Brexit Disclaimer
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 Finland comprises the following main features:

  • competence-based approach;
  • personal competence development plan for each learner charting and recognising previously acquired skills;
  • VET teacher profession is attractive;
  • early leaving from education and training is low and decreasing; leaving VET early is still more common than in general education;
  • participation in lifelong learning is high, also due to VET participation.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
):

National qualification requirements have been based on a competence-based approach since the early 1990s. Flexibility of vocational qualifications has increased, for example by diversifying opportunities to include modules from other vocational qualifications (including further and specialist vocational qualifications) or university of applied sciences degrees. More flexibility will allow students to create individual learning paths and increase their motivation for completing their studies. It is also meant to give education providers an opportunity to meet regional and local labour market demands more effectively. Studies in upper secondary VET are based on individual study plans, comprising both compulsory and optional study modules. Modularisation allows for a degree of individualisation of qualifications:

  • a clearer range of qualifications that better meets the needs of working life;
  • a single competence-based method of completing qualifications;
  • competence-based and individual study paths for all.

The Finnish National Agency for Education reformed all 43 initial, 65 further and 56 specialist vocational qualifications in 2017-18. The fundamental goal of this reform was to reduce the number of qualification titles from 360 to 164 and offer broader programmes, strengthen the competence-based approach of vocational qualification requirements and the modular structure of qualifications. This supports building flexible and individual learning paths and promotes validation of prior learning.

A career as a VET teacher is generally considered attractive, reflected in the high number of applications to enrol in vocational teacher training programmes that invariably exceed intake. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

There is growing concern over the risk of social exclusion of young people. In 2018, among 20 to 24 year-olds, 11.8% were neither in employment nor in education and training. Youth unemployment is on the increase; the rate for 15 to 24 year-olds was 20% in 2014, 21.4% in 2016 and 20.4% in 2019. Both rates have improved in recent years ([2]Source: Statistics Finland.).

The government introduced the youth guarantee programme from the beginning of 2013. This offers everyone under 25, as well as recent graduates under 30, a job, on-the-job training, a study place or rehabilitation within three months of becoming unemployed.

Dropout from vocational education and training is far more common than from general upper secondary education, although it is not high in European terms (7.4% in the 2016/17 school year). Prevention of both dropout from education and exclusion from society is a policy priority: every individual who drops out of education and the labour market is seen as being both a personal tragedy and a significant cost to society. A programme was set up in 2012 to develop anticipatory and individualised procedures in guidance and counselling and create pedagogical solutions and practices supporting completion of studies, as well as work-centred learning environments and opportunities. There is also emphasis on creating practices to recognise prior learning more effectively. An additional EUR 4 million has been allocated to this programme. The results of these projects will be seen in 2020 at the earliest.

A new Act on VET was adopted in June 2017 and entered into force on 1 January 2018. Its objective has been to renew VET legislation, the financing system and create a more competence-based and customer-oriented system.

Data from VET in Finland Spotlight 2016 ([3]Cedefop (2016). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Finland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8100_en.pdf
), updated in May 2019.

 

 

Population in 2018: 5 513 130 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January; break in series. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It increased by 1.6% since 2013 mainly due to immigration ([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, but the share of young people remains slightly above the EU-28 due to immigration. Since 2000, annual immigration to the country has more than doubled, reaching 249 500 or 4.5% of the population in 2017. This is also due to the increased number of asylum seekers in 2015-16 ([6]Statistics Finland:
www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/maahanmuutto/maahanmuuttajat-vaestossa/ulkomaan-kansalaiset_en.html#tab1483972171375_1
).

The old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 31 in 2015 to 50 in 2060 ([7]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).). This will also force the retirement age to increase, reaching 62.4 years in 2025 ([8]In 2017 it was 61.2 years. Source: Finnish Centre for Pensions:
www.etk.fi/en/statistics-2/statistics/effective-retirement-age/
).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

According to population forecasts, the proportion of those aged over 65 is increasing faster than the EU average. This is mostly due to the ‘baby-boomer’ generations, born after World War II, reaching pensionable age.

Demographic challenges will impact the availability of the labour force, growth of the economy and, thus, provision of welfare services. The changing population structure will also require improving attainment, preventing early leaving from education and training, facilitating young people’s transition to further education and making flexible learning paths for completing qualifications.

Because of the demographic challenges, e.g. ageing population, the demand for labour in social and welfare services will grow in the future. According to the National Agency for Education ([9]https://www.oph.fi/julkaisut/2011/koulutus_ja_tyovoiman_kysynta_2025), demand for new employees in health care and social services will be nearly 120 000 in the period from 2008 to 2025. This has an impact on VET as, for example, practical nurses and dental assistants receive VET qualifications.

The country has two official languages, Finnish and Swedish.

Education and training institutions teach in Finnish and Swedish, but bilingual providers also exist, providing education in some foreign languages, mostly in English. In the Sámi language regions VET is also provided in a Sámi language.

The language of instruction for initial and continuing VET is decided in the licence for VET provision, granted by the education ministry.

Most companies are small- and medium-sized.

The highest share of the labour force is in human health and social work, manufacturing and in wholesale and retail trade.

 

Employees (age 15 to 74) by economic sector in 2018

Source: Statistics Finland. https://www.tilastokeskus.fi/tup/suoluk/suoluk_tyoelama_en.html

 

The main export sectors are ([10]Source:
https://atlas.media.mit.edu/en/profile/country/fin/ [accessed 2.4.2019].
):

  • machines (23%) ([11]E.g. broadcasting equipment, electrical transformers.);
  • paper goods (16%) ([12]E.g. coated paper, wood pulp.);
  • metals (14%) ([13]E.g. stainless steel, raw zinc.);
  • transportation goods (11%) ([14]E.g. cars, ships.).

Relatively few professions require a specific type of education. Education requirements mainly exist in health care, teaching, rescue and security jobs. Also the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Church requires its employees to have education in the field. Such professions usually require a higher education degree.

A few regulated professions require a vocational qualification. Examples are nurses, prison and security guards, construction divers and chimney sweeps.

The labour market is, therefore, considered flexible.

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 6.1% (6.0% in EU-28); it increased by 1.2 percentage points since 2008 ([16]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 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. In Finland, the financial crisis had less impact on unemployment than in other European countries.

During the crisis there was only a slight increase in unemployment, and the difference between the unemployment rates of the three categories above remained quite stable.

Young people (15-24) with low qualifications (ISCED 0-2) are much more exposed to unemployment than older people who have more working experience. Higher level qualifications also mean less unemployment for young people.

The employment rate of VET graduates (age 20-34, ISCED levels 3 and 4) has increased since 2014 by 2.2 percentage points and reached 79.8% in 2018.

 

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].

 

This increase was slower compared with the increase in employment for the same age group graduates of all education types (+2.5pp) in the same period ([17]NB: Breaks in time series. Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe project [17a]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 Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Completion of both upper secondary and tertiary studies is one of the objectives of national education policy. Finland has one of the highest shares of 25-64 year old people with higher education qualifications (43.7%) and one of the lowest shares with low qualifications (11.7%) 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].

