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

General themes

The main features of the French VET system are:

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

Distinctive features:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Upskilling low-qualified youth and unemployed

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Information not available

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

39.9%

57.1%

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Early leavers from education and training in 2009-18

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

The following levels are included in initial education and training:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In Initial VET the following learning options are available:

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

Types of learning in school-based programmes:

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

Learning forms in continuing VET:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Governance of the French VET system

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

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

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

IVET

Governance of initial VET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IVET providers

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

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

Higher education comprises:

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

Reforming upper secondary VET

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

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

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

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

CVET

Governance of continuing VET

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

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

Since 2014, the Regions have been in charge of

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

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

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

Reforming continuing vocational training

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

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

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

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

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

CVET training – main characteristics

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

Lifelong learning programmes by target groups, objectives and funding sources

Programme name

Target group

Target qualification

Funding

sources

Professional development contract

Young people

Jobseekers

People on basic

welfare benefits

RNCP registered diploma or qualification 74% other than:

- certificates of vocational qualification (CQP): 11.8%

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

Social partners, employers and State

Skills development plan

Employees

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

Mainly employers and social partners

Promotion or transition through apprenticeship (new in 2019)

Mainly employees

This programme lead to a recognised diploma, title or qualification

Mainly social partners, employers

Personal training account with professional transition (new in 2019)

Employees, Jobseekers who have previously held a temporary contract

This programme lead to a recognised diploma, title or qualification

Mainly social partners

Personal training account

Employees, jobseekers, unqualified young people

Notably:

- Courses providing basic

knowledge and skills;

- Courses leading to a RNCP registered qualification or to an

identified part of a vocational

qualification, classified in the list,

for the purpose of acquiring a et of skills;

- CQP;

- work experience accreditation

(VAE) support initiatives

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

Courses funded by the Region

Mainly jobseekers, sometimes employees

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

Social and professional integration courses 16.6%

Regions, joint funding by State social partners

is possible

Courses funded by local job centers

 

Jobseeker courses for qualifications,

Professional development,

Job adaptation

Regions,

joint funding by

State, social partners

is possible

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

CVET providers

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

 

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

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

 

Employment policies relevant to VET

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

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

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

IVET funding

Education funding includes:

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

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

Funding of initial education and training, 2016

Funding category

Share of total funding

Teaching and training

85.3%

Catering and lodging

7.2%

Administration, guidance, transports and other expenses

7.5%

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

CVET funding

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

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

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

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

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

Overall CVET expenditure by main financers

 

2014

(EUR millions)

2015

(EUR millions)

Structure 2015 (%)

Évolution 2015 / 2014 (%)

Companies (excluding direct expenses)

7 992

7 677

30.8 %

-3.9

Unédic/Pôle emploi and other public administrations

2 135

2 104

8.4

-1.5

Regions

4 500

4 647

18.7 %

3.3

State

3 748

3 483

14.0 %

-7.1

Other local authorities

116

113

0.5%

-2.8

Private individual

1 362

1 403

5.6%

3.0

State, territorial and hospital public services

5 481

5 469

22%

-0.2

TOTAL

25 334

24 896

100.0

-1.7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In IVET

Teachers may benefit from continuing training schemes.

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

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

In CVET

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

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

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

The role of skills operators in skills anticipation

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

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

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

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

Financial support to SMEs

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

--------

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

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

Designing VET qualifications

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

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

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

Designing IVET qualifications

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

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

Vocational advisory committees (CPC)

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

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

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

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

Certification processes under the Ministry of Higher education

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

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

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

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

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

Certification processes in CVET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The personal training account

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

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

Training aids for jobseekers

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

Individual training aid

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

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

Public subsidies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Career guidance in IVET

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

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

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

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

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

Career guidance for adults, employees or jobseekers

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

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

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

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

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

Public and private career guidance and counselling actors at national level

Job-related information

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

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

Information on training sources

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

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

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

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

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

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

Higher technician

programmes (BTS, DUT)

WBL 30%,

2 years

ISCED 554

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

554

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

14

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits

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

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

 

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

In classrooms (WBL 30%):

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

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

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

In VET institutions:

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

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs):

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

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

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

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

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

 

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

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

EQF 6

Bachelor programmes

WBL 10%,

3 years

ISCED 655

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

655

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

16

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

21

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

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

In full time university programmes (WBL 10%):

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

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

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

In VET institutions:

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

In apprenticeship delivery:

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

EQF 7

Master programmes

WBL: up to 50%,

2 years

ISCED 757

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

757

Usual entry grade

16

Usual completion grade

17

Usual entry age

21

Usual completion age

22

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Information not available

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

ECVET or other credits

120 ECTS credits, spread over four semesters.

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

In full time university programmes (WBL 50%):

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

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

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

In higher education institutions:

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

In apprenticeship delivery:

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

Learners with a bachelor degree, EQF level 6.

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

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

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

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

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

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

EQF 7

Qualified engineer

Master degree programmes

at public or private

higher colleges of excellence

5 years,

ISCED 756

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

756

Usual entry grade

13

Usual completion grade

17

Usual entry age

18

Usual completion age

23

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

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

In VET institutions:

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

In apprenticeship delivery:

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

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

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

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

EQF 6 -7

Programmes at public or private

higher colleges of excellence

degree or certificate in

business and management (State-labelled)

3 years,

ISCED 655

Degree or Master in

business and management (State-labelled)

5 years,

ISCED 756

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

655 (three-year programmes)

756 (five-year programmes)

Usual entry grade

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

Usual completion grade

15 - 17

Usual entry age

18 – 22 (three-year programmes)

18 (five-year programmes)

Usual completion age

21 - 23

Length of a programme (years)

3 - 5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

Information not available

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Public higher education is free

Is it available for adults?

