divided into major spheres of economic activity and decide on needs for qualifications based on skill needs in the labour market. One CPC per ministry is mandatory for all ministries delivering VET qualifications. By 2018, 14 committees were set up by the education ministry representing the main sectors (over 560 members); seven by the labour ministry; one in each of the ministries of social affairs, agriculture, youth and sport and culture. CPCs operating under the ministry of labour cover the following fields:

  • construction and public works;
  • wholesale and retail trade;
  • industry;
  • management and data processing;
  • the tourism, leisure, hotel and restaurant sectors;
  • transport and logistics;
  • ‘other services to businesses, local authorities and individuals’;

The education ministry publishes its own certification processes in two guides: the Guidelines for the development of professional qualifications; and the Guidelines for members of the vocational advisory committees. To design a new or update a VET qualification the following steps are necessary:

  • a study ([87]Outside research bodies can be commissioned to pursue the work.) analyses economic data and sectoral trends to define (future) needs in jobs and skills;
  • a directory listing professional activities relevant to the qualification is drawn up; certification processes are detailed in a certification directory (expected skills outcomes, associated knowledge, assessment and approval procedures);
  • the file is submitted for consultation by two advisory bodies, the higher council for education (CSE) ([88]Conseil supérieur de l’éducation.) and the advisory inter-professional committee (CIC) ([89]Comité interprofessionnel consultatif.); the latter focuses on upper secondary technological and vocational qualifications and on future trends in education. CIC work affects the work of all vocational advisory committees (CPCs). CPCs are represented on the CIC board.

Certification processes under the Ministry of Higher education

Except for the BTS (advanced technician certificate) and the DUT (undergraduate certificate of technology), EQF level 5 qualifications, there is no standardised description of the content and duration of courses or the procedures for assessing students.

The higher education qualification system is exclusively regulated by an assessment process (which forms a quality assurance process), conceived as an evaluation of the quality of training content: the quality of training programmes in terms of aims and objectives, the level of education, the quality of the education teams, the job prospects of students. The main assessment bodies are:

  • the high council for the evaluation of research and higher education for training programmes provided by universities and certain schools;
  • the engineering qualification committee (CTI) for engineering courses and qualifications;
  • the management training and qualification assessment committee for business and management schools (Grandes ecoles).

Assessment is based on a set of criteria, notably the link with research, relevance to the training offer of the HE institution, and subsequent professional opportunities.

The decision establishing a (new) qualification is published in the official Journal of HE and Research. For engineering qualifications a ‘decision’ is taken by the CTI for private engineering schools, and a notice is given for State engineering schools.

Certification processes in CVET

Professional sectors may create their own qualifications through two main bodies: the joint employment and vocational training committees and the observatories of trades and qualifications.

The joint employment and vocational training committees (CPNEF) ( [90]Commission paritaire nationale de l’emploi et de la formation professionnelle.) was created by employers and trade unions in 1069 and its scope widened to vocational training. Based on research on quantitative and qualitative data on trends in employment ([91]Backed up by the Employment and qualifications observatories.) they identify priority areas in sectors. Certain branches have delegated to CPNEF the responsibility for creating sector-specific CQPs/ certificates of professional qualifications. For a CQP to be registered to the national register of qualifications (RNCP) the request should be initiated by CPNEF and not the branches themselves.

Since 2004 ([92]The 2004 Law on lifelong learning and social dialogue.) each industrial sector (one or several branches) must create its own observatory of trades and qualifications (OPMQ,Observatoires Prospectifs des Métiers et des Qualifications). OPMQs help businesses define their training policies and employees develop their skills ([93]In other words, in establishing their professional projects – projet professionnel in the national context.). Their work focuses on:

  • studies on topics associated with the management of jobs and skills in the sector (diversity and gender equality, training, ageing management, skills replacement, etc.);
  • statistical databases on sectoral economics, jobs and workforce, basic or lifelong training;
  • job maps or directories (job descriptions, job lists).

There is no fixed or mandatory methodology for establishing sectoral qualifications. A 2012 methodological guide produced by CPNFP for the development of certificates of professional qualifications/CQPs suggests:

  • conducting a study on the need for a new qualification;
  • listing the set of competences and skills (and if possible, relevant training content) a learner should possess to be awarded a vocational certificate for a given sector;
  • developing assessment tools and processes;
  • defining the process for implementing relevant training (including apprenticeships)

The results from OPMQ studies are used by both the vocational advisory committees (CPC), which are advisory bodies on VET established by the Ministries, and the joint employment and vocational training committees (CPNEF) (see above) to identify training needs and sectoral skills requirements. France Compétences, as the new VET governance State body, should support and promote the work on the observatories.

The national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP) is a centralised repository of all IVET and CVET vocational qualifications issued by public and private institutions and professional bodies. In the new governance setting (CVET 2018 reform), France Compétences shall monitor certification processes for RNCP qualifications:

  • IVET qualifications awarded by the State (ministries, assisted by vocational advisory committees, CPCs);
  • sector-specific certificates of professional qualifications (certificats de qualification professionnelle, CQP) developed by the social partners; these are not automatically registered to the RNCP; the professional body concerned makes a request (application form), subject to CNCP approval; this is the only body that may request the inclusion in the RNCP register;
  • other vocational qualifications, described as ‘qualifications voluntarily registered with the RNCP’, produced by training organisations, professional bodies and ministers without CPC backing. The registration of qualifications in the RNCP is subject to approval by the national committee on vocational qualifications (CNCP).

Qualifications in the RNCP register are nationally recognised and are classified by field of activity and level of qualification. Private training organisations have no obligation to register their professional qualifications in the RNCP ( [94]Provided that they do not use terms in the description such as licence, master or diplôme d’État. See: CNCP (2015). Rapport au Premier Ministre, 2015 [Activity report 2015].
http://www.cncp.gouv.fr/sites/default/files/media/rapport_premier_ministre_cncp_2015_0.pdf
).

Modularisation of RNCP qualifications From 1 January 2019, it became mandatory that all RNCP vocational qualifications are structured into skills sets (blocs de compétences).

A skills set is a minimum, homogeneous and coherent set of competences contributing to the autonomous exercise of a professional activity that can be credited.

The measure aims to facilitate equivalences and bridges between qualifications. These blocks can be assessed through validation of prior learning ([95]The vocational aptitude certificate (CAP), the vocational baccalaureate and the advanced technical diploma (BTS) are already offered in skills set in adult education.). An online database for referencing qualifications in skill blocks is in place ([96]www.certifications-blocs-competences.fr/inscription).

The 2018 reform ([97]The 2018 Bill for the freedom to choose one’s professional future:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichTexte.do;jsessionid=A6446FA6AF9D1ED55743DC8A12894157.tplgfr36s_2?cidTexte=JORFTEXT000037367660&categorieLien=id
) has put emphasis on transparency and efficiency through new obligations for all training providers using mutual funds to inform and monitor their training actions. France Compétences is the new governance and monitoring body on VET implementation and financing ([98]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/a...) responsible for the quality of vocational training and apprenticeship. It will evaluate the actions carried out by skills operators ([99]OCPO (former OPCA) are joint bodies organised by professional sector managed by social partners, and supervised by France Compétences. They shall distribute funds for training, support skills anticipation in SMEs and be involved in apprenticeship provision.), the evolution of costs, and can alert the State to possible malfunctions.

France Compétences shall monitor implementation of quality arrangements. All training organisations, including apprenticeship training centres, will have to be quality certified by 2021, as long as the training they offer is financed by public funds and mutual funds.

Training providers shall be ‘quality’ certified: the process and body that will run it is to be defined (an ad hoc national reference framework is under development in 2019). The use of specific indicators to assess the quality of the training offer and associated audit procedures are also considered.

The methodology used for certification processes is a quality assurance mechanism in itself ([100]For instance, ministries develop standards for professional diplomas in consultation with professionals/experts, define examination regulations, award diplomas, offer various types of training in its institutions, recruit, train and pay teachers, monitor the quality of training and reports on the results and resources used.).The need for the training organisation to be accredited or recognised by the awarding authority is conceived as an important element of quality ([101]Ministère du Travail (2018). Les opérateurs de compétences : transformer la formation professionnelle pour répondre aux enjeux de compétences [Skills operators: transform vocational training to meet skills challenges]. A report by Marx, M. and Bagorski, R. published on 6.9.2018.
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/documentation-et-publications-officielles/rapports/article/rapport-les-operateurs-de-competences-transformer-la-formation-professionnelle
).

Since the social modernisation act of 17th January 2002, validation of non-formal and informal learning (Validation des acquis de l’expérience) (VAE) has offered a third route to qualifications and vocational certificates, alongside initial education and training and lifelong learning.

In order to obtain accreditation, the applicant (self-employed, employees or volunteers) must submit a dossier and potentially undergo an interview with the jury for the relevant qualification, which then decides whether to award the chosen qualification fully or partially. The interview is used to complete and clarify the information contained in the application dossier. It allows the jury to check the authenticity of the file, to check the level of proficiency of all the skills required to obtain the (partial) qualification and to discuss the experience and practice acquired in respect of the activities or functions that the applicant has exercised or held.

Through VAE, anybody can obtain a full qualification or certificate based on his or her professional experience ([102]Around 24 600 qualifications and degrees awarded. See DARES (2017). La VAE en 2015 dans les ministères certificateurs: le nombre de diplômés par la voie de la VAE continue de diminuer [VAE in 2015 in the accrediting ministries : the number of people who have obtained a degree through the VAE process is decreasing]. DARES results series, June 2017, No 038.
https://dares.travail-emploi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/2017-038v2.pdf
).

All vocational qualifications registered in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP) can also be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning. This includes all formal qualifications issued by the State and those recognised by the social partners.

Since 2016, three IVET qualifications are accessible in adult education for certification through VAE ([103]The vocational aptitude certificate (CAP) (EQF level 3); the vocational Baccalaureate (EQF level 4) and the advanced technical diploma (BTS) (EQF level 5).), and can possibly be partly validated in skills set (blocs de compétences). Offering more IVET qualifications in a modular form depends on (high) demand for such qualifications in adult education. An online database for referencing qualifications in skill blocks is in place ([104]www.certifications-blocs-competences.fr/inscription).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([105]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning).

The personal training account

The personal training account scheme is a personal right to training (CPF, compte personnel de formation) that can be used by any employee, throughout working life, to follow qualifying training. From 2019, the account is funded in Euro at the end of each year and by additional financing, also fixed in Euro. The amount of acquired rights is fixed by decree. Part-time employees have the same rights as full-time employees. The amount of the fees should be EUR 500 per year to a maximum of EUR 5000 over a period of 10 years. Entitlements will always be increased for employees with low qualifications (below NQF level V / EQF level 3) (EUR 800 per year to a maximum of EUR 8 000).

The 2018 Bill sets up a new mechanism, the personal training account scheme (CPF) for career transition. An employee may use his CPF account to enrol in training actions intended to bring about change, including by benefiting from specific leave if the training is carried out, in whole or in part, over working time. The remuneration of the beneficiary of the career transition project is then paid by the employer (for firms employing 50 persons or more), who is reimbursed by one regional joint body (joint body regional committee called transition pro), or paid directly by the regional joint body if employed in a firm of fewer than 50 persons ([106]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/formation-professionnelle/formation-des-salaries/article/projet-de-transition-professionnelle
https://www.defi-metiers.fr/breves/un-ani-precise-les-missions-des-transitions-pro-les-commissions-paritaires
).

Training aids for jobseekers

There are many training aids for jobseekers. For example, Pôle emploi regularly buys training places in different training organisations. It selects and finances training programmes that support skills development at local level, in targeted sectors of the economy where there is insufficient demand for employment (jobs in tension) ([107]https://www.pole-emploi.fr/candidat/l-action-de-formation-conventionnee-par-pole-emploi-afc--@/article.jspz?id=60683).

Individual training aid

The individual training aid (AIF, aide individuelle à la formation) provided by Pôle emploi indirectly helps to finance vocational training. The training must have a direct professional aim (award a VET qualification, such as BTS, EQF level 3 or master degree) and be of between one and three years maximum duration. Depending on the cost of the training, Pôle emploi reimburses the costs directly to the training organisation where it takes place ([108]https://www.pole-emploi.fr/candidat/l-aide-individuelle-a-la-formation-aif--@/article.jspz?id=60856).

The government provides public subsidies for companies, primarily small and very small, and for professional organisations, to promote training, employment and skills.