 

Attainment of Finns aged 25 to 64 has increased significantly since 2000 and slightly more rapidly than in the EU-28 on average ([18]https://findikaattori.fi/en/). Since the 1990s the expansion of adult education and training, as well as the creation of the competence-based qualifications system, offered many ‘baby-boomers’ born after World War II an opportunity to complete a VET qualification.

For more information about VET in higher education in Finland please see the case study from Cedefop's changing nature and role of VET in Europe projectt [18a]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 Finland. Cedefop research paper; No 70. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/finland_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

71.6%

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].

 

The male/female share in vocational upper secondary programmes is equal. In further qualification programmes, there are more females.

In 2017, 43% of all male VET students studied in one particular field, i.e. engineering, manufacturing and construction. Business and administration and services both accounted for 17% of all male VET students. Around one-third (31%) of women were enrolled in health and welfare, 20% in services and 25% in business, administration and law.

The share of early leavers from education and training was 8.3% in 2018. The share has decreased since 2009 by 1.6 percentage points (-3.6 percentage points in the EU) and it is very close to the national 2020 target of not more than 8%.

 

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.
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].

 

The overall duration of education and training is influenced by delays at transition points ([19]For example, young graduates from upper secondary education at age of 19 cannot always enter higher education due to limited places available; they often apply several years in a row in order to enrol.) and the overall time spent in each programme. The latter is now being addressed by the new financing mechanism that gives more weight to the effectiveness of studies and is pushing towards timely acquisition of qualifications.

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

 

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 is traditionally high in Finland. It has increased by 3.4 percentage points since 2014, reaching 28.5% in 2018. It is almost three times higher than the EU-28 average (11.1% in 2018).

VET is an important form of adult education. In 2016 almost 70% of those completing vocational upper secondary qualifications in Finland were under 25. Almost half of those taking further vocational qualifications completed their studies under the age of 35, and over half of those taking specialist vocational qualifications were over 40.

 

VET learners by age group in 2010-17

Source: Statistics Finland (Vipunen). https://vipunen.fi/

 

The share of adults (aged 25 and above) in initial and continuing VET has been increasing both in absolute numbers and proportionally. In the programme aiming for upper secondary vocational qualification the share of adults has been increasing and was 36% in 2017. In further qualification the share has varied between 81-86% and in specialist qualification it has remained roughly the same at 95%.

The education and training system comprises:

  • early childhood education and care (ISCED level 0);
  • pre-primary education (ISCED level 0);
  • primary education and lower secondary education; (ISCED levels 1 and 2), also called basic education;
  • optional additional year (ISCED level 2) (age 16);
  • Upper secondary education (ISCED level 3 and 4);
  • Tertiary education (ISCED levels 6, 7, and 8).

Early childhood education and care (varhaiskasvatus, småbarnsfostran) is not compulsory and participation requires the payment of a small fee. It is provided to children up to age six.

Pre-primary education (esiopetus, förskoleundervisning) is compulsory and it is provided to learners aged 6 years old.

Basic education (perusopetus, grundläggande utbildning) is compulsory. It is divided into primary education, provided in grades 1 to 6, to learners aged 7 to 12, and into lower secondary education, provided in grades 7 to 9, to students aged 13 to 16 years old.

The optional additional year is provided to students at age 16. Its purpose is to improve grades and to prepare for vocational education or familiarisation with the working life.

After basic education students can complete training preparing them for VET (ammatilliseen koulutukseen valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för yrkesutbildning). This preparatory education and training provides students with capabilities for applying to VET, leading to qualifications, and fosters their preconditions for

completing qualifications. Preparatory education and

training for work and independent living (työhön ja itsenäiseen elämään valmentava koulutus, utbildning som handleder för arbete och ett självständigt liv) is available for those who need special support due to illness or injury. It provides students with instruction and guidance according to their personal goals and capabilities.

Upper secondary education (toisen asteen koulutus, utbildning på andra stadiet) is provided in grades 10 to 12, to students aged 17 to 19 years old. It is divided into general (lukiokoulutus, gymnasieutbildning), and vocational (ammatillinen koulutus, yrkesutbildning).

Tertiary education (korkeakoulutus, högskola) is provided by universities (yliopisto, universitet) and by universities of applied sciences (ammattikorkeakoulu, yrkeshögskola).

Promoting employment and self-employment are key elements of VET. Guided and goal-oriented studying at the

workplace is an essential part of VET. Studying at the workplace is either based on apprenticeship or on training agreement. Both can be flexibly combined. Learning at the workplace can be used to acquire competence in all vocational qualifications as well as promoting further training or supplementing vocational skills. Studying at the workplace can cover an entire degree, a module or a smaller part of the studies.

Initial VET (for young people) and continuing VET (for adults) are organised under the same legislation and principles ([20]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170531).

Initial VET (vocational upper secondary programmes) provides learners with vocational skills they need for entry- level jobs. It also supports learners’ growth into good and balanced individuals and members of society, and it provides them with the knowledge and skills needed for further studies and for the development of their personalities. A holder of a vocational upper secondary qualification has broad-based, basic vocational skills to work in different tasks in the chosen field, as well as more specialised competence and the vocational skills required for work in at least one section of the chosen field.

Continuing VET (further and specialist programmes) provides more comprehensive and specialised competences and requires labour market experience. They are mainly acquired by adults in employment with an IVET qualification; however, this is not a precondition for the taking of the qualification. A holder of a further vocational qualification has the vocational skills that meet work needs and that are more advanced or more specialised than what is required in the vocational upper secondary qualification. A holder of a specialist vocational qualification has vocational skills that meet work needs and that are highly advanced or multidisciplinary.

All programmes are competence-based. This means that completing a qualification does not depend on where and how competences have been acquired. All learners who have completed basic education may enrol in VET, but each provider decides the selection criteria. In some regions there is a competition for potential learners between general upper secondary and VET schools. VET often attracts more applicants than there are places available, especially in programmes in social services, health and sports, vehicle and transport technology, business and administration, electrical and automation engineering, and beauty care.

Study units (also known as modules)

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational units:

• compulsory;

• optional.

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include units that consist of common, rather than specific, vocational competence:

• communication and interaction competence;

• mathematics and science competence;

• citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform (Vocational Education and Training Act 531, adopted in 2017 and in force since 2018), key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competences. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria. The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, demonstrations of competence and of other skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in his personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Work-based learning

Work-based learning (WBL) is provided mainly in real work environments (companies). If this is not possible, it can also be organised in school facilities.

The 2018 reform aimed to increase the share of work-based learning in VET by offering more flexibility in its organisation. All learners take part in WBL and any form of WBL (training agreement or apprenticeship training) may be taken by learners in any qualification programme. WBL may be provided during the whole programme duration and cover the whole qualification, a module/unit, or a smaller part of the programme. The most suitable method for a learner is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The legislation does not stipulate a maximum or minimum amount of work-based learning but it strongly recommends that VET providers organise at least part of the learning at the workplace. The form of WBL may vary during the studies. A learner may transfer flexibly from a training agreement to apprenticeship training when the prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met (see Section 2.5.2). Work-based learning is guided and goal-oriented training at a workplace, allowing learners to acquire parts of the practical vocational skills included in the desired qualification.