Y

Programmes are accessible to learners over 18

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

In full time university programmes:

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

In apprenticeship delivery (WBL 67%):

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

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

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

In apprenticeship delivery:

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

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

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

Degree or certificate in business and management

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

EQF level 7, ISCED 655.

Degree or Master in business and management;

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

EQF 7, ISCED 756.

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

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

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

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

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

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

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

Information not available

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

Post-secondary

Programme Types
Not available

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 4

Upper secondary technological

programmes,

3 years,

ISCED 344

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

344

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

12

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

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

There are eight different specialisations in grades 11 and 12.

In grade 12, learners may choose between four streams:

Key competences

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Upper secondary VET

programmes,

WBL ca 50%,

2 or 3 years

ISCED 353,354

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

353 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

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

Usual entry grade

10

Usual completion grade

11 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

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

Usual entry age

16

Usual completion age

17 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

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

Length of a programme (years)

2 (professional skills certificate, CAP)

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

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Y

Is it initial VET?

Y

Is it continuing VET?

N

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

In schools (WBL 50%):

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

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

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

In schools:

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

In apprenticeship training centres (CFAs):

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

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

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

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

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

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

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

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

General education subjects

Y

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

Key competences

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

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Certificates of

professional qualifications (CPQ)

continuing vocational training

(lifelong learning) programmes

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

Not applicable

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

Information not available

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

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

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main providers

The training market is free.

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

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

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

In CVET, programmes target

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

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

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

Examples of qualifications

Information not available

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Information not available

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

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

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

Professional diploma

(titre professional)

continuing vocational training

(lifelong learning) programmes

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

Information not available

Usual entry grade

Not applicable

Usual completion grade

Not applicable

Usual entry age

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

Usual completion age

Not applicable

Length of a programme (years)

Information not available

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

N

(education is compulsory until age16)

Is it part of formal education and training system?

N

Is it initial VET?

N

Is it continuing VET?

Y

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

Is it offered free of charge?

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

Is it available for adults?

Y

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

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

The credential may be granted by

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

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

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

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

Main providers

The training market is free.

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

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

Information not available

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

Information not available

Main target groups

In CVET, programmes target

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

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

Assessment of learning outcomes

Information not available

Diplomas/certificates provided

Professional diploma (Titre professionnel)

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

Examples of qualifications

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

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

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

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

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Information not available

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

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

General education subjects

Information not available

Key competences

N

Application of learning outcomes approach

Information not available

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

Information not available

General themes

VET in Poland comprises the following main features:

  • high decrease in participation in VET programmes at upper secondary and post-secondary levels (35.6% during 2005-2017 period) mainly due to demographic challenges and reduced interest in VET among young learners. However, during last several years a small increase in the share of students in vocational education can be observed;
  • participation in VET programmes at the upper secondary level remains slightly higher than in general education;
  • the share of the population with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level of education, for both men and women, is much higher than the EU average;
  • early leaving from education and training is significantly below the EU-28 average and has remained stable over the last decade;
  • participation in lifelong learning remains well below the EU-28 average and has been stable in the past decade;
  • the VET system has been under continuous reform over the last few years aiming to improve its quality and effectiveness.

Distinctive features ([1]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Poland. Luxembourg: Publications Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8125_en.pdf.
)([1a]Information on the Polish VET system is also partially based on: Chłoń-Domińczak, A. et al. (2019). Vocational education and training in Europe – Poland. Cedefop ReferNet VET in Europe reports 2018.
):

Over the past three decades, Poland’s education system has undergone several profound changes in its structure, forms of organisation and management, as well as of the core curriculum. As a result of these changes, distinctive VET features were developed:

  • a flexible VET system allows changing pathways at any point;
  • the classification of occupations for vocational education includes a list of occupations for which VET programmes can provide education. Each occupation comprises one to two qualifications that can be acquired in IVET and CVET. A VET qualification diploma can be issued only when all qualifications required for an occupation have been acquired (via State vocational examinations), together with a school leaving certificate;
  • core curricula for all VET occupations included in the classification of occupations. Separate VET qualifications within specific occupations are described in the core curricula as a set of expected learning outcomes: knowledge, occupational skills, and personal and social competences allowing learners to handle their occupational tasks independently. Learning outcomes are linked to detailed assessment criteria;
  • autonomy of VET schools in developing their teaching programmes, based on VET core curricula, and in choosing either subject-centred or modular programmes, which can be easily modified, depending on labour market needs;
  • uniform external vocational examinations, centrally organised;
  • vocational qualification courses allowing adults to acquire qualifications faster than IVET learners;
  • validation of competences acquired in different learning contexts, including professional experience, by taking external examinations.

The main challenges for VET are:

  • raising attractiveness of VET in society;
  • continuous adaptation of core curricula to the challenges and current needs of the labour market;
  • increasing employer engagement in organising practical training, identifying and forecasting skills and qualification needs in the labour market, and in reviewing VET curricula;
  • adjusting VET teachers’ qualifications and competences by easing access to traineeships in enterprises;
  • assuring a suitable number of VET teachers and trainers with adequate competences through the professional development of teachers and attracting young people to the profession;
  • encouraging adult learners to LLL;
  • encouraging sustainable cooperation between VET schools and higher education institutions (HEI) aimed at transferring HEI good practices in teaching, training and developing teachers’ competences;
  • assuring high quality guidance and counselling for all age groups;
  • providing high quality infrastructure for VET schools to ensure teaching and training in line with labour market needs.