Public subsidies

The purpose of these subsidies varies. National credits can be granted for:

  • encouraging and helping SMEs to anticipate their human resources management needs;
  • public employment service support to jobseekers in accompanying economic change and securing career paths;
  • training and adaptation agreements of the National Employment Fund (FNE-Formation). Vocational training measures are implemented to support workforce employability in a changing work environment;
  • support for employees to adapt to new jobs due to technological innovation, technical developments or changes in the production sector ([109]Annexe au projet de loi de finances pour formation professionnelle 2018 [Annex to the Bill on the VET budget 2018]: publique.budget.gouv.fr/sites/performance_publique/files/farandole/ressources/2018/pap/pdf/jaunes/Jaune2018_formation_professionnelle.pdf).

Financial incentives to engage in apprenticeship Regional or government subsidies encourage apprenticeship contract take-up, which is a major priority of public youth employment policy.

Since 2018 a one-off subsidy is available for small businesses (fewer than 250 employees) that recruit an apprentice, if this prepares for certification up to Baccalaureate level (EQF 4 or less).

Another complementary financial incentive takes the form of an internship bonus; this is a subsidy granted to companies employing 250 people or more, if they go beyond the minimum threshold for employees on work study contracts.

In addition to these subsidies, apprenticeship contracts are fully or partially exempt from social security charges, the costs of training apprentice supervisors are supported by the skills operators (Opérateurs de competences, Opco), and specific subsidies are granted for the recruitment of apprentices with disabilities.

Training aid for job creation In some cases, an employer who hires a jobseeker who needs training to carry out the requested tasks may benefit from training aid financed by Pôle emploi. Operational employment preparation (POE, préparation opérationnelle à l’emploi) is financial assistance allowing jobseekers to be trained in order to be able to respond to a job offer. This assistance may be granted to the employer who undertakes to recruit the jobseeker after the training period ([110]https://www.service-public.fr/professionnels-entreprises/vosdroits/F17485).

Targeted support to SMEs Following the 2018 reform (the 2018 Bill), the former OPCA became skills operators (OPCO) ([111]OPCO - Opérateurs de compétences (former OPCA):
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/partenaires/article/opca-organismes-paritaires-collecteurs-agrees
), managed by social partners. Their new responsibilities include supporting companies and professional sectors to anticipate and create forward-looking management of jobs and skills.

OPCO will provide technical support to professional branches and a local service to small and medium-sized businesses in skills anticipation and apprenticeship provision (joint creation of vocational diplomas, definition of the cost of the contract for diplomas and professional titles, payment for apprenticeship training centres).

Skills operators will manage two envelopes, the financing of alternance training programmes (apprenticeship contracts and professionalisation contracts) and the financing of the training plan for companies ([112]French employers can organise collective training for their employees. All these training sessions are presented in a specific document, the skill development or training plans.) with fewer than 50 employees.

Lifelong career guidance was established by law in 2009 ([113]Framework law on (vocational) training of November, 24 2009.). A public career information and guidance service (SPO, service public de l’orientation) is in place including online and telephone services ([114]A web portal (
www.orientation-pour-tous.fr) and a single national number (08 11 70 39 39).
); local career information and advice services are based on regionally approved partnership agreements backed by the Regional Council. The right to career guidance depends on different organisations and instruments, depending on age and individual status.

Career guidance in IVET

Throughout secondary education, an individualised vocational guidance service is offered to every learner to discover the world of work, professions and training pathways leading to (sectoral) skills and qualifications.

Parcours avenir ([115]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid83948/le-parcours-avenir.html), a support programme set up for pupils and their families, informs and guides education choices to ensure a smoother transition from lower secondary general education to upper secondary paths.

In grade 9 (last year of lower secondary), a preparatory vocational guidance subject has been added to raise awareness of the upper secondary vocational pathway and apprenticeship opportunities offered ([116]The 2018 Law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future [LOI n° 2018-771 du 5 septembre 2018 pour la liberté de choisir son avenir professionnel]:https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/eli/loi/2018/9/5/MTRX1808061L/jo/texte).

The 2018 law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future supported integration into employment and the value of diplomas from all apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) and vocational high schools. It assigned regions a strengthened role in their territories; they coordinate the ‘discovery of sectors and professions’ guidance scheme.

Dedicated bodies such as the National Office for Information on Curricula and Professions - ONISEP ([117]Office national d’information sur les enseignements et les professions.) and the Youth information and documentation centre – CIDJ ([118]Centre d’information et de documentation jeunesse (CIDJ).) provide their services to young people. The 2018 law allows collaboration between ONISEP and the Regions to develop and distribute career guidance material to the young.

Career guidance for adults, employees or jobseekers

The public lifelong career guidance service guarantees universal access to free, full and objective information on careers, training, qualifications, outlets and pay scales and access to high-quality, network-based career advice and support services. Various systems support this, both within and outside companies:

  • compulsory professional development interviews run every two years in companies, including ([119]Following the 2018 Law for the freedom to choose one’s professional future.) information on validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE);
  • the personal training account scheme, CPF ([120]Compte personnel de formation.);
  • the professional development counselling service, CEP ([121]Conseil en évolution professionnelle.);
  • career development interviews, career assessment reports, appraisals, etc., are used to evaluate career prospects.

These career guidance services are provided by career information and guidance bodies such as local support services, career advice institutions, employment and training centres, the Pôle emploi, and the joint collecting bodies.

The professional development counselling service, CEP ([122]Conseil en évolution professionnelle.), in place since 2013, supports career development and security for all individuals engaged into working life. It provides information on the work environment and the evolution of jobs in the territory, on the necessary skills to acquire and develop, and on available training schemes. A set of specifications adopted by the Minister of Labour will specify the evolution of the CEP, which will always be free of charge.

Counselling is provided by the four national operators for specific audiences (disabled, managers, young people and jobseekers). In January 2020, employees will be advised by new operators, selected at regional level, on the basis of the national specifications. The selection of these new operators will be orchestrated by France Compétences.

Public and private career guidance and counselling actors at national level

Job-related information

Public bodies produce quantitative and qualitative studies on employment and training: France Stratégie ([123]http://www.strategie.gouv.fr), the Centre for studies and research on certifications (Céreq) ([124]Centre d’études et de recherches sur les qualifications.), the Centre for employment and labour research (Ceet) ([125]Centre d’études de l’emploi et du travail:
http://recherche.cnam.fr/ceet/centre-d-etudes-de-l-emploi-et-du-travail-ceet--859105.kjsp
), the national institute for statistics and economic research (INSEE) and the research and statistics management department (Darès) ([126]La Direction de l'animation de la recherche, des études et des statistiques.). Results support public debate; they are used by public authorities and VET stakeholders developing and implementing VET policies at national and regional level, and by ministries and social and economic actors determining (new) labour market needs, IVET (including technological) policies and CVET training needs and policies ([127]See also Observatory of trades and qualifications (OPMQ - Observatoires prospectifs des métiers et des qualifications) in Section
12. Shaping VET Q - design
).

Centre Inffo in partnership with the main career information and guidance providers ([128]Different ministries, the regions, the professional bodies, the CARIF-OREF, Pôle emploi, the national office for education and career information (Onisep) or the youth information and documentation center (CIDJ).) runs the national online career guidance for all platform. The online service provides real-time data on careers and jobs, training courses, events, videos and personal stories. It offers more than 2 000 job descriptions, 200 000 basic education and lifelong learning courses, directory of approved training providers, practical information on schemes, entitlements and procedures.

Information on training sources

Such information is subject to new requirements for clarity and visibility. Since May 2012, the Government has published and updated the list of registered and approved training structures on the website https://www.data.gouv.fr

The ‘ offre-info’ portal is a national reference for training centres and training programmes run by the Carif-Oref (Centre Animation Ressources d'Information sur la Formation / Observatoire Régional Emploi Formation).

Public and private career guidance and counselling actors at regional/local levels

Carif – Training management, resource and information centres operate in all regions collecting, producing and disseminating information on training options, entitlements and access to training. They assist local information providers in their role. The information sources they provide guide the general public, training providers and operators in career and training opportunities and processes in place.

Oref – Regional employment and training observatories provide regionally based systems for analysis and research on the relationship between employment, training and qualification requirements. Using data provided by their national and regional partners, they conduct research and provide expertise in order to anticipate economic changes and adjust skills to projected employment needs. They deal with training needs, job trends, the link between employment and training, sectoral approaches, professional mobility, and economic development.

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher technician

programmes (BTS, DUT)

WBL 30%,

2 years

ISCED 554

Tertiary VET programmes leading to EQF 5, ISCED 554 (DUT- Diplôme universitaire technologique – Undergraduate certificate of technology) (BTS – Brevet de technicien supérieur – advanced technician certificate)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits

Information not available ([150]https://ec.europa.eu/education/resources-and-tools/the-european-credit-system-for-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet_en )

Other credit system: 120 ECTS points ([151]French referencing report to the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning, 2010:
https://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/sites/eac-eqf/files/Report-FR-NQF-EQF-VF.pdf
)

 

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

In classrooms (WBL 30%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies (1 or 2 for BTS programmes).

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • public and private education schools (Advanced technician certificate - BTS - Brevet de technicien supérieur);
  • In university technology institutes attached to universities (IUTs) (DUT - Diplôme universitaire technologique - Undergraduate certificate of technology);
  • apprenticeship training centres (CFAs);
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 30% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship training centres (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In VET institutions:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs):

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in VET institutions;
  • people in adult education

Learners with an upper secondary technological baccalaureate usually continue their studies in tertiary VET programmes in selected fields. Those with a vocational baccalaureate may also access these programmes.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

All learners having completed upper secondary general, technological or vocational programmes may enrol in VET programmes at EQF level 5 in selected fields.

Entry through validation of non-formal and informal learning is also possible.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the respective training programme, learners take an exam to obtain a VET qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners follow programmes in an advanced section of high schools preparing for an advanced technician certificate - BTS - Brevet de technicien supérieur;

Learners enrolled in VET programmes offered by university technology institutes (IUTs) prepare an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT - Diplôme universitaire technologique).

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications
  • bank – customer adviser (Bank- conseiller de clientèle) (BTS), EQF 5;
  • librarian (documentaliste) (DUT), EQF5

Information on 88 BTS ([152]BTS, Brevet de technicien supérieur [advanced technician certificate],
https://www.sup.adc.education.fr/btslst/ [accessed 15.3.2019].
) diplomas across all fields; DUT ([153]DUT, Diplôme universitaire technologique [undergraduate certificate of technology],
http://www.iut.fr/formations-et-diplomes/les-specialites/les-specialites-de-dut.html [accessed 15.3.2019].
) diplomas in 22 specialities is available online.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

BTS (Brevet de technicien supérieur) ([154]http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20183/brevet-de-techniciensuperieur-b.t.s.html) - the Advanced technician certificate provides specialist education and training. While the purpose of the BTS is immediate entry into work, it is nevertheless possible to continue studying.

  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing a vocational Bachelor’s degree (EQF 6);
  • access is also possible to:
    • preparatory courses for the selective admission to Grandes Ecoles (elit HE schools);
    • access to some engineering schools (after examination or interview or through admission of an application file).

DUT - Diplôme universitaire technologique Undergraduate certificate of technology ([155]http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20192/diplome-universitairetechnologie.html#specialites-dut). These qualifications prepare people for technical and professional management roles in certain sectors of production, applied research and the service sector. It is also possible for students to pursue their education, for example towards a Bachelor degree.

  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing a Bachelor or vocational Bachelor degree (EQF 6);
  • acces is also possible to some engineering schools (after examination or interview or through admission of an application file).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([156]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
)

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

13% ([157]2014-16) of graduates with a BTS, DUT or equivalent EQF 5 qualification as a share of all graduates from initial education ([158]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.
).

In terms of gender, there are more men than women.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([159]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

EQF 6

Bachelor programmes

WBL 10%,

3 years

ISCED 655

Vocational Bachelor leading to EQF level 6, ISCED 655 (Licence professionnelle)
EQF level
6
ISCED-P 2011 level

655

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

16

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

21

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

In full time university programmes (WBL 10%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • public universities (EPSCPs) ([161]EPSCPs are scientific, cultural and professional public institutions (établissements publics à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel). They consist of universities and some 71 other establishments (mainly public engineering schools). Only EPSCPs may award Bachelor’s and Master degrees, therefore private universities may only award such diplomas if they have signed a partnership agreement with an EPSCP.),
  • private higher education institutions;
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 10% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In VET institutions:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in VET institutions;
  • people in adult education.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)
  • learners with an upper secondary general baccalaureate may enrol in three-year vocational bachelor programmes;
  • those with an advanced technician certificate (BTS) or an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT) (EQF level 5 qualifications) may continue their studies to acquire a vocational bachelor in selected fields. The programme requires two semesters (one year), a 12-16 week work placement and the completion of a supervised project.