Training agreement

This type of WBL can be offered in all initial and continuing VET programmes. At the very beginning of the training, the personal competence development plan shall be designed by the teacher/guidance counsellor, working life representative and the learner. The WBL periods are defined in this plan.

Learners are not in an employment relationship with the training company. They do not receive salary and employers do not receive any training compensation. But companies gladly recruit people with work experience. Within this system, the learners acquire some experience during their studies and the learner and the company get to know each other. It is possible to change from a training agreement to an apprenticeship training contract, if prerequisites for concluding an apprenticeship agreement are met.

A training agreement period can also be conducted abroad, as an exchange period, e.g. within the Erasmus+ programme or through other programmes or individual arrangements.

Apprenticeship training contract

Any qualification can be acquired through apprenticeship training – a work-based form of VET that is based on a written fixed-term employment contract (apprenticeship contract) between an employer and an apprentice, who must be at least 15 years old. Working hours are at least 25 hours per week. Apprenticeships have been used mainly in further and specialist vocational education. Since the 2018 reform, there is no indication in the legislation where the theoretical part should be acquired. In fact, the word ‘theory’ is no longer in use. Instead, ‘learning in the working place’ and ‘learning in other environments’ terminology applies. If the company is able to cover all the training needs, there is no need for the learner to attend a school venue at all. Learners themselves find work places for the training. The employer has no obligation to keep the apprentice employed after the training period is completed.

VET providers are responsible for initiating the contract. The demand and supply of contracts/work places are not always in balance. There are regional and field-specific differences but usually there are not enough apprenticeship places in companies.

Apprenticeship training is based on the requirements of the relevant qualification, according to which the learner’s personal competence development plan is drawn up. It considers the needs and requirements of the workplace and the learner. Approximately 70-80% of the time used for learning takes place in the workplace where the apprenticeship contract is concluded. Periods of theory and in-company training alternate but a common pattern does not exist; it is agreed in the personal competence development plan.

The employer pays the apprentice’s wages according to the relevant collective agreement for the period of workplace training. For the period of theoretical studies, learners receive social benefits, such as a daily allowance and allowances for accommodation and travel expenses. The education provider pays compensation to cover the costs of training provided in the workplace. The employer and VET institution agree on the amount of compensation before the training takes place; a separate contract is prepared for each learner.

At national level, the general goals for VET and the qualifications structure ([21]Qualification structure is a system of qualifications. It defines how many there are initial, further and specialist VET qualifications: their share, titles and competence points (total and for common units; their division within the qualification is decided by the Finnish National Agency for Education).) are determined by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The ministry also grants the licences for education provision. The Finnish National Agency for Education decides the national requirements of qualifications, detailing the goals and core content of each vocational qualification.

 

Main VET stakeholders

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

Vocational qualification requirements are developed in broad-based cooperation with stakeholders. The national qualification requirements have been based on a learning-outcomes approach since the early 1990s. Consequently, close cooperation with the world of work has been essential.

Cooperation with the world of work and other key stakeholders is carried out in order to ensure that qualifications support is flexible and promotes efficient transition to the labour market, as well as occupational development and career change. In addition to the needs of the world of work, development of VET and qualifications takes into account consolidation of lifelong learning skills, as well as the individuals’ needs and opportunities to complete qualifications flexibly to suit their own circumstances.

The Ministry of Education and Culture grants authorisations to VET providers, determining the fields of education in which they are allowed to provide education and training and their total learner numbers. VET providers determine which vocational qualifications and which study programmes within the specified fields of education will be organised at their vocational institutions.

To enhance the service capacity of VET providers, they have been encouraged to merge into regional or other strong entities. Across Finland, education providers cover all VET services and development activities. Thus, vocational institutions offer initial and continuing training both for young people and adult learners. Vocational institutions work in close cooperation with the labour market. Their role is to develop their own provision in cooperation with the labour market on the one hand, and to support competence development within small and medium-sized enterprises on the other. This strategy for vocational institutions has been a necessary means of ensuring and increasing the flexibility of education and training. Consequently, larger vocational institutions can offer enough vocational modules to ensure that learners can customise their programmes and choose studies that match changing needs for competences.

Vocational institutions can organise their activities freely, according to the requirements of their fields or their regions, and decide on their institutional networks and other services.

VET providers

Around 70% of VET providers are privately owned and 24% are owned by joint municipal authorities (Figure 10). There are 145 VET providers in total (Figure 10); this is considerably fewer than in 2006 as they have been strongly encouraged to merge. This cost-efficiency trend in education has been apparent since the mid-1990s. The ministry encourages VET providers towards voluntary mergers to ensure that all education providers have sufficient professional and financial resources to provide education.

 

VET providers by ownership

NB: Data as of 30 April 2019. In addition, there were 16 private VET providers who did not receive the licence, but can continue providing VET for a transitional period.
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

The most common types of VET provider are vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and the service sector) ([22]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. car manufacturers) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Private vocational institutions operating under the 2018 VET Act are supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture. Similar to public VET providers, they receive government subsidies and have the right to award official qualification certificates.

Out of 145 VET providers in total, there are 26 specialised vocational institutions, which are generally maintained by manufacturing and service sector enterprises. They are national private institutions, also referred to as ‘government dependent private institutions’, which provide training for their own needs outside the national qualifications structure described above, and which mainly focus on continuing training for their own staff. The specialised vocational institutions (also national private institutions) have been authorised by the Ministry of Education and Culture to provide education and training. Although these institutions receive state funding, most of the costs are covered by the owners of these enterprises (or by the enterprises responsible for them).

Current financing system

Education is publicly funded through public tax revenue at all levels. This has been perceived in Finland as being a means of guaranteeing equal education opportunities for the entire population irrespective of social or ethnic background, gender and place of residence. Funding criteria for receiving state funding are uniform for public and private VET providers.

Private funding only accounts for 2.6% of all education expenditure. Its share is slightly higher in upper secondary VET and higher education, but still remains below 5%.

Public funding is mainly provided by the State (30%) and local authorities (municipalities) (70%). VET providers decide on the use of all funds granted. In upper secondary VET, operating costs per learner vary between EUR 6 488 for all apprenticeships (companies cover most of the costs) to EUR 27 956 in special needs VET ([23]The most recent available data of 2017.).

In VET (excluding apprenticeships and special needs), funding varies by study field. Total VET funding is 1.5% from government spending and 13% from the spending of the Ministry of Education and Culture (2019).

 

Operating costs per learner in upper secondary VET by study field in 2012, 2014, 2017 (euros)

Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

 

At the beginning of 2018, the unit price of apprenticeship training was increased to the same level as that of institution-based training. This is expected to encourage education providers to increase their offer of apprenticeship training. In addition, if the apprentice is a long-term unemployed jobseeker, lacks professional skills, or is disabled, the employer may also receive a state-funded pay subsidy.

The 2022 financing system for better performance

With the amendment to the Act on the Financing of the Provision of Education and Culture (532/2017) that entered into force at the beginning of 2018, a single coherent funding system was established for all VET programmes. The Act includes one uniform funding system for the provision of VET covering vocational upper secondary education and training, vocational further education and training, apprenticeship training and labour market training leading to a qualification (see Section 2.9.3). Funding criteria are uniform irrespective of the type of education provider.