Several recent initiatives undertaken by the education ministry address these challenges:

  • new measures in the VET system were introduced by the education ministry in November 2018 ([2]The Act of 22 November 2018 amending the Act on the Education Law, the School Education Act and other acts:
    http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/DocDetails.xsp?id=WDU20180002245.
    ) focusing on strengthening the mechanisms of including employers in the development of VET in all its stages and the systematic adaptation of vocational education to the needs of the labour market, in particular:

    •  strengthening cooperation between employers and schools mainly in relation to practical training and teacher professional development in enterprises;
    •  expanding the implementation of work-based learning in VET, introducing a new form of apprenticeship;
    •  introducing an annual forecast of the demand for employees in VET occupations and directing more funds to occupations of special demand on the labour market;
    •  strengthening different quality assurance mechanisms e.g. introducing a requirement for all VET learners to take a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination, enhancing the accreditation system for institutions providing CVET;
    •  allowing VET schools to organise shorter forms of vocational courses of special importance for adult learners.
  • the Act on the Integrated Qualifications System (2016) has brought together the qualifications framework, register of qualifications that can be attained, quality assurance and validation principles. General and higher education level qualifications are included in the register;
  • non-statutory qualifications linked to CVET have been registered based on the initiative of VET providers or other stakeholders;
  • new regulations strengthening guidance and counselling in schools were developed and are being implemented; 
  • new core curricula for vocational education were developed by the education ministry together with the Centre for Education Development (ORE), employers and other stakeholders;
  • new sectoral skills councils have been established under the umbrella of the Polish Enterprise Development Agency, giving voice to sectoral stakeholders regarding the demand for competences at sectoral level to improve education and labour market matching; 
  • numerous initiatives addressing the above-mentioned challenges in VET were developed with ESF co-funding, including projects supporting: cooperation among VET schools and HEI, development of counselling and guidance in schools, development of programmes for vocational courses for adults, enhancing employers’ involvement in different stages of VET development and in organising practical training.

Based on VET in Poland Spotlight 2017 ([3]Cedefop (2018). Spotlight on vocational education and training in Poland. Luxembourg: Publication Office.
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/8125_en.pdf .
)

Population in 2018: 37 976 687 ([4]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].)

It decreased since 2013 by 0.2% due to negative natural growth ([5]NB: Data for population as of 1 January. Eurostat table tps00001 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

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

An old-age dependency ratio is expected to increase from 22 in 2015 to 65 in 2060 ([6]Old-age-dependency ratio is defined as the ratio between the number of persons aged 65 and more over the number of working-age persons (15-64). The value is expressed per 100 persons of working age (15-64).).

 

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

Source: Eurostat, proj_15ndbims [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Demographic trends have a direct impact on educational enrolment.

Since 2005, the overall number of enrolments in VET programmes at upper secondary and post-secondary levels decreased by 35.6%, which represents over half a million learners. The decrease was highest (40% or more than 350 000) in vocational upper secondary programmes.

 

Population aged 16-21 and number of vocational education students

Source: ReferNet Poland calculations based on data from the Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start and Statistics Poland (2018b) [accessed 20.9.2018].

 

However, this phenomenon is also related to the reduced interest in VET among young people. Over the last three decades, the share of students in VET has decreased from 78% to almost 60%. During the last several years the proportion of learners in general upper secondary vs. vocational upper secondary and vocational post-secondary education has remained at approximately 40:60. Since the mid-2010s, a small increase in the share of students in vocational education is observed.

Poland is rather homogeneous country in terms of nationality and language. According to the 2011 National Population and Housing Census ([7]Statistics Poland (2015). Struktura narodowo-etniczna, językowa i wyznaniowa ludności Polski [The national-ethnic, linguistic and religious structure of the Polish population]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland.
https://stat.gov.pl/files/gfx/portalinformacyjny/pl/defaultaktualnosci/5670/22/1/1/struktura_narodowo-etniczna.pdf .
) 97,09% of people declared Polish nationality and 98,2% declared  that they use the Polish language at home. However, due to the increased migration to Poland in recent years, changes in these percentages in the next census may be expected.

The Act on national and ethnic minorities distinguishes 9 official national minorities and 4 national ethnic minorities in the country. The constitution guarantees these groups the freedom to preserve their own language, customs and traditions, and develop their own culture. There are special forms of support provided to learners from national and ethnic minorities:

  • inclusion of the minority language and the regional language into the educational activities required of the student, the course of one’s own history and culture to additional educational activities for the student (at the request of the student’s parent) ([8]Ministry of the Interior and Administration: Polish legislation and solutions regarding the protection of languages of minorities [Ustawodawstwo i rozwiązania polskie w zakresie ochrony języków mniejszości].
    http://mniejszosci.narodowe.mswia.gov.pl/mne/oswiata/informacje-dotyczace-o/8302,Ustawodawstwo-i-rozwiazania-polskie-w-zakresie-ochrony-jezykow-mniejszosci.html [accessed 30.4.2019].
    );
  • learning of a minority language and a regional language can be conducted in schools in various ways; the number of teaching hours depends on the way it is taught;
  • external examination regulations are adjusted for learners of the language of the national minority, ethnic minority and the regional language.