Entry through validation of non-formal and informal learning is also possible.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the respective training programme, learners take an exam to obtain a VET qualification.

For holders of a BTS or DUT (EQF level 5 VET qualifications) a 12-16 week work placement and the completion of a supervised project are also necessary.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational Bachelor (Licence professionnelle), EQF level 6, ISCED 655.

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications

Digital marketing (E-commerce et marketing numérique), tourism and leisure sports (Tourisme et loisirs sportifs).

Information on 173 vocational Bachelor degrees across all fields is available online ([162]http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20181/licence-professionnelle.html [accessed 15.03.2019]).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The vocational Bachelor degree was designed to allow people to move directly into a profession. It relates to European undertakings on the provision of a degree course that reflects the demands of the labour market in Europe and to the need for new qualifications between advanced technician level and advanced executive-engineer level. It enables students who wish to acquire quickly a professional qualification corresponding to clearly identified needs and jobs.

  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing a vocational Master degree (EQF 7).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([163]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

9% ([164]2014-16.) of graduates with a bachelor degree programme as a share of all graduates from initial education ([165]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.).

Available national statistics do not differentiate between different types of bachelors.

In terms of gender, there are more women than men.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research(2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([166]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

 

EQF 7

Master programmes

WBL: up to 50%,

2 years

ISCED 757

Vocational Master leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 757 (Master)
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

757

Usual entry grade

16

Usual completion grade

17

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

22

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits

120 ECTS credits, spread over four semesters.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

In full time university programmes (WBL 50%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies
Main providers
  • public universities (EPSCPs) ([167]EPSCPs are scientific, cultural and professional public institutions (établissements publics à caractère scientifique, culturel et professionnel). They consist of universities and some 71 other establishments (mainly public engineering schools). Only EPSCPs may award Bachelor’s and Master degrees, therefore private universities may only award such diplomas if they have signed a partnership agreement with an EPSCP.);
  • private higher education institutions;
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 50% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship (in-company practice)
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In higher education institutions:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in VET institutions;
  • people in adult education.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners with a bachelor degree, EQF level 6.

Entry through validation of non-formal and informal learning is also possible.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the respective training programme, learners take an exam to obtain a VET qualification.

To be awarded a Master degree, learners must demonstrate good knowledge of a modern foreign language ([168]Source:
http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20193/le-master.html
).

For holders of a BTS or DUT (EQF level 5 VET qualifications) a 12-16 week work placement and the completion of a supervised project are also necessary.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Vocational Master (Master professionnel), EQF 7, ISCED 757.

The course content includes theoretical, methodological and applied (vocational) elements and, when required, one or more internships. It also includes an initiation to research and, in particular, the completion of a dissertation or other original research work.

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The Master degree provides access to high-level jobs for people with five years of education following the baccalaureate or access to PhD studies. Some regulated professions, i.e. professions which can only be exercised with certain qualifications, require a Master degree.

  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing PhD studies (EQF 8).
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([169]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

14% ([170]2014-16) of graduates with a Master or a PhD as a share of all graduates from initial education ([171]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.). National statistics do not differentiate between Master and PhD degrees, and do not specify the share of graduates with a vocational Master.

In terms of gender, there are considerably more women than men.

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([172]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

EQF 7

Qualified engineer

Master degree programmes

at public or private

higher colleges of excellence

5 years,

ISCED 756

‘Qualified engineer’ Master degree leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 756 (titre d’ingénieur diplômé).
EQF level
7
ISCED-P 2011 level

756

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

17

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

23

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • Full-time classroom programmes (Formation initiale sous statut d'étudiant);
    • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
    • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
    • project work;
    • interships in companies.
  • delivered as part of lifelong learning programmes (formation continue) ([174]The delivery modes for each accredited HE institution are available at:
    http://www.enic-naric.net/france.aspx; http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid20256/liste-des-ecoles-d...
    )
    • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
    • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
    • project work;
    • interships in companies.
  • delivered in apprenticeship (Formation initiale sous statut d'apprenti) (WBL 67%):
    • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
    • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
    • project work;
    • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • public or private engineering schools accredited by CTI ([175]CTIs (Commission des titres d’ingénieur / Engineering qualification committee) was established in 1934. CTI role is to assess and accredit HE institutions that may award the title of Qualified Engineer, they main tasks include periodical assessment of all engineering programmes offered nationwide, define the job profile (and award criteria for the title) of a qualified engineer and award the relevant degree and the ‘Quality label’ award:
    https://www.cti-commission.fr/en/la-cti/histoire-et-missions
    );
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 16% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In VET institutions:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in VET institutions;
  • people in adult education (formation continue)
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

The 5-year programme is accessible to learners holding general baccalaureate (EQF level 4), ISCED 344.

Entry through validation of non-formal and informal learning is also possible.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

‘Qualified engineer’ Master degree (titre d’ingénieur diplômé), EQF 7, ISCED 747.

The title of ‘qualified engineer’, which has both an academic and professional quality, is protected and controlled by the CTI (commission des titres d’ingénieur – engineering qualification committee). Only institutions that are accredited by the CTI are allowed to award the title of ‘qualified engineer’ ([176]https://www.cti-commission.fr/).

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications

‘Qualified engineer’ Master degree (titre d’ingénieur diplômé)

The list of higher education accredited institutions offering the Qualified Engineer Master degree is published each year in the Official Journal of the French Republic and is available online ([177]http://cache.media.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/file/Formations_et_diplomes/09/6/MENS1637878A_-_JO_30_du_040217-arr_fixant_liste_ecoles_accredit_titre_inge_2016_718096.pdf [accessed 17.3.2019].).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • entry to the labour market;
  • pursuing a PhD degree (EQF 8).

Possessing the title ‘qualified engineer’ (titre d’ingénieur diplômé) allows a person to work as an engineer.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([178]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

14% ([179]2014-16) of graduates with a Master or a PhD as a share of all graduates from initial education ([180]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.). National statistics do not differentiate between Master and PhD degrees, and do not specify the share of graduates with a vocational Master.

In terms of gender, there are more women than men.

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([181]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

EQF 6 -7

Programmes at public or private

higher colleges of excellence

degree or certificate in

business and management (State-labelled)

3 years,

ISCED 655

Degree or Master in

business and management (State-labelled)

5 years,

ISCED 756

Degree or certificate in business and management (State-labelled) leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 655 (Diplôme ou certificat d'école de commerce bac+3). Degree or Master in business and management(State-labelled)leading to EQF level 7, ISCED 756 (Diplôme ou certificat d'école de commerce bac+5).
EQF level
6 (three-year programmes) 7 (five-year programmes)
ISCED-P 2011 level

655 (three-year programmes)

756 (five-year programmes)

Usual entry grade

13 or 15 ([182]There are several types of schools of commerce and management. Some of them select students coming from two-year preparatory schools (CPGE). Others recruit directly after a baccalaureate (EQF 4):
http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid70660/les-ecoles-de-commerce-et-de-gestion.html
)

Usual completion grade

15 - 17

Usual entry age

18 – 22 (three-year programmes)

18 (five-year programmes)

Usual completion age

21 - 23

Length of a programme (years)

3 - 5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Public higher education is free

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

In full time university programmes:

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • interships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • elite business and management schools (Grandes écoles) ([184]Grandes écoles are tertiary education institutions of excellence operating in limited fields (public administration, science and engineering, humanities and business administration). Access to Grandes écoles programmes is possible through a very competitive and selective admission procedure (upper secondary –Baccalaureate- graduates, pre-selected based on their school profile and grades, must undertake preparatory classes in a two-year programme with eliminatory examinations at the end of each year). Grandes écoles offering programmes leading to business and management qualifications are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. A State-approved qualification provides access to the LMD cycle (Licence-Master-Doctorat), whether in France or abroad. NB: Higher education in French is free, but only the State may issue university degrees and diplomas. Private HE institutions must be accredited or State-labelled, through the CEFDG (la commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion,
    https://www.cefdg.fr/). The State-approved label is a recognition procedure conducted by the Ministry of National Education which gives the diploma the value of a national qualification. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of six years.
    );
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL >15% in classroom-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In business and management higher education institutions (Grandes écoles) ([185]Grande écoles are tertiary education institutions of excellence operating in limited fields (public administration, science and engineering, humanities and business administration). Access to Grandes écoles programmes is possible through a very competitive and selective admission procedure (upper secondary –Baccalaureate- graduates, pre-selected based on their school profile and grades, must undertake preparatory classes in a two-year programme with eliminatory examinations at the end of each year). Grandes écoles offering programmes leading to business and management qualifications are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. A State-approved qualification provides access to the LMD cycle (Licence-Master-Doctorat), whether in France or abroad. NB: Higher education in French is free, but only the State may issue university degrees and diplomas. Private HE institutions must be accredited or State-labelled, through the CEFDG (la commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion,
https://www.cefdg.fr/). The State-approved label is a recognition procedure conducted by the Ministry of National Education which gives the diploma the value of a national qualification. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of six years.
):

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship delivery:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • people over 18 in Grandes écoles;
  • people in adult education.

Grandes écoles are non-academic tertiary education institutions of excellence operating in limited fields (public administration, science and engineering, humanities and business administration). Access is possible through a very competitive and selective admission procedure ([186]Upper secondary – Baccalaureate – graduates, pre-selected based on their school profile and grades, must undertake preparatory classes in a two-year programme with eliminatory examinations at the end of each year).). Business and management Grandes écoles are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. There must be accredited by the State to be able to award degrees and certificates that have national validity. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of 6 years.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are several types of business and management schools (Grandes écoles) ([187]http://www.enseignementsup-recherche.gouv.fr/cid70660/les-ecoles-de-commerce-et-de-gestion.html):

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the respective training programme, learners take an exam to obtain a VET qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Degree or certificate in business and management

(Diplôme ou certificat d'école de commerce bac+3);

EQF level 7, ISCED 655.

Degree or Master in business and management;

(Diplôme ou certificat d'école de commerce bac+5) ;

EQF 7, ISCED 756.

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State ([189]Higher education in French is free, but only the State may issue university degrees and diplomas. Private HE institutions must be accredited (validity is for six years) by the State, through the Commission d'évaluation des formations et diplômes de gestion (CEFDG). The State-approved label is a recognition procedure conducted by the Ministry of National Education which gives the diploma the value of a national qualification. The label is granted for a maximum renewable period of six years. Grandes écoles offering programmes leading to business and management qualifications are mainly private institutions managed by professional organisations. A State-approved qualification provides access to the LMD cycle (Licence-Master-Doctorat), whether in France or abroad.).

Examples of qualifications

Degree in marketing and management (Diplôme en gestion et marketing bac+3);

Degree in marketing, finance and international business management (Diplôme de responsible marketing, finance et commerce international bac+4);

Master in Management science (Diplôme en sciences de gestion bac+5).

135 State-labelled business and management degrees are offered nationally ([190]https://www.cefdg.fr/fr/ecoles-et-formations-visees [accessed 17.3.2019].).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation
  • entry to the labour market;
  • move on to further studies, along the LMD model.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

Among these VET qualifications, only the ones registered to the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP) are accessible through validation of prior learning (VAE).

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([191]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

2.4 % ([192]In 2017. Calculated by Centre Inffo, based on: CGE; ENSAI (2018). Insertion des diplomés des Grandes écoles [Integration of the Grandes écoles degree holders], p. 12.
https://www.cge.asso.fr/themencode-pdf-viewer/?file=https://www.cge.asso.fr/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/2018-06-19-Rapport-2018.pdf and Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques, 2018 [Benchmarks and statistics, 2018], p. 13.
https://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/28/7/depp-2018-RERS-web_1075287.pdf
)

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Upper secondary technological

programmes,

3 years,

ISCED 344

Technological upper secondary programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED level 344 (baccalauréat technologique)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

344

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • full-time education in VET schools;
Main providers
  • public and private education schools;
  • apprenticeship training centres (WBL 67%);
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 0% in school-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship training centres (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • in-company practice (in apprenticeship training centres)
Main target groups
  • young people between 16-18;
  • people over 18 in adult education.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

All learners having completed lower secondary general education, with or without the end of lower secondary certificate (Brevet des collèges) may move on to upper secondary general, technological or vocational pathways.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the training programme, learners take an exam to obtain the technological baccalaureate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

At the end of the training programme, learners take an exam to obtain the technological baccalaureate (Baccalauréat technologique)

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The technological curriculum leads to the end of secondary education technological degree (baccalaureat technique) (EQF level 4). This degree opens up access to two-year studies in higher education to obtain a higher technician certificate (BTS) or a technological university diploma (DUT) (EQF level 5), and moving on to engineering bachelor and master studies (respectively, EQF levels 6 and 7). Those with a good high school record (baccalauréat technique, EQF 4) may also access engineering studies (EQF level 6), on the condition they follow a preparatory class ([132]http://www.education.gouv.fr/cid2604/la-voie-technologique-au-lycee.html).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE, validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Y

The first year (grade 10) is common with the general upper secondary stream (general subjects); in grades 11 and 12 students prepare mainly for higher VET studies (BTS and DUT).