The new system of funding is moving away from the current model of core funding and a very small element of performance funding (5%), towards one based on funding divided into core, performance and effectiveness and strategy.

 

Share of VET funding elements from 2022

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture; Finnish National Agency for Education (2018). Finnish VET in a nutshell. ISBN: 978-952-263-592-1.

 

  • 50% core funding is based on the number of students; it is important for forward planning and ensuring future provision of VET in all fields and for all students;
  • 35% performance funding is based on the number of completed qualifications and qualification units; it is meant to steer education providers to target education and qualifications in accordance with competence needs and to intensify study processes;
  • 15% effectiveness funding is based on students’ access to employment, pursuit of further education and feedback from both students and the labour market ([24]VET providers must collect these data. The system is not fully operational yet as the new financing system will be ready in 2022.); it aims to encourage education providers to redirect education to fields where labour is needed to ensure that education corresponds to the needs of the working life and that it is of high quality and provides the students with the competence to study further;
  • in addition, a relatively small amount of strategy funding (decided by parliament) will be made available; it is meant to support development and actions that are important from the education policy standpoint. It could be used, for example, for VET national development projects, skills competitions and developing education provider networks (e.g. mergers).

The new funding system will gradually be introduced and will be fully operational in 2022.

 

VET funding elements 2018-22 (%)

Source: Ministry of Education and Culture.

 

In VET, there are:

  • teachers of vocational units, teachers of common units, special needs teachers;
  • trainers.

Teaching is a popular profession in Finland. The popularity of vocational teacher education has been consistent over many years, largely because of the flexible arrangements for completing studies. While up to a third of the applicants are admitted annually, there are major variations between different fields.

Those who apply for a place in vocational teacher education are, on average, older than applicants of other forms of teacher education. This is because applicants are required to have prior work experience in their own field. The average age of applicants and those admitted as learners is approximately 40 years.

The proportion of women among applicants and teacher training learners has increased noticeably in recent years. Unlike in other teacher education programmes, it is more difficult for women than for men to gain a place in vocational teacher education. Regarding salaries and terms and conditions of employment, there are no remarkable differences between teachers in general education and VET.

Although there are no official data for trainers ([25]In-company trainers (nationally referred to as workplace instructors) are responsible for supervising learners during their on-the-job learning periods or apprenticeship training in enterprises.) on the attractiveness of their profession, the general impression is that trainers are generally satisfied with their training tasks. In many cases, they perceive more responsibilities and autonomy as recognition of their professionalism; time spent with young learners away from normal routine is also considered to be a reward. Trainers participate in the competence demonstrations involving trainers in learner assessment at the workplace. This assessment plays a significant role on learners’ final qualification certificates.

 

Teacher and trainer qualifications

Source: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/ajantasa/1998/19980986#L5

 

First, teachers of vocational units must have an appropriate higher education degree in their own vocational sector. If such a degree does not exist, it can also be supplemented by the highest possible other qualification in the sector. One specific challenge has been to find qualified teachers in some fields. Another challenge is the sometimes limited shop floor experience of teachers with a university degree. In some fields, therefore now possible to acquire teaching qualifications by completing a specialist vocational qualification (ISCED 4) or some other qualification or training that provides solid competence in the field concerned.

Second, they have a pedagogical teacher training qualification with 60 ECTS credit points, and third, they need relevant work experience in their own field. Teachers of vocational units take teacher’s pedagogical studies at five vocational teacher education institutions (universities of applied sciences) while teachers of common units (such as languages and mathematics) generally complete them at universities.

The content of teacher training is updated continuously by vocational teacher education colleges. Teacher education institutions enjoy wide autonomy in deciding on their curricula and training arrangements. Legislation sets the qualification requirements, but only at a very general level.

Requirements for trainers

Trainers are generally experienced foremen and skilled workers. They frequently have a vocational or professional qualification but hold no pedagogical qualifications.

There are no formal qualifications requirements for trainers in Finland. Their participation in continuing professional development is also left completely up to them and their employers.

There are, however, training programmes available for trainers that follow national guidelines (as recommended by the Finnish National Agency for Education). According to the guidelines, training for trainers comprises three modules, providing participants with the capabilities required in order to: plan training at the workplace; provide vocational competence demonstrations; instruct VET learners and assess their learning; and impart vocational skills. The Finnish National Agency for Education recommends that, where possible, people acting as workplace trainers should participate in the training of trainers. VET education providers are responsible for providing the training.

There is also plenty of autonomy for continuing professional development (CPD) for VET teachers. The CPD obligation of teaching staff is defined partly in legislation and partly in the collective agreement negotiated between the Trade Union of Education in Finland and the employers’ organisation.

Most continuing training is provided free of charge and teachers enjoy full salary benefits during their participation. Funding responsibility rests with teachers’ employers, mainly local authorities. Training content is decided by individual employers and the teachers themselves.

The Parasta osaamista project set up a network for improving VET teacher’s CPD. It started in 2016 and is coordinated by Jyväskylä university. The aim of the project is to support education staff during the implementation of the 2017-2018 VET reform. Emphasis is put on developing coherent practices; unifying quality criteria; promoting competence-based and customer-oriented VET in cooperation with the world of work; mapping the competence needs of VET staff; developing tools and operational models for workplace learning; and the induction of workplace instructors.

The 2016 teacher education development programme (Opettajankoulutuksen kehittämisohjelma) also aims to adopt a systematic and coherent structure for teachers’ competence development during their careers. It is recommended that education institutions prepare competence development plans, which will be underpinned by strategic plans and evaluations of competence by education providers. Particular attention is being paid to building up the vocational skills of young teachers and their opportunities for receiving support. CPD, promoting the integration of Finnish language learning into the vocational studies, language awareness focused teaching and collaborative instruction, is being organised.

VET schools offer short courses/events to upskill workplace instructors in relation to various themes, such as how to guide special needs learners at the workplace. The Parasta osaamista project also offers support for workplace instructors.

More information is available in the Cedefop ReferNet thematic perspective on teachers and trainers ([26]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/country-reports/teachers-and-trainers).

 

 

Skills anticipation activities are well established and linked to policy-making. For more than a decade, socio-economic factors such as the effects of the economic recession, the gradually decreasing labour force, and the ageing population have increased the need to improve the match between supply and demand skills. As a result, significant investment in skills anticipation has been undertaken by the government and its partners. The aim is to steer the education system – both VET and higher education – to meet the needs of the labour market.

At national level, the Finnish National Agency for Education, which operates under the auspices of the Ministry of Education and Culture, produces long-term (10+ years) national forecasts ([27]https://beta.oph.fi/fi/tilastot-ja-julkaisut/julkaisut/osaaminen-2035) on the demand for labour and education needs in support of decision-making. It is supported by the skills anticipation forum, established in early 2017. The Ministry of Education and Culture decides on study places by field of education (around 10). At regional level, councils anticipate skills needs in the municipalities in the region. The forecasting data is also used for guidance and employment counselling to provide information regarding future employment opportunities. The Finnish National Agency for Education also supports regional forecasting efforts, which are carried out under the supervision of regional councils. The goal is to steer the number of learner places in education and training provision to ensure that it matches developments in the demand for labour as closely as possible.