According to SIO data, 809 learners in 29 VET schools (first stage sectoral schools and vocational upper secondary schools) were learning national/ethnic minority or regional languages in line with above-mentioned regulations in the 2018/2019 school year.

As far as foreign learners in Poland are concerned, the following forms of support are available to foreigners subject to compulsory education:

  • education and care in all types of public schools and kindergartens provided up to the age of 18 or age of graduating from school at the secondary and post-secondary level on the same terms applicable to Polish citizens ([9]Ministry of National Education: information on the education of foreigners in the Polish education system [Informacja o kształceniu cudzoziemców w polskim systemie oświaty]. https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja/informacja-o-ksztalceniu-cudzoziemcow-w-... [accessed 30.4.2019].);
  • admission to schools on the basis of diplomas which does not have to be formally recognised;
  • free-of-charge Polish language classes, additional compensatory classes in a given subject, preparatory classes (oddziały przygotowawcze) set up at schools,
  • additional classes of the language and culture of the country of origin, organised at school by the diplomatic/consular mission or a cultural/ educational association;
  • assistance to the learner provided by a person who speaks the language of the country of origin, employed as a teacher's assistant;
  • different ways of facilitating external examinations taken by foreign students.

Also, certain groups of foreign adult learners (e.g. EU nationals, persons with different types of permits granted in Poland, selected scholarship holders, etc.) can benefit from education in public schools for adults, public post-secondary schools, public art schools, public colleges of social work and different forms of lifelong learning in the form of vocational courses, under the same conditions as Polish citizens.

In the 2018/2019 school year, there were approximately 44,000 foreigners in Polish schools and pre-schools ([10]Ministry of National Education: education of children coming from abroad in the Polish education system [Nauka dzieci przybywających z zagranicy w polskim systemie edukacji].
https://www.gov.pl/web/edukacja/nauka-dzieci-przybywajacych-z-zagranicy-w-polskim-systemie-edukacji [accessed 30.4.2019].
).

The enterprise sector in Poland is dominated by microenterprises. In Poland, 96.2% of enterprises are microenterprises ([11]PARP (2018). Małe i średnie przedsiębiorstwa w Polsce 2018 [Small and medium enterprises in Poland]. Warsaw: PARP.
https://www.parp.gov.pl/storage/publications/pdf/male%20i%20srednie%20przedsiebiorstwa%20w%20polsce%20w%202018%20r.pdf .
). They produce 31% of GDP and significantly affect the labor market - they generate 40% of the jobs in the enterprise sector. The number of micro-enterprises has increased in recent years.

Small-sized companies account for 2.8% of the Polish enterprise sector, produce 8% GDP and generate 12% of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

Medium-sized companies account for 0.8% of the Polish enterprise sector, produce 11% GDP and generate 17 % of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

Large-sized enterprises in Poland account only for 0.2% of the enterprise sector produce 24% GDP and generate 31% of the jobs in the enterprise sector.

The main economic sectors in Poland are wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities, industry (except construction) and manufacturing.

Share of economic sectors in gross value added and income in 2017 (%)

Sector

2017

Wholesale and retail trade, transport, accommodation and food service activities

25.7

Industry (except construction)

25.4

Manufacturing

19.3

Public administration, defense, education, human health and social work activities

14.6

Professional, scientific and technical activities; administrative and support service activities

8.5

Construction

7.0

Real estate activities

4.9

Financial and insurance activities

4.4

Information and communication

4.1

Agriculture, forestry and fishing

3.1

Arts, entertainment and recreation; other service activities; activities of household and extra-territorial organisations and bodies

2.2

NB: NACE_R2/TIME.

Source: Eurostat nama_10_a10 [extracted 4.5.2019].

The following sectors have the largest share of Polish exports ([12]SITC nomenclature: sections.):

  • machinery and transport equipment (34.8%);
  • manufactured goods (17.7%); and
  • chemicals and related products (14.5%) ([13]Statistics Poland, Yearbook Trade of Foreign Statistics of Poland 2018; Table 7 and 24.).

The employment structure in Poland has not undergone any significant changes over the last few years. The share of services in total employment increased slightly and in 2017 reached around 58%, which is still far below the EU28 average of around 74%. The employment share in industry is rather stable in Poland at around 30-32% and the share in agriculture decreased from 13.1% in 2010 to 10.2% in 2017.

Employment share by economic sector in Poland (%)

 

2017

Industry

31.7

Females

17.2

Males

43.4

Agriculture

10.2

Females

8.9

Males

11.3

Services

58.1

Females

73.9

Males

45.3

Source: The Local Data Bank of Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 23.12.2018].

Most employed women are in services (73.9%), while the share of employment in services and industry of men is very similar, 45.3% and 43.4% respectively.

The labour market tends to be deregulated in Poland. However, in some cases access to and practice of some occupations/professions are subject to the possession of a specific professional qualification. The EC Regulated professions database ([14]European Commission - Regulated professions database [accessed 4.5.2019]:
https://ec.europa.eu/growth/tools-databases/regprof/
) lists 360 regulated professions in Poland.

The rules of access to professions are determined by the ministers responsible for specific fields.

The regulated occupations in Poland are divided into two groups:

  • sectoral system occupations, which are automatically recognised in all EU member states (e.g. attorney, doctor, pharmacist, nurse, architect); and
  • general system occupations – more numerous – in the case of which additional requirements for a given profession in given country must be met (e.g. teacher, sworn translator, tourist guide, customs agent, etc.).