There are eight different specialisations in grades 11 and 12.

In grade 12, learners may choose between four streams:

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([134]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
)

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

6% ([135]2014-16.) of graduates with a technological baccalaureate as a share of all graduates from initial education ([136]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.)

In terms of gender, there are more women than men.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([137]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

 

Upper secondary VET

programmes,

WBL ca 50%,

2 or 3 years

ISCED 353,354

Upper secondary vocational programmes in VET schools leading to EQF level 3 or 4, ISCED 353 or 354 (lycées professionnels).
EQF level
3 (professional skills certificate, CAP) 4 (vocational Baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)
ISCED-P 2011 level

353 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

354 (vocational baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

12 (vocational Baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

18 (vocational Baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)

Length of a programme (years)

2 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

3 (vocational baccalaureate, BAC-pro, or BMA-applied arts certificates)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

In schools (WBL 50%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) (WBL 67%):

  • classroom theoretical vocational learning;
  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work workshops, indoor and outdoor;
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main providers
  • public and private education schools;
  • apprenticeship training centres (CFAs);
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (for adults).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies
  • WBL 50% in school-based programmes;
  • WBL 67% in apprenticeship training centres (CFAs) (in-company practice).
Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

In schools:

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs):

  • practical training in the form of courses, practical work, workshops, indoor and outdoor
  • project work;
  • internships in companies.
Main target groups
  • young people between 16-18;
  • people over 18 in adult education.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

All learners having completed lower secondary general education, with or without the end of lower secondary certificate (Brevet des collèges) may move on to upper secondary general, technological or vocational pathways.

Assessment of learning outcomes

At the end of the training programme, learners take an exam to obtain the technological baccalaureate.

Diplomas/certificates provided

There are two programme cycles in the upper secondary vocational stream.

In two years, learners may prepare a professional skills certificate (CAP, certificat d’aptitude professionnelle); in a third year, those with a CAP may prepare:

  • an advance diploma (BM - brevet de maîtrise, or
  • a BMA-applied arts certificate (brevet des arts et métiers).

In a three-year programme learners may prepare a vocational baccalaureate (BAC–pro, baccalauréat professionnel)

All IVET programmes are offered, assessed and recognised by the State.

Examples of qualifications
  • security officer (agent de sécurité) (CAP), EQF 3
  • baker-pastry cook (boulanger-pâtissier) (Bac-Pro), EQF4
  • cabinetmaker (ébéniste) (BMA), EQF 4

Up to 200 CAP specialities ([139]CAP, certificat d’aptitude professionnelle [professional skills certificate]:
http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47637/le-certificat-d-aptitude-professionnelle-cap.html
); 100 BAC-pro specialities ([140]Baccalauréat professionnel [vocational baccalaureate], EQF 4:
http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47640/le-baccalaureat-professionnel.html [accessed 15.3.2019].
) and 20 BMA specialities ([141]BMA, Brevet des métiers d’arts [applied arts certificate]:
http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47643/le-brevet-des-metiers-d-art-bma.html [accessed 15.3.2019].
) are available.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

The professional skills certificate- CAP (Certificat d’ aptitude professionnelle) (EQF 3) ([142]http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47637/le-certificat-d-aptitude-professionnelle-cap.html [accessed 15.03.2019]) demonstrates a first level of qualification to its holder as qualified worker or employee in a given employment sector. CAP provides direct access to employment and/or to upper secondary vocational studies (EQF level 4) in order to prepare for a brevet de maitrise (BM – advanced diploma) or a vocational baccalaureate, either at school or through an apprenticeship.

The vocational baccalaureate (Baccalauréat professionnel, EQF 4) is a qualification that allows successful candidates to enter a profession. Access to tertiary VET in selected fields is also possible to prepare an advanced technician certificate (BTS) in an advanced technician sector or an undergraduate certificate of technology (DUT) in university technology institutes (IUTs) (EQF level 5). Prior VET knowledge may be recognised affecting programme duration.

BMA (Brevet des métiers d’arts - Applied Arts certificate) ([143]http://eduscol.education.fr/cid47643/le-brevet-des-metiers-d-art-bma.html) is a national qualification in a specific skill, which aims to preserve and pass on traditional techniques while promoting innovation. It is available to holders of a CAP in the same professional sector. The programme consists of vocational training specific to each BMA speciality, general education, and work placements lasting between 12 and 16 weeks. It gives direct access to employment.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

All the qualifications developed by the State can be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE- validation des acquis de l'expérience). VAE is the third option to access formal (VET) qualifications, mainly in adult education.

General education subjects

Y

Vocational programmes provided for pupils in vocational lycées (high schools) combines general education with a high level of specialised technical knowledge ([144]French referencing report to the European qualifications framework for lifelong learning, 2010:
https://ec.europa.eu/ploteus/sites/eac-eqf/files/Report-FR-NQF-EQF-VF.pdf
).

Key competences

The key competences are included in the general courses that are defined (syllabi) and examined nationally ([145]Centre Inffo (2016). Key competences in vocational education and training – France. Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspectives series.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2016/ReferNet_FR_KC.pdf
).

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

In 2018, one-third of upper secondary students (665 000) are enrolled in the vocational stream.

In years 2014-2016 the share of VET graduates compared to all graduates from initial education ([146]Initial education extends from lower secondary to higher education.) was:

  • 11% ([147]2014-16) for those with a CAP or equivalent EQF level 3 qualification;
  • 17% ([148]2014-16) for those with a vocational baccalaureate or equivalent EQF level 4 qualification.

In terms of gender, there are more men than women.

 

Breakdown of young people at the end of initial training according to their highest diploma

Source: Ministry of National Education, Higher Education and Research (2018). Repères et références statistiques 2018, p. 253 ([149]http://cache.media.education.gouv.fr/file/RERS_2018/31/0/depp-2018-RERS-web_1007310.pdf).

 

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Certificates of

professional qualifications (CPQ)

continuing vocational training

(lifelong learning) programmes

Certificates of professional qualifications (Certificats de qualification professionnelle - CQP). Certificates of professional qualifications may be acquired as part of an apprenticeship, in different continuing training programmes and through validation of prior learning. They are accessible through a variety of programmes designed for different learner group (the unemployed, employees, the self-employed, specific groups etc.).
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

People in adult education (over 18 who have left initial education and training)

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Information not available

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Continuing vocational programmes are lifelong learning programmes (formation tout au long de la vie) for adults.

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

There is a variety of training schemes preparing CQPs, mostly targeting jobseekers and employed people. CVET is mostly financed by employers’ contributions; training courses are most of the time free for beneficiaries (or taken as part of the individual right to training (the so-called compte personnel de formation – CPF).

Is it available for adults?

Y

Continuing vocational programmes are lifelong learning programmes (formation tout au long de la vie) for adults.

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

Certificates of professional qualifications (CQP) enable employees to acquire an operational qualification. The credential may be granted by:

  • a ‘professionalisation contract’ (one of the two existing alternance training programmes, with the apprenticeship contract);
  • continuing training;
  • through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE - validation des acquis de l’experience) if the CQP is registered in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP).

The CQP are recognised by the collective or branch agreement it relates to; it is thus created and issued within an industry sector by a joint industry body, usually the CPNE (National Joint Employment Committee).

The CQP can only be accessed through lifelong learning programmes and training is usually provided by a body created and managed by the branch in question. As of 2019, these certificates are under the responsibility of France compétences.

The CQPs are not attached to a level of qualification, but are classified separately (when registered) in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP), by sector of activity.

Main providers

The training market is free.

Certificates of professional qualifications (CQP) enable employees to acquire an operational qualification. A CQP, recognised by the collective or branch agreement it relates to, is thus created and issued within an industry sector by a joint industry body, usually the CPNE (National Joint Employment Committee) ([194]Article L6113-4 of the Labour Code:
https://www.legifrance.gouv.fr/affichCodeArticle.do;jsessionid=80F0D87426DBC7277F61C5EF06EF7E4C.tplgfr37s_1?cidTexte=LEGITEXT000006072050&idArticle=LEGIARTI000037374062&dateTexte=20181005&categorieLien=cid#LEGIARTI000037374062
).

  • they can only be accessed through lifelong learning programmes and training is usually provided by a body created and managed by the branch in question;
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE – validation des acquis de l’ expérience) is also possible.
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Information not available

Main target groups

In CVET, programmes target

  • young people not in initial education and training;
  • the unemployed (job seekers);
  • employees.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

CVET training offer is designed (and then financed) on the basis of the status (unemployed, job seeker, employee etc.). of the beneficiary. Programmes that lead to a CQP are available through:

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Certificates of professional qualifications (CQPs – certificats de qualification professionnelle).

Up to 2018, CQPs are not attached to a level of qualification, but are classified separately in the national register of vocational qualifications (RNCP), by sector of activity ([196]http://www.cncp.gouv.fr/site/cncp/Accueil35701/Repertoire). The 2018 Bill ([197]And Decree No 14 of 8 January 2019, implementing provisions of the 2018 Bill (Chapter IV, Article 31).) foresees that, from 2019 onwards, all vocational qualifications included in RNCP will be (gradually) associated with a level of qualification in the national nomenclature (NQF levels V to I/EQF levels 3 to 8). France Compétences ([198]New governance and monitoring body responsible for VET implementation and financing:
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/article/france-competences
) assuming the responsibilities of the national commission of vocational certifications (CNCP) is in charge of the process.

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Information not available

Destination of graduates
  • (re)entry to the labour market;
  • progress in own career;
  • career mobility.
Awards through validation of prior learning

All vocational qualifications registered in the RNCP (this includes all formal qualifications issued by the State and those recognised by the social partners) can also be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

Professional diploma

(titre professional)

continuing vocational training

(lifelong learning) programmes

‘Professional diploma’ (Titre professionnel). Professional diplomas are accessible through a variety of programmes designed for different groups of learners (the unemployed, employees) (see section learning form). They may be acquired as part of an apprenticeship, in continuing training and through validation of prior learning.
EQF level
3-6
ISCED-P 2011 level

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

People in adult education (over 18 who have left initial education and training)

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Continuing vocational programmes are lifelong learning programmes (formation tout au long de la vie) for adults.

Is it offered free of charge?

There is a variety of training schemes preparing Titre professionel [professional diploma], mostly targeting job seekers and employed people. CVET is mostly financed by employers’ contributions; training courses are most of the time free for beneficiaries (or taken as part of the individual right to training (the so-called compte personnel de formation, CPF).

Is it available for adults?

Y

Continuing vocational programmes are lifelong learning programmes (formation tout au long de la vie) for adults

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)

The credential may be granted by

  • apprenticeship;
  • continuing training;
  • through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE - validation des acquis de l’ experience).

The ‘Titre professionnel’ [professional diploma] is a State certificate designed and issued by the Ministry of Labour. It certifies that his holder masters the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary to perform a job. It enables the acquisition of specific professional skills to support employability and professional development of workers ([200]In 2017, 7 out of 10 job seekers found a job after obtaining a titre professionnel.).

This qualification is made up of modules (blocks of competences ([201]CCP: certificats de compétences professionnelles.). From 1 January 2019, it become mandatory that all RNCP ([202]RNCP: Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles [the national register of vocational qualifications].) vocational qualifications are structured into skills set (blocs de compétences) ([203]Α skills set is a minimum, homogeneous and coherent set of competences contributing to the autonomous exercise of a professional activity that can be credited.), therefore these certificates are already compatible with the new arrangements.

They cover all sectors (building, human services, transport, catering, commerce, industry, etc.) and different levels of qualification (EQF levels 3 to 6).

Main providers

The training market is free.

Professional diplomas are certificates issued by the Ministry of Labour certifying that the holder masters the skills, abilities and knowledge necessary to perform a job. They enable the acquisition of specific professional skills to support employability and professional development of workers.