In general, there is a high degree of stakeholder involvement in skills anticipation activities. Major trade unions, employers, regional councils, and representatives of education institutions are involved in anticipation exercises. The responsibility of education providers for anticipating and responding to labour market changes has increased, as operational targeting and steering powers ([28]It means among other things that VET providers can decide within the limits of the licence received from Ministry of Education and Culture what qualifications and training programmes to offer.) have been devolved to universities, universities of applied sciences, and VET providers. Providers are required to play an active role in addressing the national/regional labour market skills needs.

In addition, a wide range of national and regional EU-funded anticipation and forecast projects are carried out by organisations such as research institutions, labour market and industry organisations, VET providers, universities and universities of applied sciences. In particular, regional anticipation activities have developed rapidly in the past decade. Key players in these activities include regional councils, the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment (ELY Centres), VET providers, and higher education institutions.

Governance and funding of the relevant exercises are the remit of three ministries (Education and Culture, Finance, Economic Affairs and Employment). These ministries engage in a variety of skills anticipation exercises, taking advantage of the long-term baseline forecasts of economic development produced by the Institute for Economic Research (Valtion Taloudellinen Tutkimuskeskus), a specialised state institution under the Ministry of Finance. The first regional anticipation projects were launched at the beginning of the 2000s. The ministries mostly finance development prognoses of branches, which also include the demand for labour.

Skills anticipation influences government policies on VET, higher education and adult education. Forecasts of future skills demand have an impact on decisions about education supply. Skills anticipation also has an impact on curriculum planning in VET and higher education institutions.

Dissemination of the data generated by skills anticipation exercises is an important element of the anticipation activity. The aim is to make the output from anticipation exercises accessible to a wide audience (policy-makers, employers, jobseekers and young people, etc.) through a range of channels including reports, workshops and online publications. Despite the focus on dissemination of skills anticipation data, there is a need to improve the user friendliness of the existing database to improve information for learners, job seekers and employers ([29]This section is based on Cedefop’s Skills Panorama (2017). Skills anticipation in Finland. Analytical highlights series.
http://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/analytical_highlights/skills-anticipation-finland
).

Quantitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education is responsible for quantitative anticipation. It has developed the Mitenna model for anticipating long-term demand for labour and educational needs. The model provides long-term data on changes in the demand for labour, natural wastage of labour ([30]A reduction in the number of employees, which is achieved by not replacing those who leave.), demand for skilled labour and educational needs. Quantitative anticipation is used to provide information on quantitative needs for vocationally and professionally oriented education and training in upper secondary vocational education and training, university of applied sciences education and university education. The focus is on anticipating the demand for labour over a period of circa 15 years ([31]Growth in competencies for Finland: proposed objectives for degrees and qualifications for the 2020s (Suomi osaamisen kasvu-uralle. Ehdotus tutkintotavoitteista 2020-luvulle).
http://julkaisut.valtioneuvosto.fi/handle/10024/75163
).

Qualitative anticipation

The Finnish National Agency for Education coordinated a project on future competences and skills, known as the VOSE project, between 2008 and 2012. The aim of this project was to create a process model for anticipating vocational competence and skills needs for the future (looking 10 to 15 years ahead).

The knowledge produced through the model serves different levels of education, including vocational, university of applied sciences and university education. Anticipatory knowledge may be utilised, for example, in the national core curriculum, in curriculum planning and the development of the content of education.

The development of the anticipation model has involved social partners representing the piloted sectors (the real estate and building sectors, the social, welfare and health care sectors and the tourism and catering sectors), representatives of research institutions and of various fields of education, as well as other experts in the sectors in question.

The anticipation model created in the VOSE project is now used in the qualitative anticipation of education and training. The model is used to anticipate the skills needs in 2 to 3 fields every year ([32]https://www.oph.fi/english/education_development/anticipation).

National forum for skills anticipation

The National Forum for Skills Anticipation (Osaamisen ennakointifoorumi) serves as a joint expert body in educational anticipation for the Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education. The system consists of a steering group, anticipation groups and a network of experts. The task is to analyse changing competence and skills needs; their impact on the development of education on the basis of the anticipation data; and to promote the interaction of education and training with working life in cooperation with the Ministry and Finnish National Agency for Education. Anticipation groups consist of representatives of employers, employees, education providers, educational administrators, teaching staff and researchers in each field. Anticipation groups are involved in both qualitative and quantitative anticipation work. There are nine anticipation groups representing the following fields:

• natural resources, food production and the environment;

• business and administration;

• education, culture and communications;

• transport and logistics;

• hospitality services;

• built environment;

• social, health and welfare services;

• technology industry and services;

• process industry and production.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([33]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast) and European Skills Index ([34]https://skillspanorama.cedefop.europa.eu/en/indicators/european-skills-index)

The VET curriculum system consists of the:

  • national qualification requirements;
  • education provider´s competence assessment plan;
  • learner`s personal competence development plan.

 

Designing VET qualifications

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

National qualification requirements

Before the 2018 reform, the national qualification requirements for different qualifications were often updated every five to 10 years on average or whenever necessary, either partially or completely. Since 2018, updating the qualifications became a continuous process based on the changing needs in the world of work and the results of anticipation of skill needs.

The starting point for updating a qualification may be changes in the skills needs in the labour market. These changes can lead to a change of the qualification requirements, or even the qualification structure, of initial, further and specialist vocational qualifications. Changes to the qualification structure also require qualification requirements to be renewed. The process of preparing a qualification requirements document usually takes one to two years.

Within the national qualifications framework (NQF), the Finnish National Agency for Education has placed upper secondary vocational qualifications and further vocational qualifications at level 4 (referenced to level 4 of the EQF) and specialist vocational qualifications at level 5. The ECVET system ([35]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/events-and-projects/projects/european-credit-system-vocational-education-and-training-ecvet) was put into practice in Finland in 2014 and from the beginning of August 2018, in accordance with ECVET recommendations, vocational upper secondary qualifications have covered 180 credit points; further vocational qualifications 120, 150 or 180 credit points; and specialist vocational qualifications 160, 180 or 210 credit points. One year of full-time study corresponds to 60 credit points.

The qualification requirements are drawn up under the leadership of the Finnish National Agency for Education in tripartite cooperation with employers, employees and the education sector. Self-employed people are also represented in the preparation of qualification requirements in fields where self-employment is prevalent. The qualification requirements determine: the units included in the qualification; any possible specialisations made up of different units; selection of optional units in addition to compulsory ones; the vocational skills required for each qualification unit; the guidelines for assessment (targets and criteria of assessment); and the ways of demonstrating vocational skills.

The qualification requirements and the vocational competences form the basis for identifying the types of occupational work processes in which vocational skills for a specific qualification can be demonstrated and assessed.