Total unemployment ([15]Percentage of active population, 25 to 74 years old.) (2018): 3.2% (6.0% in EU28); it decreased by 2.6 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.
ISCED 0-2 = less than primary, primary and lower secondary education.
ISCED 3-4 = upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education.
ISCED 5-8 = tertiary education.
Source: Eurostat, lfsa_urgaed [extracted 16.5.2019].

 

Unemployment is distributed unevenly between those with low- and high-level qualifications. The gap has increased during the crisis as unskilled workers are more vulnerable to unemployment. In 2018, the unemployment rate of people with medium-level qualifications, including most VET graduates (ISCED levels 3 and 4) was lower than in the pre-crisis years. In the past five years, there was an overall decrease of unemployment in all age groups and by all types of education levels.

Employment rate of 20 to 34-year-old recent VET graduates increased from 72.7% in 2014 to 79.1% in 2018 and still remains below the EU-28 level.

 

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 (+6.4 pp) in employment of 20-34 year-old VET graduates in 2014-18 was higher compared to the increase in employment from 75.2% to 80.0% (+4.8pp) of all 20-34 year-old graduates in the same period ([17]Eurostat table edat_lfse_24 [extracted 16.5.2019].).

For more information about the external drivers influencing VET developments in Poland 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 Poland. Cedefop research paper; No 67. https://www.cedefop.europa.eu/files/poland_cedefop_changing_nature_of_vet_-_case_study.pdf

Participation in tertiary education in Poland has significantly increased over the last three decades, which is connected to an increase in the perceived value of education and higher educational aspirations. From 2009 to 2018, the share of the population with tertiary education increased from 21.2% to 30.9% but remains slightly below the EU average (32.2%).

For the last several years, the share of the population with an upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary level of education, for both men and women has been slowly decreasing, from 66.8% in 2009 to 61.5% in 2018, but is still much higher than the EU average (45.7%).

Poland has the third lowest share (far below the EU average) of people with no or low education level attained (7.6% in 2018). This indicator has been gradually decreasing in the last few years (12% in 2009).

 

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

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

Share of learners in VET by level in 2017

lower secondary

upper secondary

post-secondary

Not applicable

51.7%

100%

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

 

Share of initial VET students over all upper-secondary students (ISCED level 3), 2017

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

 

In 2017/2018 school year females constituted 46% of all learners in VET programmes, however the share differs depending on the type of programme - in post-secondary programmes, females are the majority (71,1%), in programmes at the upper secondary level, there are many more males than females, with the lowest share of females in the first stage sectoral programmes (31,5%).

Share of female learners in VET programmes in the 2017/2018 school year (%)

Type of programme

Female learners

Vocational upper secondary programmes

39.6

First stage sectoral programmes

31.5

Post-secondary programmes

71.1

Special job-training programmes

41.6

Total

46.4

Source: Statistics Poland - Education in the 2017/18 school year.

Female learners prefer the following fields of study:

  • in post-secondary programmes: hygiene and work safety, personal services, business and administration, medical study;
  • in first stage sectoral programmes: personal services, business and administration and manufacturing and processing;
  • in vocational upper secondary programmes: personal services, business and administration, social and behavioural science.

The share of early leavers from education and training in 2018 was 4.8%, which is much lower than the EU-28 average of 10.6%. The share is slightly lower than in 2009 (5.3%). Despite high attainment rates, it is still slightly above the national target for 2020 of not more than 4.5%.

 

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].

 

 

Participation in lifelong learning in 2014-18

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

 

Participation in lifelong learning in Poland has remained at a very low level (4.0%) till 2017, while in 2018 reached 5.7%. However, it remains 5.4 percentage points below the EU-28 average.

Education level, age and labour market activity are the factors differentiating the rate of participation in training; persons who are unemployed and have a low level of education often do not participate in educational activities. Age is also a strong determinant of participation in education; people in older age groups not only participate in training less often, but also study less on their own (informal learning).

 

Learners in VET schools by age group

NB: Participants of vocational qualification courses not included.
Includes basic vocational/first stage sectoral programmes, upper secondary vocational programmes, special job-training and post-secondary programmes.
Source: own calculations based on data from the School Information System (SIO).

 

Young learners constitute the majority in VET schools – with only post-secondary schools intended for adult learners. This is connected with the establishment of vocational qualifications courses for adult learners which replaced VET schools for adults at the upper secondary level. Vocational qualifications courses were introduced in 2012 as a quicker way of obtaining vocational qualification. Data on the age of participants of vocational qualifications courses is not available and was not included in the chart.

The education and training system comprises:

  • preschool education (ISCED level 0);
  • eight-year primary education (szkoła podstawowa); a programme divided into two four-year parts (basic and lower secondary level) (ISCED levels 1 and 2)
  • upper secondary education (ISCED level 3);
  • post-secondary non-tertiary education (ISCED level 4);
  • tertiary education including colleges of social work (ISCED levels 5 to 8).