  • they can be accessed through lifelong learning programmes and training is usually provided by semi-public and public training providers like the National association for adult vocational training (AFPA) ([204]Association pour la formation des adultes:
    https://www.afpa.fr/
    ) or the Consortium of local public education institutions (GRETA) ([205]Groupements d’Établissements:
    https://www.education.gouv.fr/cid261/les-greta.html
    )
  • They may be delivered as apprenticeships offered by apprenticeship training centres;
  • accessible through validation of non-formal and informal learning (VAE – validation des acquis de l’ expérience) is also possible
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Information not available

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)

Information not available

Main target groups

In CVET, programmes target

  • young people not in initial education and training;
  • the unemployed (job seekers);
  • employees.
Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

CVET training offer is designed (and then financed) on the basis of the status (unemployed, job seeker, employee etc.) of the beneficiary. Programmes that lead to a professional qualification are available through:

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional diploma (Titre professionnel)

Professional diplomas are listed in RNCP which includes all nationally recognised vocational qualificationsThe 2018 Bill ([207]And Decree No 14 of 8 January 2019, implementing provisions of the 2018 Bill (Chapter IV, Article 31).) foresees that, from 2019 onwards, all vocational qualifications included in RNCP will be (gradually) associated with a level of qualification in the national nomenclature (NQF levels V to I/EQF levels 3 to 8). France Compétences ([208]New governance and monitoring body responsible for VET implementation and financing:
https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/ministere/acteurs/agences-et-operateurs/article/france-competences
) - assuming the responsibilities of the national commission of vocational certifications (CNCP) - is in charge of the process.

Examples of qualifications

driving school instructor (enseignant de la conduite et de la sécurité routière); fitters assembler in aviation (monteur câbleur en aéronautique); driver in building, civil engineering works (conducteur de travaux du bâtiment et du génie civil).

By end of 2017, 249 professional diplomas were available in:

  • building and public work (35%);
  • industry (35%);
  • transport and logistics (6%);
  • trade and distribution (6);
  • other services (21%).

Overview of professional diplomas in 2017 (in French) ([209]https://travail-emploi.gouv.fr/IMG/pdf/bilan-titresprofessionnels2017.pdf)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Information not available

Destination of graduates
  • (re)entry to the labour market;
  • progress in own career;
  • career mobility.
Awards through validation of prior learning

All vocational qualifications registered in the RNCP (this includes all formal qualifications issued by the State and those recognised by the social partners) can also be accessed via validation of non-formal and informal learning.

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

Information not available

General themes

VET in Estonia comprises the following main features:

  • slightly decreasing participation in VET and merging providers due to demographic and migration challenges;
  • rapidly developing but still relatively small share of dual VET;
  • there are more females in post-secondary VET than males;
  • early leaving from education and training has increased and it is still high from VET; the risk is the highest in the first year of VET studies.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Estonia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8114_en.pdf
):

VET programmes are offered not only in Estonian but also in other languages. In 2017/18, 78.5% of VET learners studied in Estonian, 21.5% in Russian and 0.02% in English. Estonian language classes are mandatory for foreign-language curricula to the extent provided for in the school curriculum, which ensures proficiency in Estonian at a level necessary for working in the acquired profession. To complete upper secondary vocational education (ISCED 354), foreign language learners must pass the State examination in Estonian as a second language or take a vocational or professional examination in Estonian. The aim is to equip graduates with language skills sufficient for professional activity in an Estonian-language working environment.

Although the number of VET learners has been decreasing, the share of adult learners (age 25 and over) in initial and continuing VET has more than doubled since 2010/11, reaching 35.3% of the total VET population in 2017/18. This reflects demographic trends but also changing labour market needs. Since 2010, the proportion of adult university degree holders entering VET has also been increasing.

The share of work-based learning in VET programmes varies between 35% and 70% depending on the type of training. It is usually divided equally between school workshops and workplace learning, featuring work and study assignments with specific objectives.

Most basic education graduates pursue general secondary education but the government’s goal is to increase the share of learners enrolling in VET by 2020. Preferences in education paths vary greatly by region and gender. Many basic and upper secondary education graduates make a choice in favour of VET within several years after graduation; within three years after completion of basic school, 38% of young people reach vocational training.

In 2018, 27% of adults aged 25 to 64 had no VET or higher education qualification; the objective is to reduce this share to less than 25% by 2020. Several measures have been launched to encourage adults without a prior professional or vocational qualification to return to formal education.

There is a high level of skills mismatch. A labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system (OSKA) was launched in 2015 to improve alignment between education and the labour market. Results are available online and are used in curriculum development, career counselling, and planning of State-funded education.

Early leaving from VET is a significant problem. Compared with 11.3% of early leavers from education and training, the rate in the first year of initial VET was 22.4% in 2017 and 23.4% in 2018 ([2]New methodology is used since 2018.); the goal is to reduce it to less than 20% by 2020. There are career counselling services and several other measures to prevent early leaving. Schools are also expected to take more responsibility in this area. Keeping the most vulnerable learners in VET programmes is a challenge.

Participation in lifelong learning increased from 6% in 2005 to 19.7% in 2018. The goal is to increase it to 20% by 2020 and VET has been playing a greater role in achieving this. Age appears to have a substantial impact. The share of people aged 55 to 64 who participated in lifelong learning in 2018 was 10.5%; this is low compared with 28.2% in the 25 to 34 age group. There is a focus on broadening access to non-formal education, training courses for developing key competences, career services, and on facilitating the participation of adults in formal education, aiming to increase participation rates.

Participation in apprenticeships has increased since 2016/17 and now accounts for 7% of VET learners. The number of participants started to increase gradually in 2015 following the education ministry´s efforts to develop a functioning and sustainable work-based learning system with stronger employer involvement, including more ESF investments.

Data from VET in Estonia Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2017). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Estonia. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8114_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 1 319 133 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 0.08% due to negative natural growth and migration ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

As in many other EU countries, the population is ageing.

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 29 in 2015 to 56 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64 years). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

Population forecast by age group and old-age-dependency ratio

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic changes have an impact on vocational education and training (VET).

Participation has been decreasing since 2010/11 due to the low birth rate in the second half of the 1990s.

This has led to rearrangement of the VET institutions network: the number of State-owned VET providers has been reduced from 54 in 2002/03 to 26 in 2018/19.

To increase the quality and efficiency of VET, many small providers were merged into regional VET centres offering a wide range of qualifications. Adjustments will continue in line with demographic trends.

The country is multicultural and has a bilingual community. In April 2018, about 69% of the population was Estonian. Most VET institutions teach in Estonian, though there are schools where they use Russian or both Estonian and Russian.

Most companies are micro- and small-sized.

Main economic sectors:

  • information and communications;
  • electronics and components;
  • machinery and metalworking;
  • transport and logistics;
  • timber and furniture.

VET qualifications are required in these sectors.

Exports mainly comprise electronic equipment, machinery and equipment, mineral products, metals and metal products, timber and wood products, food and transport vehicles, agricultural products and food preparations.

A limited number of occupations/professions is regulated and the labour market is considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([7]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in 2018: 4.8% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 0.2 percentage points since 2008 ([8]Eurostat table une_rt_a [extracted 20.5.2019].).

 

Unemployment rate (aged 15-24 and 25-64) by education attainment level in 2008-18

NB: data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series; low reliability for ISCED 0-2 and 5-8, age 15-24. ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education. ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education. ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was higher than in the pre-crisis years. It is lower compared to the total unemployment rate ([9]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) in Estonia (4.8% in 2018).

Employment rate of 20 to 34 year-old VET graduates decreased from 79.4% in 2014 to 79.1% in 2018 ([10]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

 

Employment rate of VET graduates (20 to 34 years old, ISCED levels 3 and 4)

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011; breaks in time series.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

The increase (-0.3pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2014-18 was negative compared to the increase in employment of all 20-34 year-old graduates (+3.5pp) in the same period in Estonia ([11]NB: Break in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

The employment rate of 20-34 year-old VET graduates at ISCED levels 3 and 4 in 2018 in Estonia (79.1%) was lower compared to the employment rate of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same year in Estonia (79.5%) ([12]NB: Break in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Estonia please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [12a]Cedefop (2018). The changing nature and role of vocational education and training in Europe. Volume 3: the responsiveness of European VET systems to external change (1995-2015). Case study focusing in Estonia. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/estonia_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

 

Education traditionally has a high value in Estonia. For many years, the share of the population aged up to 64 with higher education has been greater in Estonia than in most EU Member States.

The share of those with a low qualification, or without a qualification, is the sixth lowest in the EU, behind Lithuania, Czechia, Poland, Slovakia, and Latvia.

 

Population (aged 25 to 64) by highest education level attained in 2018

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011. Low reliability for ‘No response’ in Czechia, Iceland, Latvia, and Poland.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_pgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

2.9%

40.7%

100%

Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs01, educ_uoe_enrs04 and educ_uoe_enrs07 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Share of initial VET learners from total learners at upper secondary level (ISCED level 3), 2017

NB: Data based on ISCED 2011.
Source: Eurostat, educ_uoe_enrs04 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Traditionally, there are more males in VET (53%), except at post-secondary level.

Males prefer engineering (the most popular option), manufacturing and construction, science, and services programmes, while females more often enrol in services (the most popular option), business and administration, production and processing, and arts.

The share of early leavers from education and training has decreased from 13.5% in 2009 to 11.3% in 2018. Despite high attainment rates, it is still not reaching the national target for 2020 of no more than 9.5%, and is slightly above the EU-28 average (10.6%).

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2008-18

NB: Share of the population aged 18 to 24 with at most lower secondary education and not in further education or training; break in series. Source: Eurostat, edat_lfse_14 [extracted 16.5.2019] and European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/2018-european-semester-national-reform-programmes-and-stability-convergence-programmes_en [accessed 14.11.2018].

 

Despite recent positive developments, the dropout rate ([13]Measured on 10 November each year; excludes those who: attended classes less than 31 days, were readmitted within 31 days, applied but never attended or who changed programme in the same curriculum group and in the same institution.) from VET during a school year is high (23.4% in 2017/18). The risk of dropping out is at its highest in the first school year and the challenge for VET providers is to keep the most vulnerable learners in VET programmes. Typical examples of dropout are those who had low grades in basic education ([14]See Chapter 2 for the information on education levels.) and may not have had a positive learning experience or had not developed study habits. Dropout rates also vary by region, school and curriculum group.

Lifelong learning offers training opportunities for adults, including early leavers from education and training.

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

NB: Share of adult population aged 25 to 64 participating in education and training.
Source: Eurostat, trng_lfse_01 [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Estonia has been increasing in the past decade. In 2018, it reached 19.7%, more than eight percentage points above the EU-28 average. The government has set the 2020 goal of 20% and VET has been playing an increasing role in achieving this goal.

 

VET learners by age group

Source: National data

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing. It has more than doubled since 2010/11 and reached 39.6% of the total VET population in 2018/19. This reflects demographic trends and the changing needs of the labour market, but also the changing attitudes towards lifelong learning.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • integrated primary and lower secondary education (ISCED levels 1 and 2) (hereafter basic education);
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • higher education (ISCED levels 6, 7 and 8).

Preschool education is not compulsory and is generally provided at childcare institutions (koolieelne lasteasutus) for one-and-a-half to seven year-old learners.

Compulsory education starts at age seven and includes nine years of basic education or until a learner reaches age 17. Primary and lower secondary education are usually offered together in basic schools. However, primary education (grades 1 to 6) can also be offered in separate schools, usually in rural areas to ensure better accessibility for learners.

General upper secondary education is provided by so-called gümnaasium. This three-year programme gives graduates access to higher education, provided through academic and professional programmes. Professional higher education programmes are not formally considered VET. Professional higher education institutions may also provide post-secondary VET programmes along with higher education.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([15]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current) distinguishes between initial and continuing VET.

 

Formal, non-formal, initial and continuing VET

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

While both types provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to enter the labour market, initial VET also gives learners access to the next qualification level. Non-formal continuing VET is part of adult learning regulated by the Adult Education Act ([16]Parliament (2015). Adult Education Act (Täiskasvanute koolituse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 23.3.2015, 5.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/529062015007/consolide
).

Formal VET leads to four qualification levels (2 to 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF). The VET standard specifies the volume (number of credits), learning outcomes, conditions for termination and continuation of studies for each VET type ([17]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/116072016008?leiaKehtiv).

There are several VET learning options:

  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’; 17.2% of VET learners were in ‘non-stationary’ programmes in 2017/18, mostly at EQF levels 4 and 5).