When an update is initiated, the Finnish National Agency for Education sets up a qualification project, inviting experts representing employees, employers and teachers in the field to participate. In the course of its work, the expert group must also consult other experts in the world of work. Once the expert group has completed a draft version of the new qualification requirements, the document will be sent to representatives of unions, organisations, the world of work and VET providers for a broad consultation process. Following this process, the Finnish National Agency for Education adopts the qualification requirements as a nationally binding regulation.

The Finnish National Agency for Education determines the working life committee under which the specific qualification will fall, or establishes a new working life committee for the new qualification. Working life committees are tripartite bodies consisting of employers and employees’ representatives, teachers and self-employed people. They play a key role in the quality assurance of VET. They ensure the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and competence assessment and develop the VET qualifications structure and qualification requirements.

Vocational qualifications are structured in a modular way. These modules comprise units of work or activities found in the world of work. Each vocational qualification unit is a specific occupational area, which can be separated into an independent and assessable component. The vocational skills requirements determined for each qualification unit focus on the core functions of the occupation, mastery of operating processes and the occupational practices of the field in question. These also include skills generally required in working life, such as social skills and key competences for lifelong learning. All qualification requirements share a common structure.

The targets of assessment defined in the qualification requirements indicate those areas of competence on which special attention is focused during assessment. The criteria for assessment have been derived from the vocational skills requirements. The assessment criteria determine the grades awarded for units in upper secondary vocational qualifications and the standard of an acceptable performance in further and specialist qualifications. The section entitled ‘Ways of demonstrating vocational skills’ describes how candidates are to demonstrate their vocational skills in vocational demonstrations.

The qualifications requirements adopted by the Finnish National Agency for Education are published in electronic form on the Finnish National Agency for Education website.

Competence assessment plans

Competence assessment plans are prepared by the respective education provider for each training programme or qualification. The plan details the guidelines and procedures adopted by the education provider regarding the implementation of competence assessment. The plan includes how the following aspects are to be carried out (who does what, how, where it is registered and how the student, staff and stakeholders ([36]Teachers, guidance and counselling staff and assessors of competence.) are informed): recognition of prior learning; demonstration of competence; skills assurance before the demonstration of competence; assessment; certification; preparatory programme planning; and monitoring the implementation of the plan itself.

The competence assessment plan is used by teachers, guidance personnel and assessors of competence. The feasibility of the plan is self-monitored and self-assessed by VET providers as part of their quality assurance system. The plan is attached to the application for a licence to provide VET.

Learner personal competence development plan

At the beginning of VET studies objectives for competence development are recorded in a personal competence development plan for each learner. A teacher draws up the plan together with a learner. An employer or another representative of a workplace or other cooperation partner may also participate in the preparation of the personal competence development plan, when required. The plan includes information on, for example, identification and recognition of prior learning, acquisition of missing skills, competence demonstrations and other demonstration of skills, and the guidance and support needed. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The learner can also include units from general upper secondary curriculum, other vocational qualifications (incl. further vocational qualifications and specialist vocational qualifications) or degrees of universities of applied sciences in their personal competence development plan. The plan can be up-dated during the studies whenever necessary.

Involvement of the world of work in developing qualification requirements and quality in VET

The representatives of the world of work participate in the anticipation of skills and education needs both nationally and regionally, for example through anticipation groups, advisory committees and through consultation processes. They participate in drawing up the qualification requirements at national level and they are represented in working life committees.

At regional level the representatives from enterprises participate in the organisation and planning of training and skills demonstrations, regional committees as well as assessment of skills demonstrations. This allows continuous feedback from the world of work.

In 2017, the former 30 national education and training committees were replaced by nine anticipating groups representing different vocational fields (see Section 3.1.3). Members of these groups are representatives of employers, employees and self-employed entrepreneurs, as well as VET providers, higher education institutions, teaching staff, researchers and educational administration. The anticipating groups are appointed until 2020. Their tasks include:

• analysing changing and new competence and skills needs of working life and their implications for different levels of education;

• offering recommendations for the development of VET programmes;

• strengthening cooperation between upper secondary VET and higher education;

  • providing public authorities with recommendations on new development needs and cooperation between the world of work and education.

Continuous improvement of VET quality is a key priority in Finland. The following activities are essential when assuring that vocational education and training meets the requirements of the world of work.

 

Stakeholder roles in assuring VET quality

Source: Finnish National Agency for Education.

 

The quality assurance of VET consists of VET provider´s own quality management, national VET steering and external evaluation.

VET legislation sets the frame for VET providers’ operations. The law requires that the VET provider is responsible for the quality of qualifications and programmes offered and for their constant improvement. VET providers have to have a functional quality assurance system in place. According to the law, they must evaluate the quality, effectiveness (employability, pursuit of further education and feedback from learners and working life) and ‘profitability’ (i.e. how well the operations have met the needs of the learner and the world of work, and have the resources been used in an optimal way) of the qualifications, programmes and other operations. The purpose of VET provider self-evaluation is to recognise strengths and targets to be developed. The ministry offers non-compulsory criteria for self-evaluation to support the process.

The national VET steering includes legislation and regulations related to financing and qualification requirements. It also includes quality strategy, quality award competition, government subsidies for quality improvement, supporting materials produced by the ministry and the agency and criteria for self- and peer evaluation.

According to the VET legislation, VET providers also have to participate regularly in external evaluations of their operations and quality management systems and publish the main results of those evaluations. External evaluation includes the quality assurance of competence demonstrations and competence assessment made by the working life committees and evaluations made by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre.

Supervision of qualifications

Working life committees are responsible for the supervision of qualifications. Their aim is to ensure the quality and working life orientation of VET. They are statutory bodies of elected officials, appointed by the Finnish National Agency for Education to manage a public duty.

The committees’ duties are:

• ensuring the quality of the implementation of competence demonstrations and assessment;

• participating in the development of qualification structure and vocational qualifications;

• processing learners’ rectification requests concerning competence assessments.

Working life committee members handle these tasks for three years, in addition to their regular duties. A maximum of nine members may be appointed to each working life committee. They must represent employers, employees, teachers and, if self-employment is common within the sector in question, self-employed professionals. There are 39 working life committees. Each working life committee is responsible for one or more qualifications. Working life committees participate in developing the qualification structure and in designing the qualification requirements. They also participate in quality assurance of skills demonstrations and assessment through national feedback, follow-up and evaluation data, and may also visit the skills demonstrations events, when necessary. Finally, they handle the requests related to the rectification of assessment.

Quality assurance of VET providers

The legislation on VET gives education providers a great deal of freedom in deciding on the measures concerning their education provision, use of public funding and quality management. The legislation obliges the providers to evaluate their training provision and its effectiveness as well as to participate in external evaluations. This means that the education providers need to have their own operating system that contains relevant and functional quality management measures (selected by VET providers).

Self-evaluation and external evaluation supports VET providers’ continuous improvement and results-oriented performance. Through evaluation, providers obtain information about major strengths and development needs. VET providers monitor, assess and analyse results achieved systematically through means such as surveys, quantitative indicators and self-evaluation. In VET, data and information are most often collected through queries ([37]VET provider collects feedback from learners twice: at the beginning of studies and at the end.) and assessments of learning outcomes. The VET provider collects the feedback from learners and saves the learners´ answers in the online system that has been developed for this purpose. The Ministry of Education and Culture and the Finnish National Agency for Education have access to the results.