The education system in Poland is currently undergoing structural transformation. In December 2016, the education ministry introduced reforms aimed to prolong the time children spend within one educational programme and to develop a vocational education system that is responsive to the needs of a modern economy. Key elements of the reform included:

  • phasing out lower secondary school (gimnazjum);
  • restructuring six-year primary education (szkoła podstawowa) into an eight-year programme divided into two four-year parts (basic and lower secondary level);
  • extending the general upper secondary programme (liceum ogólnokształcące) to four years instead of three, and the vocational upper secondary programme (technika) to five years instead of four;
  • introducing two-stage sectoral programmes (dwustopniowa szkoła branżowa); the first stage sectoral school has replaced the basic vocational school (zasadnicza szkoła zawodowa) as of 2017/18, while the second stage sectoral schools will begin to operate in 2020/21.

Changes in the school structure are accompanied by the gradual development of new core curricula. The school system will be transitioning until 2022/23. During this period, some previous programmes will be functioning alongside the new ones until they are completely phased out.

Education is compulsory up to 18 years of age, while full-time school education is compulsory up to age 15. Full-time compulsory education lasts 9 years (the last year of pre-school education and 8 years of primary school education). Compulsory education for 15-18 year olds can take place as part-time education, both in and out of school, e.g. in the form of short qualifications courses or vocational training for juvenile workers.

Pre-school education is provided in pre-schools (przedszkole) for two-and-a-half to six-year-old learners.

Primary and lower secondary education is provided in primary schools (szkoła policealna) and lasts typically eight years from age 7 to 15. Work preparation classes for SEN learners are available in the last two years of primary school. A three-year special job-training programme for SEN learners is available for primary school graduates.

Upper secondary education can be provided by different types of schools and take the form of a general upper secondary four-year programme (licea ogólnokształcące), a vocational upper secondary five-year programme (technika) or a three-year first stage sectoral programme (branżowa szkoła pierwszego stopnia), which can be followed by a two-year second stage sectoral programme. Upper secondary education is typically available to primary school graduates (usually 15 year-olds), apart from the second stage sectoral programme, which will be available to graduates of the first stage programmes (18 year-olds).

Post-secondary non-tertiary programmes are provided by post-secondary schools (szkoły policealne) and can be attained in one- to two-and-a-half years. They are available to graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes, as well as in the future – of second stage sectoral programmes (usually 19-20 year-olds).

A special form of education is provided by colleges of social work (kolegium pracowników służb społecznych), offering programmes at the ISCED 5 level. These colleges provide three-year programmes for the occupation of social worker.

Completing any type of VET programme and obtaining a school leaving certificate is not the same as attaining a vocational qualification. Learners in the formal VET system can be awarded two types of documents confirming attained learning outcomes:

  • vocational certificates (certificate of a vocational qualification in an occupation); and
  • vocational diplomas (vocational qualifications diploma).

Learners can obtain a vocational diploma only by obtaining both all the qualifications distinguished in an occupation (vocational certificate/s) and a school leaving certificate. Vocational qualifications can only be attained by passing an external State vocational examination.

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curricula for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes ([18]For vocational upper secondary programmes, it also defines the learning outcomes that must be achieved by a person in the process of attaining the qualification of the matura certificate.).

Adults aged 18 and older can be awarded a vocational certificate after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. By taking extramural exams, adults may also acquire certificates of completion of general education schools.

Formal VET leads to four qualification levels (2 to 5) that are the same as in the European qualifications framework (EQF).

The VET system comprises initial and continuing education. It can be offered as:

  • school-based programmes with obligatory work-based learning (WBL differing in scope and form, also including dual training/alternate training);
  • juvenile employment (apprenticeship scheme – with practical training with employer and theoretical training in school or in out-of-school forms, based on a contract between the learner and the employer)([19]An additional new form – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of vocational upper secondary programmes and first stage sectoral programmes as of September 2019.);
  • out-of-school forms – different types of courses based on the core curricula.

Apprenticeship schemes on secondary and post-secondary level:

  • juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training (przygotowanie zawodowe młodocianych pracowników) dedicated to young people (15-18 years old) with a lower secondary education or 8-year primary education. It is based on a work contract between the learner and employer. In case of theoretical education taking place in school, arrangements between the school and employer regarding scope and organisation of training provided by both parties constitute an annex to the contract. Juvenile worker has a status of an employee and in case of theoretical training taking place in school – also of a student. During the training period, a juvenile worker is entitled to a salary (from 4 to 6 percent of the national average salary, depending on the subsequent year of training), social security benefits and holiday leave. Juvenile workers carry out their apprenticeship usually in SMEs, mainly in the craft sector.

Juvenile employment can take the following forms:

  • training for a profession (nauka zawodu) - apprenticeship with the theoretical education taking place at school (first stage sectoral programme) or in an out-of-school form (e.g. courses) and the practical training organised by the employer. Training for a profession lasts up to 36 months and is finalised with a State vocational examination or Journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy). In the 2017/2018 school year, juvenile workers constituted about half of all the learners in the first stage sectoral schools.
  • training for a specific job (przyuczenie do wykonywania określonej pracy) - a rare form limited to a small group of youth, prepares a learner to perform specific tasks in a profession. It lasts from 3 to 6 months and is finalised with a verifying examination. 

 

  • student apprenticeship (staż uczniowski). New form of apprenticeship which will be available as of September 2019. It will be open to learners in vocational upper secondary programmes and first-stage sectoral programmes, who are not juvenile workers. Student apprenticeship is based on the work contract between the learner and employer, with arrangements between the school and employer in the annex to this contract. Student apprenticeship covers all elements of the teaching programme and chosen elements or elements connected with a given occupation but not included in the programme. Students are entitled to a salary unless the contract says otherwise. 
  • dual training as a form of practical training. Apart from above-mentioned schemes apprenticeship might be arranged by school in cooperation with employers as one of the ways of organisation of practical training. In general, practical training (obligatory for all VET programmes) can be organised in different forms and venues - including also apprenticeship – alternate training/dual training with structured alternation of learning in an education and training setting with learning and working at a workplace. This form of organisation of practical training could be considered an apprenticeship however it is based on the contract between the school and employer not between employer and learner.