Apprenticeships were introduced to VET as a stand-alone study form in 2006.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Upper secondary VET learners receive two qualifications simultaneously: a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme; and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([18]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We will refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available. That can be replaced by a final examination if unsuccessful in the professional qualification examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

In addition to VET examinations, State examinations (mother tongue, mathematics and foreign language) are available for upper secondary VET graduates as an option. They are organised centrally by the Foundation Innove ([19]Innove - Basic school final examinations:
https://www.innove.ee/en/examinations-and-tests/basic-school-final-examinations/
).

Apprenticeships (töökohapõhine õpe) were introduced in 2006 (Parliament, 2013, Article 28). They can be offered at all VET levels and in all its forms (initial and continuing), and lead to qualifications at EQF levels 2 to 5. Apprenticeships follow the same curricula as school-based programmes. VET institutions cooperate with employers to design implementation plans for apprentices based on the existing curricula.

General characteristics of apprenticeship programmes are:

  • training in the enterprise comprises at least two-thirds of the curriculum;
  • the remaining one-third of the programme (school part) may also comprise of training at school; in some cases, schools have better equipment than companies;
  • the apprenticeship contract between the school, learner and employee stipulates the rights and obligations of the parties as well as the details of the learning process; the contract is usually initiated by schools, but can also be proposed by companies and learners; it should be in accordance with the labour code but learners retain student status even if an employment contract is signed in addition to the apprenticeship contract; apprentices have the same social guarantees as learners in school-based VET;
  • the total study duration is from three months to three and half years ([20]Currently, apprenticeships are not provided in upper secondary VET (ISCED 354).), equal to school-based VET programmes;
  • employers recompense students for tasks performed to the amount agreed in the contract; it cannot be less than the national minimum wage of EUR 500 per month or EUR 2.97 per hour (2018);
  • apprentices have to pass the same final examinations as in school-based VET;
  • each apprentice is supported by two supervisors: one at school and one at the workplace.

The apprenticeship grant covers the training of supervisors and other costs ([21]Salaries, training materials and maintenance (such as heating and electricity).). Within an apprentice contract, schools may transfer up to 50% of the grant to the training company to pay a salary to supervisors at the workplace.

In 2015/16, there were 678 apprentices, including 30 whose studies were partly financed by the European Social Fund (ESF). In 2016/17, further ESF investment has allowed an increase in the number to 1 381 (5% of VET learners), including 996 of the partly ESF-financed apprentices ([22]More partly EU-financed apprentices started training in January 2017 but they are not included in this figure.). In 2017/18, there were 1 718 apprentices. A total of 78% of vocational education institutions and around 400 companies offered apprenticeship training. During 2015-23, the government’s intention is to attract a total of 7 200 apprentices.

The most popular apprenticeship study fields (curriculum groups) are wholesale and retail sales, social work and counselling, hairdressing and beauty services, motor vehicles, home services, and electricity and energy. Approximately 70% of apprentices are studying in initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4.

Learn more about apprenticeships in the national context from the European database on apprenticeship schemes by Cedefop: http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/apprenticeship-schemes/scheme-fiches

According to legislation ([23]Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Parliament, 2013); Vocational education standard (Government, 2013), work-based learning regulation (MoER, 2007); Private Schools Act (Parliament, 1998b); Professional Higher Education Institutions Act (Parliament, 1998a); Adult Education Act (Parliament, 2015); Professions Act (Parliament, 2008a); Recognition of Foreign Professional Qualifications Act (Parliament, 2008b); Study Allowances and Study Loans Act (Parliament, 2003a); Youth Work Act (Parliament, 2010b).), the parliament (Riigikogu), the government (Eesti Vabariigi Valitsus) and the education ministry jointly oversee the VET system at national level. The VET legislation was substantially renewed in the late 1990s and in 2013. Social partners, including trade unions and employer organisations participated in the working group on developing legislation.

The parliament adopts legal acts. The government approves national education policy, with the Estonian lifelong learning strategy 2020 ([24]MoER et al. (2014). The Estonian lifelong learning strategy 2020. Tallinn: Ministry of Education and Research.
https://vplive.hm.ee/sites/default/files/estonian_lifelong_strategy.pdf
) guiding the most important developments in education. It also approves higher education and VET standards and framework requirements for teacher training.

The VET standard ([25]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/116072016008?leiaKehtiv) defines:

  • a learning outcomes approach;
  • requirements for VET curricula:
  • the volume and structure of programmes, including joint programmes, for example between VET and professional higher education;
  • entry and completion requirements;
  • key competences;
  • principles for curriculum updates;
  • principles for recognition of prior learning and work experience;
  • the list of programme groups, study fields and curriculum groups combining several programmes. Examples of the curriculum groups are ‘travel and tourism’, ‘social work’ and ‘banking, finance and insurance’.

The education ministry is responsible for delivering the strategy and its eight programmes ([26](1) Competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme; (2) digital focus programme; (3) labour market and education cooperation programme; (4) school network programme; (5) general education programme; (6) vocational education programme; (7) higher education programme; (8) adult education programme.), including the vocational education programme ([27]Elukestva oppe strateegia kutseharidusprogramm 2019-22 [Lifelong learning strategy vocational education programme 2019-22].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
). The education minister also approves national VET curricula.

Since 2012, Foundation Innove ([28]Until the end of 2011 this function was performed by the National Examinations and Qualifications Centre (NEQC) (Riiklik Eksami- ja Kvalifikatsioonikeskus). In 2012, NEQC joined Foundation Innove.) has been implementing the national education policy, as designated by the education ministry. In VET, the foundation organises the development of national curricula, supports implementation and organises VET teacher training.

Several advisory bodies and social partner organisations participate in policy implementation. Local government prepares and implements local education development plans, and coordinates activities of municipal education institutions. Social partner participation in VET is regulated by national legislation and partnership agreements.

At national level, the Chamber of Commerce (Eesti Kaubandus-Tööstuskoda), the Employers´ Confederation (Eesti Tööandjate Keskliit) and the Confederation of Trade Unions (Eesti Ametiühingute Keskliit) represent social partners. Employers play an active and influential role in the professional councils (kutsenõukogud) and in drawing up standards for each occupation.

At local level, social partners participate in VET school counsellor boards (kutseõppeasutuse nõunike kogu), established under the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([29]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
). The boards comprise at least seven members in total. Advisory bodies link VET schools and society, advising the school and its management on planning and organising education and economic activities.

VET schools can be owned by central or local government, or can be privately owned. They all have a similar management structure in line with the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([30]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
). The highest collegial decision-making body of the school is the council (nõukogu), which organises the activities and plans school development. The head of a school (direktor) is also the head of the council, managing the school according to the development plan of the school, including financial resources ([31]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014).).

In 2018/19, 26 of 32 VET institutions were State-owned and run by the Ministry of Education and Research. Municipalities ran two VET schools and four were private. In addition, five professional higher education institutions provided VET programmes at the post-secondary level (ISCED 4) along with higher education (ISCED 6).

Total expenditure on VET has decreased from EUR 129 million in 2010 to EUR 108.6 million in 2015 due to reduced investment in infrastructure and equipment as several big VET investment projects have been completed.

 

VET total expenditure and investments in 2008-15

NB: Most recent data.
Source: State Accounting Balances System (UOE methodology) [extracted 18.5.18].

 

Public VET expenditure as a share of total government expenditure has also decreased, from 1.6% in 2012 to 1.3% in 2015, because total government expenditure has increased nominally more than the expenditure on VET. Approximately 49% of total expenditure is expenditure on staff compensation.

Formal VET is mostly State-financed. In 2018/19, 99% of the 23 387 initial and continuing VET learners were in State-financed programmes.

 

Expenditure per student in 2008-15 (EUR)

NB: Most recent data. Investments in infrastructure and equipment are excluded.
Source: State Accounting Balances System (UOE methodology) [extracted 18.5.18].

 

Until 2018, the education minister defined the number of learners to be financed from the State budget for the following three years according to curriculum group and VET provider (for example ‘media technologies’ that comprises curricula from related fields such as ‘multimedia’, ‘printing technology’ and ‘photography’). The figures were updated annually for the next two years.

Since 2018, a new model for financing vocational education was introduced, which no longer proceeds solely from the number of State-commissioned student places. Instead, the school, its activities and performance will be financed as a whole.

The new financing model consists of basic financing and performance-based financing. This secures the budgetary stability of the management and HR expenses of schools.

Basic financing considers the number of learners, the areas taught, the salary rates of teachers, the specific features of specialties, students with special needs, the need for support specialists, and the buildings used by the school. Basic financing is fixed for three years and guarantees the funds required for the main activities of the schools.

Performance-based financing, which values the outstanding achievements of schools, is based on performance indicators, which comply with the strategic goals important to the State. These include the share of students who graduate after the nominal period of study, the share of graduates who go further in their learning or participate in employment, the share of students who graduate by taking a professional examination, and the share of students participating in apprenticeship training. One of the ideas behind performance financing is to guarantee that vocational schools have the funds they need for cooperating with companies and general education schools. Performance financing will comprise up to approximately 20% of the money the school receives from the State budget.

A few privately financed VET programmes are available in State and municipal VET schools. Such programmes are usually in high demand (as with cosmetician programmes) but are not part of the State-financed programmes.

Apprenticeships are also co-financed by ESF.

State and municipal vocational schools may provide continuing training for adults for a fee without age restrictions. They can also attract additional financing from other sources, such as international projects.

In VET, there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • vocational teachers.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([32]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
) uses the term ‘teacher’ for both teachers and trainers. The Act specifies that qualification requirements of VET teachers are determined by the professional standards of a teacher or a vocational education teacher. There are different standards at different EQF levels for general education subject teachers and vocational teachers in VET.

General education subject teachers can work in VET but also in general education schools. They require a master’s degree (also called ‘second cycle higher education diploma’) equal to 300 ECTS ([33]European credit transfer and accumulation system.) credits and teach, for instance, mathematics, physics and languages.

Vocational teachers offer knowledge and skills in the field of their professional expertise (the so-called ‘speciality subjects’). Qualification requirements are more varied and at different EQF levels compared to teachers of general education subjects, allowing more flexibility for professionals who want to teach. This also improves the link to the labour market. The professional standard of vocational education teacher ([34]Kutsekoda:
http://www.kutsekoda.ee/en/kutsesysteem/tutvustus/kutsestandardid_eng
) (kutseõpetaja) defines three qualification levels (EQF levels 5, 6 and 7). According to the professional standards, a VET provider cannot employ more than 20% of staff with the lowest level qualification (at EQF level 5).

Teachers are employed through contracts. The head of a school concludes, amends and terminates employment contracts with teachers in accordance with the labour code. Employment contracts are of indefinite duration; reduced working time (35 hours per week) applies.

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 supports creating conditions for competent and motivated teachers as one of its five strategic goals. It aims at offering competitive wages and working conditions, leading to a positive image of a teacher in society. Since 2014, the basic salary of teachers has been constantly raised and has passed the average salary in Estonia. This is a strategic decision and political priority ([35]https://www.haridussilm.ee/ Õpetajate keskmine brutokuupalk 2007-17).

Currently, the teaching profession is not an attractive option for young people. The highest share of VET teachers (51.7%) are aged 50 and above ([36]Source: Estonian education information system (Eesti Hariduse Infosüsteem).) and their share has been increasing in the past decade. Most VET teachers are female; however, the share of males in VET (39%) is more than double the share in general education.

The Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([37]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current
) stipulates that each teacher is obliged to self-monitor their professional competences and upskill their personal needs. Self-evaluation is done annually and discussed with their immediate head. This approach takes account of teachers’ individual needs depending on their current competences and tasks and the needs of VET providers. This approach applies to all VET teachers.

Teacher practice at an enterprise or institution ([38]E.g. healthcare or social services.) may also be counted towards continuing professional development. It is professional work performed in a work environment with a specific purpose and has a direct link with the teachers’ area of expertise. Teachers are excused from teaching during practice.

The leading continuing professional development providers are universities, followed by VET providers, private companies and foundation courses.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([39]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

Anticipation of skill needs in the Estonian labour market is based on labour market forecasts by the economics ministry ([40]Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.), updated annually since 2003. They show demand in the national economy for employees by sector and qualification level. Forecasts are based on the data of the 2011 population census and labour force surveys conducted by Statistics Estonia. They cover 39 economic (sub)sectors and five major professional groups:

  • managers;
  • specialists;
  • service staff;
  • skilled workers;
  • unskilled workers.

The forecasts reflect changes in employment and the need to replace employees leaving the labour market. The latest forecast considers the period 2017-26 ([41]MoEC (2016). Tööjõuvajaduse ja -pakkumise prognoos aastani 2024 [Forecast of labour force until 2024].
https://mkm.ee/sites/default/files/toojouprognoos_2024_lyhikirjeldus.pdf
).