External evaluation of training is frequently ([38]The term used in the legislation.) carried out, for example, by the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre. Internal audits, benchmarking and peer reviews are other methods employed in evaluation.

Learner feedback

Starting from 2020, one sixth of effectiveness-based funding will be granted to VET providers based on the feedback from learners. The feedback is collected via a centrally designed questionnaire which learners answer twice: at the beginning of the studies and at the end, once the learner has demonstrated all the skills and competences needed for the qualification. Learner feedback and its collection are regulated in the legislation.

In the questionnaire, the learners respond to statements rating them on a five-point scale from one (strongly disagree) to five (strongly agree). At the beginning of their studies learners are required to rate statements relating to the following themes: flexibility of starting time of studies and content of the individual programme; accreditation of prior learning; and support and guidance needed. At the end of their studies, learners give feedback concerning the following themes: flexibility in studies; the ways in which teaching facilities and the learning environment supported studies; receiving support and guidance during studies; equity between learners and workers at the workplace; opportunities to study and learn in the workplace; gaining of entrepreneurial competence; and assessment of their individual competence and readiness for the working life and further studies.

New quality assurance guidelines

The new quality assurance guidelines are currently being discussed by stakeholders to be published by the end of 2019. Since 2011, VET quality strategy has been in place, drawn up by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The 2018 reformed system has increased the significance of the quality management, together with the providers’ role in managing VET. The new strategy is supposed to cover all parts of the national quality assurance system:

• VET providers’ quality management;

• national steering of VET;

• external evaluation of VET;

except the method that VET providers may select themselves.

Validation of non-formal and informal learning has relatively long and established roots in Finland and the legislation and policies are well developed and detailed. However, there is no one single law for this; laws and regulations for each field of education define validation separately. These fields include general upper secondary education, vocational education and training (including continuing VET), and higher education. The core message of the legislation is that validation of non-formal and informal learning is a subjective right of the individual and the competences of an individual should be validated regardless of when and where they have been acquired. Validation is based either on:

• documentation presented; or

• competence demonstration.

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

Equal opportunities are a long-standing fundamental principle of the Finnish education policy. The background of learners, including their financial circumstances, should not be a barrier to participation in education. Most education provision is publicly funded and free for learners from pre- primary to higher education levels. In addition, financial support for learners of all ages is available.

Financial support for full-time learners

Financial support is available for full-time VET learners. The main forms of support are study grants, housing supplements with transport subsidy and government guarantees for student loans. The first two of these are government-financed monthly benefits, while student loans are granted by banks.

Study grants

A study grant is available as soon as eligibility for child benefit finishes at the age of 17. The monthly amount before tax ([39]Learners pay taxes from their allowances if they receive income from other source(s).) is between EUR 38.50 and 249.01 depending on the age, marital status and type of accommodation.

Housing supplement and transport subsidy

The housing supplement covers 80% of the rent, but may not exceed EUR 201.60 per month. In addition, school transport subsidy is available when the distance between home and school exceeds 10 km and the monthly cost of travel is at least 54 euro.

Government guarantees for student loans

The government guarantees that student loans (with some exceptions) are available to learners who are receiving a study grant. A loan guarantee can, however, also be granted to learners, who are not receiving a study grant, if they live with their parent and they are 18–19 years of age and attend a secondary level education institution, or if they are under 17 and live alone.

Student loans are available from banks operating in Finland. The lending bank will check the loan guarantee details with the social insurance institution of Finland (Kansaneläkelaitos or Kela) when granting a loan. Interest, repayment and other terms and conditions applying to the loan are agreed between the bank and the learner. The amount of the loan is EUR 300 per month (in secondary education for learners under age 18) or EUR 650 per month (in secondary education for learners of age 18 or older )

Learning material supplement

Although upper secondary education is free of charge, learners are required to buy their own learning materials (for instance, books, toolsets and any other materials). A learning material supplement of EUR 46.80 per month (equal to approximately EUR 1 400 for three semesters) is to be granted from August 2019 onwards for VET learners if they are:

  • between age 17 and 19 and living with their parents/guardians;
  • 17 years old and living on their own; or
  • under age 17 and their parents’ annual income is less than EUR 41 100.

Study leave for employees

All employees in a contractual and public service employment relationship are entitled to study leave when the full-time employment relationship with the same employer has lasted for at least one year ([40]In one or multiple periods.). The maximum length of study leave with the same employer is two years over a period of five years. If the employment has lasted for less than a year, but for at least three months, the maximum length of study leave is five days.

The studies must be subject to public supervision. The study leave is unpaid unless otherwise agreed with the employer.

Employment Fund support for adult learners

The Employment Fund administered by social partners of the Finnish labour market supports employees’ professional development leading to a qualification. In 2015, the Employment Fund granted EUR 157 million in adult education allowances and scholarships for qualified employees.

Adult education allowance

An adult education allowance is available to employees and self-employed people who wish to go on a study leave for at least two months. The allowance is a legal right and can be granted to an applicant who has a working history of at least eight years (or at least five years by 31 July 2010), and who has been working for the same employer for at least one year. To qualify for the allowance, the applicant must participate in studies leading to a qualification or in further vocational training organised by a Finnish education institution under public supervision. The duration of the allowance is determined on the basis of the applicant’s working history and ranges from 2 to 15 months. Since 1 August 2010, the amount of the allowance has been equal to the amount of the earnings-related unemployment allowance. For example, in 2019, on the basis of a monthly salary of EUR 2 000, a learner will receive a gross education allowance of EUR 1 185.34 ([41]https://www.tyollisyysrahasto.fi/en/benefits-for-adult-students/full-adult-education-allowance/).

Scholarships for qualified employees

A scholarship is available for those who have completed a vocational, further or specialist qualification. The amount of the one-time scholarship is EUR 390 and it is tax-free. The scholarship must be applied for within a year after completing the qualification.

Depending on the agreement between employer and employee, an employer who takes on an apprentice may receive training compensation to cover the costs of training provided at the workplace. The amount of compensation to be paid to the employer is agreed separately with employer and VET provider as part of each apprenticeship contract. Average training compensation varies between EUR 100-200 per month for initial VET qualification and EUR 10-100 per month for continuing VET. It is funded by the municipal funds and is paid either by the local apprenticeship centre or the education institution providing apprenticeship training.

Guidance and counselling start at the beginning of basic education and continue through all education levels. The guidance and counselling provided within the education system are complemented by guidance services offered by public employment offices.

In upper secondary VET, guidance counsellors play a key role in coordinating, planning and implementing guidance and counselling. VET learners have a right to receive guidance and every VET provider has a guidance counsellor available (providers can share this service).

Teachers also play a big role in giving guidance for learners. But guidance is also an integral part of the work of all teachers. A teacher’s task is to guide and motivate the learners to complete their qualifications, support them in the planning of their further studies, help them to find their strengths and develop their learning skills. Guidance and counselling should enable all pupils to reach the best results possible for them. In the workplace, guidance is coordinated by a qualified trainer.