Apprenticeships for adult learners are also available. It is a form of support provided by Labour Offices and financed from the Labour Fund dedicated to unemployed and job seekers.

Apprenticeships for adults are carried out on the basis of a contract between a Labour Office, an employer and an institution responsible for conducting exams. Apprenticeships are provided in a form of occupational training and a training aimed at preparation for performing a specific job. In 2017, apprenticeships for adult learners attracted over 140 000 participants.

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

VET has three governance levels: national (ministries), regional (school superintendents, mainly in pedagogical supervision) and county (powiat – managing schools). The education ministry is in charge of VET policies at secondary level, supported by other ministries responsible for particular occupations. The Ministry of Science and Higher Education is responsible for higher VET. Social partners advise policy makers on necessary changes in VET.

The majority of public education institutions in Poland are managed by local government units. Counties (powiaty) are responsible for upper secondary schools, including vocational schools, and schools for children with special needs; the regions (województwa) are responsible for schools of regional and trans-regional significance (e.g. groups of schools or vocational schools important for the regional economy).

Central government units (usually ministries) often manage vocational and fine arts schools. All types of schools can also be established and managed by non-public institutions, such as religious and social associations. Generally, in Poland, the higher the education level, the higher the share of non-public institutions. The chart below presents the structure of vocational schools by type and management institution in 2016.

 

The structure of VET schools by type and managing institution in 2016

Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 24.9.2018].

 

In the 2017/18 school year, there were 6 071 VET schools in Poland. The majority (36%) of them were post-secondary vocational schools, followed by vocational upper secondary schools (31%), 25% constituted the first stage sectoral schools and 8% special job-training schools ([20]Statistics Poland (2018). Concise Statistical Yearbook of Poland 2018. Warsaw: Statistics Poland.).The decision to provide education for a particular occupation listed in the classification of occupations for vocational education is made at local level by the school principal in agreement with local authorities (county level) and after asking the regional labour market councils (advisory bodies) for their opinion concerning compliance with labour market needs. Teaching programmes can be developed individually by schools. The school principal is responsible for incorporating the learning outcomes in the teaching programme and providing the organisational requirements as defined in the core curricula.

The main resources for educational expenditure are:

  • the education part of the State budget’s general subsidy for local government units;
  • central government targeted grants;
  • the local government unit’s own income;
  • foreign funds (mainly EU funds).

The education part of the general subsidy from the State budget is the major source of funding of the education system in Poland. The amount of this part of the general subsidy for local government is defined annually in the Budgetary Act, and then the education ministry prepares an algorithm to distribute the educational funds among the local government units, based on the responsibilities ascribed to the different levels of local government (basically the number of students in each type of school) ([21]Number of adjustment weights are ascribed to different groups of students (e.g. SEN students, ethnic minorities, students in small schools, in rural regions, in sport classes); teacher qualifications are also included in the algorithm.). Since January 2018, the weights for vocational secondary schools have been different for four sets of categories of occupations; the distinction is based on the cost of the vocational part of the education. Additional weights were added for students of post-secondary programmes who obtained a vocational qualifications diploma and for participants of vocational qualification courses who passed the State vocational examination ([22]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 15 December 2017 on the distribution of the school education part of the general subsidy for local government units in 2018. Journal of Laws 2017, item 2395.).

Further modifications of VET financing (increased state subsidies for learners of special demand occupations in VET schools indicated by the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations; increased subsidies for employers involved in training juvenile employees in those occupations) will be introduced as of 2020.

Local governments have the power to decide how to use the subsidy; they can decide not only how to allocate the funds to respective schools, but also to use them for other things than educational expenditures. As the chart below illustrates, municipalities and regions spend more on education than they receive as subsidy, but counties, which are mainly responsible for vocational schools, do not use the entire amount on education expenditures. The visible increase in expenditures in 2017 on all local government levels may be due to the structural reforms of the education system.

 

The ratio between educational expenditures and the State general subsidy for education by type of local government in the period of 2006-2017

The higher the ratio the greater the share of local spending. Value over 100 means that local government spends more than it receives from the central government.
Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 20.9.2018].

 

 

The structure of the educational expenditures of counties in 2017 by school type

Source: ReferNet Poland calculation based on Local Data Bank, Statistics Poland: https://bdl.stat.gov.pl/BDL/start [accessed 24.9.2018].

 

In addition to the subsidy, local government units can apply for targeted grants to implement specific public tasks, which usually require co-funding by the unit.

Non-public schools with a public school status are entitled to public funding equal to public schools.

In 2017, public (local and central government) expenditures for the education system reached PLN 71.9 billion (around EUR 16.8 billion), of which 10.4% was spent on vocational schools. Public spending on education as a share of GDP was 3.6%, which is slightly lower than in previous years ([23]Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland. See also earlier editions.).