In 2015, the education ministry launched a new labour market needs monitoring and forecasting system, known by its Estonian acronym OSKA. Managed by the qualifications authority (Kutsekoda), it assesses skill needs by economic sector (such as information and communications technology, accounting) and develops new evidence and intelligence for stakeholders in education and the business world. The system comprises 23 expert panels of employer representatives, education professionals, researchers, public opinion leaders, trade unions and policy-makers. By 2020, each panel representing one sector will publish a report with practical recommendations for decision-makers and stakeholders.

The first five OSKA reports on accounting, forestry and timber industry, information and communications technologies (ICT), manufacturing of metal products, machinery and equipment, and social work were published in 2016. Another six sectors were covered in 2017: construction; energy and mining; healthcare; production of chemicals, rubber, plastic and construction materials; the agriculture and food industry; and transportation, logistics and repair of motor vehicles. An additional five sectors were covered in 2018 ([42]Apparel, textile and the leather industry; human resources, administrative work and business consultation; education and research; trade, rental and repairs; accommodation, catering and tourism.). Based on the sectoral reports, a 10-year forecasting report on changes in labour market demand, developments and trends is updated and presented to the government annually. The forecasting results are used for career counselling, curriculum development and strategic planning at all education levels, including vocational education and training (VET).

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([43]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([44]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

Initial and continuing VET qualifications are based on professional (occupational) standards that are part of the professional qualifications system.

 

VET qualifications and professional standards

Source: Cedefop based on ReferNet Estonia.

 

Professional standards

Professional standards are used for designing VET curricula, curricula for higher education and other training programmes, for assessing learner competences, and awarding a professional qualification. They:

  • are based on a job analysis and describe the nature of work; analyses are carried out by working groups designing professional standards;
  • describe expected competences as observable and assessable;
  • define the method(s) for assessing learner competences and a ‘satisfactory’ threshold;
  • define qualifications (EQF) levels.

All professional standards are available in the State register ([45]Kutsedoda: State register of occupational qualifications:
http://www.kutsekoda.ee/kutseregister
). In May 2019, the State register of professional qualifications included 555 professional standards in 93 professional areas.

VET qualifications

Uniform requirements for VET curricula and qualifications are stipulated by the VET standard ([46]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/117042019006?leiaKehtiv
). The standard:

  • describes the requirements for national and school curricula and the curriculum groups in line with ISCED levels, their objectives and expected learning outcomes;
  • determines the terms and conditions for recognising prior learning, volume of study and graduation requirements by initial and continuing VET curricula;
  • defines requirements for teachers and trainers;
  • assigns the national qualifications framework levels to VET qualification types.

VET schools design curricula for every qualification offered.

Upper secondary VET programme curricula that give access to higher education are based on the national curricula. National curricula are based on professional standards, the VET standard and the national (general education) curriculum for upper secondary schools. Foundation Innove coordinates the process of curriculum design, including cooperation with social partners.

Other VET curricula are based on the VET standard and the respective professional standard(s). Where such standards do not exist, the school must apply for the curriculum to be recognised by social partners.

The vocational orientation curriculum (legal framework introduced in 2018) is not required to correspond to a certain professional standard. This facilitates transitions from compulsory education to VET and/or the labour market, especially for vulnerable groups.

National upper secondary VET curricula that give access to higher education are approved by the education minister.

The VET standard determines how learning outcomes of modules are described:

  • profession-specific knowledge are facts and theories acquired through the learning process;
  • profession-specific skills are the ability to apply knowledge for performing tasks and solving problems; skills are described in terms of their complexity and diversity;
  • autonomy and responsibility describe to what extent the graduate is able to work independently and take responsibility for the results of work;
  • learning skills are the ability to manage the learning process using efficient strategies and appropriate learning styles;
  • communication skills are the ability to communicate in different situations and on different topics orally and in writing;
  • self-management competence is the ability to understand and evaluate oneself, give sense to one’s own activities and behaviour in society, develop oneself as a person;
  • operational competence is the ability to identify problems and solve them, plan one’s own activities, set goals and expected results, select adequate tools, act, evaluate the results of one’s own actions, cooperate with others;
  • ICT competence is the ability to use ICT tools and digital media skilfully and critically;
  • entrepreneurship competence is the ability to take initiative, act creatively, plan one’s own career in the modern economic, business and work environment, apply knowledge and skills in different spheres of life ([47]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014). Estonia: VET in Europe: country report. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
    http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2014/2014_CR_EE.pdf
    ).

Managing qualifications

Several bodies are involved in designing, updating and awarding qualifications:

  • the education ministry;
  • professional councils;
  • awarding bodies;
  • qualifications committees;
  • assessment committees.

 

Stakeholders participating in the design and award of qualifications

Source: Cedefop based on ReferNet Estonia.

 

The education ministry is responsible for developing a professional qualifications system. This task is delegated to the qualifications authority (Kutsekoda), a private foundation led by a council comprising representatives of the: Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Employers' Confederation; Employees' Unions Confederation; Confederation of Trade Unions; and the education, finance, economic and social affairs ministries. The qualifications authority organises and coordinates the activities of professional councils and keeps the register of professional qualifications.

Professional councils represent 14 job sectors. The councils approve and update professional standards and are represented equally by trade unions, employer organisations, professional associations and public authorities. Chairs of professional councils form a board of chairmen for these councils to coordinate cooperation between them.

Professional councils select awarding bodies (public and private) to organise the assessment of competences and issue qualifications. The awarding bodies are selected for five years through a public competition organised by the qualifications authority. VET providers may also be given the right to award qualifications, if the curriculum of the institution complies with the professional standard and is nationally recognised. Qualifications are entered into the register of professional qualifications. As of 2019, there were a relatively large number of institutions (108) awarding professional qualifications.

The awarding body sets up a committee involving sectoral stakeholders: employers, employees, training providers, and representatives of professional associations. It often also includes customer representatives and other interested parties. This ensures impartiality in awarding qualifications. The committee approves assessment procedures, including examination materials, decides on awarding qualifications, and resolves complaints.

It may set up an assessment committee that evaluates organisation and the results of the assessment and reports to the qualifications committee.

The assessment committee verifies to what extent the applicant’s competences meet the requirements of the professional qualification standards. The assessment criteria are described in the rules and procedures for awarding the qualification or in the respective assessment standard ([48]Cedefop ReferNet Estonia (2014). Estonia: VET in Europe: country report. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports.
http://libserver.cedefop.europa.eu/vetelib/2014/2014_CR_EE.pdf
).

A person’s competences can be assessed and recognised regardless of whether they have been acquired through formal, non-formal or informal learning.

VET quality is assured through external and internal processes that do not differentiate in their approach between school-based learning, work-based learning, self-learning (including ‘non-stationary’) ([49]Comprising more than 50% self-learning.) and apprenticeships.

External quality assurance

External quality assurance of schools’ curriculum groups ([50]A curriculum group (e.g. media technologies) comprises curricula from related fields (e.g. multimedia; printing technology; and photography).) is confirmed by awarding the ‘right to offer VET programmes’.

Following changes in the approach to learning and teaching, the approach to quality assurance (i.e. external assessment process) was changed in 2019. The former extension of the right to provide instruction based on the accreditation results in the curriculum group was replaced with a permanent right to provide instruction in curriculum groups, where schools have accreditation for the full period (six years).

The external assessment is organised by the Quality Agency for Higher and Vocational Education (EKKA). A quality assessment in curriculum groups will take place once in six years and the result of the assessment is not directly connected with the right to provide studies. The process is more focused on achieving constant improvements in the teaching and learning process and the development of quality culture at school.

An assessment of the right to provide instruction, giving a school this right for a term of three years, shall be conducted in curricula groups, and repeated if necessary, by 31 August 2019. The minister responsible for the area shall make one of the following decisions:

  • to grant the right to provide instruction without a term;
  • to grant the right to provide instruction for three years;
  • not to grant the right to provide instruction.

A school that has received the right to provide instruction in a curriculum group for a specified term, in order to obtain the right to provide instruction without a term, should submit an application for a repeat assessment, together with the internal assessment report, at least six months before the expiry of the right to provide instruction. Schools that have received the right to provide instruction in a curriculum group for a specified term, but have not submitted an application to the Ministry of Education and Research, or if the minister responsible for the area makes a decision not to grant the right to provide instruction as a result of the repeat assessment, shall have its right to provide instruction terminated upon the expiry of the term.

Internal evaluation

In 2006, internal evaluation of education institutions became mandatory, the objective being to support the development of VET providers. VET providers regularly (formally at least every three years) conduct an internal evaluation of each curriculum group and draft a report. Since 2013, EKKA has consulted them on this process.

The internal assessment shall form the basis for preparing the development plan of a school and the assessment of quality. The internal evaluation criteria are similar to those for external evaluation: leadership and administration; resource management (including human resources); cooperation with interest groups; and education process. Methods of internal evaluation are chosen by VET providers ([51]MoER; SICI (2016). The inspectorate of education of Estonia. Tartu: SICI, Standing International Conference of Inspectorates.
http://www.siciinspectorates.eu/getattachment/21147d5b-bc8d-49c8-8fc0-864d2d31cc01
). They often use activity and performance indicators provided in the education statistics database HaridusSilm.

The education information system collects data about the internal evaluation and feedback reports, so the ministry is able to check whether internal evaluations have been conducted and supported by advisory services. The results of internal evaluations are public but education institutions are not obliged to make them available on their websites.

EKKA provides free counselling to VET schools that support self-assessment and internal evaluation reporting. The competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme, one of the nine programmes of the Lifelong Learning Strategy 2020 ([52]MoER (2015b). Pädevad ja motiveeritud õpetajad ning haridusasutuste juhid [Lifelong learning strategy competent and motivated teachers and school leadership programme].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
), enables training for school leaders and teachers.

Recognition of prior learning helps assess applicant competences against stated criteria, indicating whether these competences match education programme enrolment requirements and learning outcomes or those in occupational standards. The process helps value competences regardless of the time, place and the way they have been acquired, supporting lifelong learning and mobility, improving access to education for at-risk groups, and supporting more efficient use of resources ([53]Cedefop (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report Estonia.
https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_EE.pdf
).

The VET sector in Estonia has introduced recognition of prior learning following developments in the higher education sector. The recognition process is legally established by the Vocational Educational Institutions Act ([54]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/514012019002/consolide/current). General principles for all VET providers are set in the VET standard ([55]Government (2013). Kutseharidusstandard. [vocational education standard]. Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2013, 13, 130.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/akt/117042019006?leiaKehtiv).

Awarding bodies, including VET providers, are responsible for developing detailed recognition procedures. Education institutions may consider prior learning when admitting learners to their programmes. Learners may also be exempt from a part of a curriculum, if they have achieved and demonstrated relevant learning outcomes. In such a case, the level of learning outcomes demonstrated can be considered as the final grade for the subject or module.

VET providers offering recognition of prior learning make public the terms, conditions and procedures that apply, including deadlines and fees. They must also provide counselling to candidates.

Successful recognition results in a certificate or diploma. Experiential learning, hobby activities or any other everyday activity are certified by reference to the work accomplished upon presentation of a qualification certificate, contract of employment, copy of assignment to the post or any other documentary proof. A description of vocational experience and self-analysis is added to the application. If necessary, VET providers may give applicants practical tasks, conduct interviews or use other assessment methods ([56]Cedefop (2016). 2016 update to the European inventory on validation of non-formal and informal learning: country report Estonia.https://cumulus.cedefop.europa.eu/files/vetelib/2016/2016_validate_EE.pdf).

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 and its adult education programme ([57]Elukestva oppe strateegia täiskasvanuharidusprogramm 2019-22 [Lifelong learning strategy adult education programme 2019-22].
https://www.hm.ee/et/tegevused/arengukavad
) support the development and broader use of quality validation practices.

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([58]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning)

Allowances, meals and travel subsidy

VET learners can apply for basic and special study allowances:

  • the monthly basic allowance is EUR 60 and is available from semester two in formal full-time programmes. Around 40% of VET learners receive the allowance based on performance merit;
  • a special allowance can be granted to learners in a difficult economic situation; the board of the education institution approves the procedure to use the provider’s special allowance fund.

VET providers create allowance funds (basic and special) which are financed from the State budget. The special allowance fund can be up to 50% of the resources of the basic allowance fund.