Teachers working as guidance counsellors in Finnish schools must have a teacher training qualification at Master’s level, supplemented by studies in guidance and counselling.

The topics covered by guidance and counselling include different education and training options and the development of learners’ capabilities to make choices and solutions concerning education, training and future career. Educational support and guidance also covers areas such as support for learning according to the individual capacity of the learners, school attendance and learner welfare.

There have been few major changes in guidance and counselling in recent years but, within the 2018 VET reform, the role of guidance and counselling has been emphasised. VET was made more individual and flexible for learners.

Learners’ individual needs and existing competences are taken into account in all vocational studies. A personal competence development plan is prepared for each learner. The plan is drawn up by the teacher or guidance counsellor together with the learner and, when applicable, a representative from the world of work. The plan identifies and recognises the skills previously acquired by the learner and outlines what kind of competences the learner needs and how they will be acquired in different learning environments.

In addition to guidance and counselling related to learning methods and practices, the personal competence development plan includes information on necessary supportive measures. The support received by a learner may include special teaching and study arrangements due to learning difficulties, injury or illness, or studies supporting learning abilities.

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

Specialist VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 454

Work-based specialist VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 454 (Erikoisammattitutkinto)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

454

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([59]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([61]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Specialist vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life partners ([62]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management ([63]The specialist vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises four competence areas and qualification titles (in parentheses):
- managing horse stables operations (head groom);
- working as a specialist in farriery (farrier (SQ));
- equestrian sports management (equestrian sports manager);
- riding instruction (riding instructor (SQ)).
)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([64]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Initial VET programmes

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Mainly school-based VET programmes (also available as apprenticeship) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (Ammatillinen perustutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

19

Length of a programme (years)

3 ([44]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

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)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET provider is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([46]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

=70-80% ([47]The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.)

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

A vocational upper secondary qualification (initial VET) is designed for young people who may not have any work experience and for adults who, for example, don´t have any formal qualification or who want to change their profession.

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

Admission to initial VET programmes requires a basic education graduation certificate.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([48]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland).).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/180/210 for specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Initial vocational qualification in horse care and management ([49]Qualification holders manage daily stable maintenance and horse care tasks and are able to carry out the essential maintenance tasks associated with horse care, such as care of hooves and tack. In addition to basic competence in the field, qualification holders have specialist skills to work either as a groom or a riding instructor in various sectors of the horse industry.The qualification titles produced by the vocational qualification in horse care and management are groom and riding instructor.)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full-time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([50]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

Y

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional).

In addition to the above, all initial vocational qualification programmes include study units that consist of common rather than specific vocational competence:

  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

Y

Key competences help students to keep up with the changes in society and working life. In the wake of the 2018 VET reform, key competences are no longer addressed as a separate part of vocational competence. They have been modified so that key competences are included in all vocational skills requirements and assessment criteria.

The key competences for lifelong learning are: digital and technological competence; mathematics and science competence; competence development; communication and interaction competence; competence for sustainable development; cultural competence; social and citizenship competence; and entrepreneurial competence.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

The share of vocational upper secondary (IVET) learners in 2017 was 73% of all VET learners ([51]https://vipunen.fi/en-gb/_layouts/15/xlviewer.aspx?id=/en-gb/Reports/Ammatillinen%20koulutus%20-%20opiskelijat%20-%20aikasarja_EN.xlsb).

EQF 4

Further VET,

WBL varies

ISCED 354

Work-based further VET, tailored individually, leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (ammattitutkinto)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12+

Usual completion grade

12+

Usual entry age

19+

Usual completion age

19+

Length of a programme (years)

The duration depends on a person´s prior learning; usually it is less than 2 years ([52]Duration depends on the prior learning of the student, especially in the case of further and specialist vocational programmes, and is defined in the personal competence development plan of each learner.)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

It is possible to collect moderate student fees; on average 15% of the costs of the training.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits
Learning forms (e.g. dual, part-time, distance)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship;
  • programmes that comprise work-based learning but are not apprenticeships or fall under a training agreement category.
Main providers

The most common type of VET providers is vocational institutions (owned by municipalities, industry and service sector) ([54]Some VET providers are foundations or limited companies; they are categorised as ‘private’ but municipalities usually have shares in such companies/foundations.). They provide education and training to more than 75% of initial VET learners. Specialised (usually owned by one private company or association, e.g. a car manufacturer) and special needs (usually owned by municipalities and associations, e.g. Organisation for Respiratory Health) vocational institutions, fire, police and security service institutions (national) and folk high schools, sports institutions, music schools and colleges (local) account for less than 10% of learners in initial VET. Vocational adult education centres (public and regional) mostly provide further and specialist VET.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

The share of work-based learning (WBL) is individually planned for each learner in the personal competence development plan.

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • training agreement;
  • apprenticeship training contract.
Main target groups

Further vocational qualifications (continuing VET) are for adults who usually have work experience or other prior learning.

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

Admission to further vocational qualifications is decided on a case-by-case basis, taking work experience into consideration. However, work experience or prior qualifications are not a precondition for enrolling.

Assessment of learning outcomes

No final examinations exist in VET. Once learners successfully complete all the studies included in their personal competence development plans, the VET provider grants a certificate for the entire qualification or for one or more units of the qualification. All VET programmes ensure eligibility for higher education studies.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The national qualification requirements define the required vocational competence, principles of assessment and how the competence is demonstrated. They are drawn up by the Finnish National Agency for Education in cooperation with working life ([55]Representatives of the employees/self-employed and employers (altogether called ‘working life’ in Finland)).

Each qualification has a number of competence points:

  • 180 for initial/upper secondary vocational qualifications;
  • 120/150/180 for further vocational qualifications;
  • 160/ 180/210 specialist vocational qualifications.
Examples of qualifications

Further vocational qualification in horse care and management ([56]The further vocational qualification in horse care and management comprises eight competence areas and seven qualification titles (in parentheses): provision of equine-assisted services (provider of equine services); provision of horse breeding service (same as previous); provision of equine massage services (horse massage therapist); farriery (farrier); tack-making (tack-maker); riding instruction (riding instructor (FQ) ); training and coaching riding horses (trainer of young riding horses); provision of training services in harness racing (trainer of trotters).)

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates can:

  • enter the labour market
    • employed full time
    • employed and in education;
  • continue with further education.
Destination of graduates

NB: 2016 data (most recent).
Source: Education Statistics Finland (Vipunen): https://vipunen.fi/

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

The Vocational Upper Secondary Education and Training Decree (673/2017([57]https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2017/20170673)) defines the principles for recognising prior learning. Each student´s personal competence development plan must include recognition of prior learning. Prior learning acquired in training, working life or other learning environments has to be recognised as part of the qualification. The recognition of prior learning must be done in all VET qualifications: in vocational, further and specialist qualifications.

General education subjects

N

All programmes leading to a qualification include vocational study units:

  • basic and field-specific study unit(s) (compulsory);
  • specialised study units (compulsory and optional);
  • communication and interaction competence;
  • mathematics and science competence;
  • citizenship and working life competence.

The common units may be included in further and specialist qualifications but only if this is seen as necessary when making the personal competence development plan.

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available