Lunchtime meals are also paid for by the State. This applies to VET learners up to age 20 who have not completed secondary education ([59]Excluding ‘non-stationary’ programmes, i.e. comprising more than 50% self-learning.) according to the initial training curricula ([60]Parliament (2013). Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Kutseõppeasutuse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 30.12.2015, 25.https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/515012016003/consolide).

VET learners ([61]Excluding ‘non-stationary’ programmes, i.e. comprising more than 50% self-learning.) are reimbursed public transport tickets for travel between the learning venue and home. Dormitory residents and those who rent apartments close to the learning venue are reimbursed one return ticket to their hometown per week and an additional ticket during national and school holidays.

Study loans

In 2003, study loans were introduced to improve access to full-time post-secondary VET and on-time graduation. Secondary education graduates who wish to enrol in at least six-month formal VET programmes, can apply. Since 2015/16, part-time students have also been able to apply. In 2016/17, 1.6% of VET learners benefited from the loan ([62]). Since 2018/19 it can be up to EUR 2 000 per year.

Tax exemption on training costs

Estonian residents can be exempt from income tax on training costs for programmes and courses at a State or local government education institution, or licensed private/foreign provider ([63]Parliament (1999). Income Tax Act (Tulumaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 1999, 101, 903. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/505042019004/consolide/current).

Study leave for employees

The Adult Education Act ([64]Parliament (2015). Adult Education Act (Täiskasvanute koolituse seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I, 23.3.2015, 5.
https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/529062015007/consolide
) provides the right for employees to take leave of up to 30 calendar days per year while in formal education or professional training. On application, the employee must present written proof of studies from the provider. During leave, employers pay the average study leave for 20 calendar days. Additional study leave (15 days) is granted for preparing for final exams; study leave pay is calculated on the basis of the national minimum wage (EUR 500 per month or EUR 2.97 per hour in 2018). An employee also has the right to leave without pay to sit entry examinations. These rights and benefits are applied in the public and private sector, in small, medium-sized and large companies

Incentives for the unemployed

The social affairs ministry (Sotsiaalministeerium) is responsible for training the unemployed. Vocational training for the unemployed is funded by the public employment service ([65]Unemployment Insurance Fund.
https://www.tootukassa.ee/
). This allocates resources to employment services to purchase and organise labour market training. It commissions training from education institutions from State and private VET providers.

The public employment service also supports work practice placement for the unemployed through agreements. The participant continues to receive unemployment benefit and is granted a scholarship and travel compensation, paid by the employment service.

Since 2009, labour market training for the unemployed is also offered on the basis of a voucher system. Vouchers offer a quick and flexible way for the unemployed to use the resources for further training or to retrain to find a new job. The service covers up to EUR 2 500 per training for two years.

In May 2017, the public employment service launched a new package of services for unemployment prevention through continuing training and retraining. Individuals are encouraged to move to jobs that create higher added value. Typical examples are: workers who are likely to lose their jobs but could retain their employment; those without a qualification or whose skills are outdated and do not correspond to the needs of the labour market; workers with poor knowledge of Estonia; and those aged over 50. The package also supports employees who cannot continue their present employment due to health issues.

This service package also offers a study allowance scheme that supports participation in VET and in higher education. People at risk of unemployment now have access to labour market training through vouchers. In addition to direct support to employees, skills development is supported by compensating 50% to 100% of the training costs to employers. Employers can apply for a training grant to support their workers in adapting to the changes in business processes, in technology or changes in formal qualification requirements. Employers can also use the grant to fill vacancies in high demand roles by equipping potential employees with the necessary skills.

More than 3 700 people are estimated to have received this support in 2017, and around 15 000 to 19 000 annually in 2018-20.

Wage subsidy and training remuneration

Employers are reimbursed by the State for supervising work practice for the unemployed ([66]Parliament (2005). Labour Market Services and Benefits Act (Tööturuteenuste ja - toetuste seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2005, 54, 430. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/511012017005/consolide/current), with a daily supervision rate of EUR 22.24 – eight times the minimum hourly wage (EUR 2.97 in 2018) ([67]Parliament (2009). Employment Contracts Act (Töölepingu seadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2009, 5, 35. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/520032019008/consolide/current) – for each day attended of the first month of training. Reimbursement decreases to 75% of the daily rate during the second month, and to 50% during the third and fourth month.

Tax exemptions

There is no value added tax for formal training; this includes learning materials, private tuition relating to general education, and other training services unless provided for business purposes ([68]Parliament (2003b). Value Added Tax Act (Käibemaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 2003, 82, 554. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/504012017001/consolide/current).

Since 2012, enterprises have been exempt from income tax if they finance the formal education of their employees ([69]Parliament (1999). Income Tax Act (Tulumaksuseadus). Riigi Teataja [State Gazette], RT I 1999, 101, 903. https://www.riigiteataja.ee/en/eli/ee/516012017002/consolide/current).

Strategy and provision

The lifelong learning strategy up to 2020 promotes diverse learning opportunities and career services that are of good quality, flexible, and take account of the needs of the labour market. This will also help increase the number of people with VET qualifications in different age groups and regions.

Since January 2019, the Unemployment Insurance Fund has been providing career advice and career information services for everyone, including schoolchildren. The Unemployment Insurance Fund has restructured its system of career services and integrated the services of Foundation Innove Rajaleidja offered to young people into the existing career services. Counselling includes topics related to learning, workplaces and choice of specialisation. Since 2019, in addition to career counselling and the mediation of career information, the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund is responsible for the development of the methodology of career services, quality management, and monitoring and analytical activities. Career counsellors offer their services in all the offices of the Estonian Unemployment Insurance Fund. Career counselling is offered to everyone and the service is free of charge.

The Ministry of Education and Research is still responsible for providing high-quality career lessons in basic schools and upper secondary schools, ensuring curricula development in the field, quality learning materials, and enhancing career teachers’ skills and knowledge with in-service training. Development activities and monitoring activities are planned jointly in order to enhance the capacity of education institutions and further develop the integrity of the field of career services.

Career studies focus on the implementation of the topic ‘Lifelong learning and career planning’ in a school environment. It is important to support the implementation of cross-curricular topics in order to develop the key competences across all subjects, as a result of which students will have the necessary career skills by the end of basic school.

Career education focuses on the optional subjects offered in basic school and upper secondary school. Career education relies on the developed career competence model, the main competences of which are self-determination, acknowledgment of opportunities, planning and acting. In 2018/19 the optional career education subjects are being taught in 538 schools.

The modernisation of the national VET curricula has been in process during recent years. New curricula include the learning outcome: ‘the student understands his/her responsibility to make informed decisions in lifelong career planning processes’. This means that career management has become an integral part of VET. In developing career planning skills in VET there is a focus on self-evaluation, how best to use the learner’s professional skills in the labour market, how to keep and raise professional qualifications through continuous self-improvement, how to combine family life and work, and how to value health.

Please also see:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Programme Types
Not available

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

VET programmes,

0.5 to 2.5 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 454

Initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (viienda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

Usually 19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

0.5 to 2.5 years

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

(no age limit)

ECVET or other credits

The volume of the studies is 60 to 150 credits and 60 to 150 credits for military and public defence programmes.

Continuing VET programmes study volume is 15 to 60 credits.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • half at a VET institution
  • half at an enterprise
Main target groups

Programmes are available for people who have completed upper secondary education and have an EQF level 4 or 5 VET qualification or relevant competences (depending on IVET or CVET).

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Learners must have completed upper secondary education and must have an EQF level 4 or 5 VET qualification or relevant competences.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination that can also be replaced by a final examination in case of failure to pass a professional qualification examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum is achieved. If a professional qualification examination is passed a professional certificate will also be awarded.

Examples of qualifications

Accountant, business administration specialist, sales organiser, and small business entrepreneur.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can follow further pathways in bachelor or professional higher education studies;
  • those with initial VET may progress in continuing VET.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

20% ([82]2017/18)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

VET programme,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 70%

ISCED 251

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 2, ISCED 251 (teise taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
2
ISCED-P 2011 level

251

Usual entry grade

No entry requirement

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

Depends on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 120 credits depending on the programme ([72]The Vocational Educational Institutions Act (Parliament, 2013) defines credits for VET curricula describing the time required to achieve learning outcomes. One credit is 26 hours of learner ‘study load’. The number of credits per programme and school year is 60.).

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=70%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school;
  • in-company practice.
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Many curricula at this level, for example for assistant cleaners, are also suitable for learners with special educational needs, such as those with moderate and severe disability. Special arrangements are available for them in VET schools and social welfare institutions.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements but learners must be at least 17 years old to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination . Both examinations are similar. They are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([73]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Those who have been simultaneously enrolled in general education and meet basic education requirements are issued with a basic education certificate by general education schools in addition to a VET qualification.

Examples of qualifications

Cleaner assistant, assistant gardener, electronics assembly operator, logger ([74]As described in ILO; ISCO 08:
http://www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/stat/isco/
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue their studies at EQF level 3;
  • can continue their studies in general education; schools for adults leading to general basic education.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

<1% ([75]2017/18)

EQF 3

VET programmes,

up to 2 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 251

Initial VET programmes leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 251 (kolmanda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

251

Usual entry grade

No entry requirement

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

17

Usual completion age

Depends on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 120 credits.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • half practical training at school
  • half in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

There are no minimum entry requirements.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([76]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Woodworking bench operator and electronic equipment assembler

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • those who acquired basic (general) education (before or in parallel to a VET programme) can continue their studies at upper secondary level;
  • those without completed basic education can continue their studies in general education schools for adults.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

3.9% ([77]2017/18)

EQF 4

VET programmes,

up to 2.5 years,

WBL: min. 50%

ISCED 351

Initial and continuing VET programmes leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 351 (neljanda taseme kutseõpe)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

351

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

at least 17

Usual completion age

Depending on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

2.5 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

30 to 150 credits (depending on the programme) and 180 credits for music and performance programmes.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • half practical training at school
  • half in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Completed basic education is a prerequisite to enrol in these programmes. Those entering continuing VET programmes must have an EQF level 4 qualification or competences in addition to basic education to enrol.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination. Both examinations are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners may receive a formal education qualification awarded after completion of a programme and a professional qualification that is a professional certificate verifying learning outcomes for a specific occupation or profession ([78]Cedefop (2017). Estonia: European inventory on NQF 2016.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/estonia-european-inventory-nqf-2016
). We refer to them as VET qualifications and professional qualifications.

Examples of qualifications

Welder, junior software developer, IT systems specialist, farm-worker

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue in upper secondary general education;
  • can continue in a VET programme at ISCED level 354.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

30.9% ([79]2017/18)

EQF 4

VET programmes,

up to 3 years,

WBL: min. 35%

ISCED 354

Initial upper secondary VET programmes, ISCED 354 (kutsekeskharidusõpe)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

At least 17

Usual completion age

19

Depending on entry age

Length of a programme (years)

3 (up to)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Information not available

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

The volume of studies is mostly 180 credits, including at least 60 credits of general education; 30 credits are common for all programmes and 30 are tailored to the programme.

Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • school-based learning (contact studies, including virtual communication with the teacher/trainer);
  • work practice (practical training at school and in-company practice);
  • self-learning (excludes work practice; at least 15% of a programme should be acquired through autonomous learning; if it exceeds 50%, the programme is considered to be ‘non-stationary’;
  • apprenticeships.

 

VET learning options

Source: Cedefop and ReferNet Estonia.

 

Main providers

Information not available

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=35%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • practical training at school
  • in-company practice
Main target groups

Programmes are available for young people and also for adults aged 22 and above.

Entry requirements for learners (qualification/education level, age)

Students may enter upper secondary VET if they have acquired basic education. The existence of competences corresponding to the level of basic education is required from a person without basic education and who is at least 22 years of age. Schools assess the existence of the required competences.

Assessment of learning outcomes

VET students receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum is achieved. To complete a VET programme, learners need to pass a professional qualification examination, if available, that can also be replaced by a final examination in case of failure to pass a professional qualification examination. Both examinations are similar. They are learning outcomes based and usually include a practical part.

Diplomas/certificates provided

VET learners receive a leaving certificate after the learning outcomes corresponding to the qualification or partial profession described in the curriculum are achieved and also if a professional qualification examination is passed. a professional certificate will also be awarded

Examples of qualifications

Heat pump installers and catering specialists

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates:

  • can enter the labour market;
  • can continue in higher education, provided the entry requirements are met ([80]Higher education institutions may require passing State examinations (mathematics, foreign language and mother tongue) in addition to VET qualifications.);
  • can continue with an optional year of general education (bridging programme) to prepare for State examinations.
Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Information not available

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

Share of learners in this programme type compared with the total number of VET learners

44.4% ([81]2017/18)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available