In VET there are:

  • general subject teachers;
  • theoretical vocational subject teachers;
  • practical vocational training teachers;
  • teachers/pedagogues providing educational support to learners;
  • teachers/psychologists providing psychological support to learners, teachers and parents;
  • teachers/methodological advisers providing support to teachers;
  • teachers/consultants who develop teaching materials, design and deliver in-service training courses for teachers and education managers, etc.;
  • in-company trainers (nationally referred to as practical vocational training instructors);
  • specialist in-company trainers (various groups of practitioners providing training as their primary or additional activity).

Teachers in public schools and pre-schools comprise 87% of all teachers and are employed on the basis of the Teacher’s Charter ([24]Act of 26 January 1982 - Teacher's Charter. Journal of Laws 1982, No 3, item 19 with further amendments.), which specifies working conditions, duties, rights, professional development requirements, and teachers’ salaries. In non-public schools, teachers are employed only on the basis of labour and civil law regulations.

General subject teachers should have at least a master’s degree.

Theoretical vocational subject teachers are required to have at least a master’s or bachelor’s degree, including pedagogical training.

Practical vocational training teachers are required to:

  • have the same qualifications as required for teachers of vocational theoretical subjects or the title of master in a craft or a pedagogical technical college (currently non-existing) diploma or a matura examination together with a vocational qualifications certificate and two years of work experience;
  • have a pedagogical qualification.

In-company trainers (practical vocational training instructors) can be employers or employees who are not teachers; they are required to have both the defined by the regulation combination of formal qualifications and years of work experience in a given occupation and the adequate pedagogical qualification ([25]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 22 February 2019 on practical vocational training. Journal of Laws 2019, item 391.).

As regulated by the Teachers’ Charter, teachers have the right to participate in all forms of continuing professional development (CPD) and are obliged to follow CPD in line with the school’s needs. CPD is required from teachers on the path to higher advancement levels.

Teacher CPD is funded by local/regional budgets. School heads are responsible for assessing teacher CPD needs and preparing school professional development plans.

There are different public teacher training institutions at the national, regional and local levels, as well as numerous non-public teacher training institutions. The Centre for Education Development teacher training institution operates at the national level and covers both general and VET teacher CPD. In general, the main tasks of these institutions consist of developing teacher CPD programmes and educational materials, indicating CPD priorities, and implementing CPD programmes. Teacher training is also provided by higher education institutions.

Another form of CPD is offered by teachers/methodological advisers, who provide direct subject-oriented and methods assistance; support teachers in their professional development; organise conferences, seminars and workshops; and identify teachers' needs for counselling and vocational training. CPD is also provided at the school level via internal systems of professional development, including e.g. self-development teachers’ councils meetings, lessons, observations, study visits and others. Other forms of CPD include internships in enterprises for VET teachers. From September 2019 all VET teachers are obliged to participate in professional training in companies relating to the occupation they teach. Numerous educational resources (open bases) and CPD opportunities are available through ESF co-funded initiatives.

The Teacher’s Charter specifies four categories of job positions in the profession of teaching:

  • trainee teacher – first stage in a teacher’s career,
  • contractual teacher – awarded after one year and nine months of internship and passing an examination given by an examination commission;
  • appointed teacher – awarded after two years and nine months of internship and after passing an examination given by an examination commission;
  • chartered teacher – awarded after two years and nine months of internship, after having their professional achievement accepted by a qualification commission, and an interview.

These categories have direct impact on a teacher’s basic salary level. Teachers with outstanding performance may also be awarded the title of honorary school education professor.

In 2017/18, 55% of teachers were chartered teachers. In VET schools on upper secondary level, the share of chartered teachers was higher than 60%, however in post-secondary schools, it was only 23% ([26]Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Warsaw: Statistics Poland. See also earlier editions.).

Practical training institutions are involved in improving the competence of in-company trainers by offering a broad range of thematic training. The most common training refers to methodology of vocational education and the use of standards for examination requirements.

System of sector skills councils

The system of sector skills councils, launched in 2016, consists of three components:

  • The programme Council on competences (Rada Programowa ds. Kompetencji – RPK) consists of representatives of ministries, training institutions, social partners, universities, non-governmental agencies, as well as labour market stakeholders. The RPK mainly focuses on building cooperation between the education community and entrepreneurs; it also encourages the development of sector councils and implements recommendations in the areas of science and education.
  • The sector skills councils are the central part of the system. Currently, there are seven active councils in the following sectors: health and social care; construction; finances; tourism; motorisation and electromobility; fashion and innovative textiles; ICT. Their main aims are:
    • to collect information from various labour market stakeholders and recommend systemic solutions and changes in the area of education;
    • to stimulate cooperation between education providers and employers;
    • to provide support in identifying and anticipating competency needs in a given sector.
  • The human capital study aims to increase knowledge about current needs in various sectors and enable the demand for competences and qualifications to be anticipated. The information collected in the study provides, among others, deeper insight about the skills gaps in the economy.

Integrated skills strategy

In 2017, the education ministry initiated the development of a national skills strategy. The strategy covers the whole area of education and training, i.e. general education, vocational education, higher education and adult learning. It takes into account both the demand side (demand for specific competences and qualifications) and supply (availability of qualifications and competences in society). The general part of the strategy was developed ([27]Ministry of National Education (2018). Zintegrowana Strategia Umiejętności – część ogólna [Integrated skills strategy: general part].
https://bip.men.gov.pl/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2018/08/zintegrowana-strategia-umiejetnosci-do-uzgodnien-i-konsultacji.pdf.
) and adopted by the government in January 2019. This will be followed by the development of the more detailed part of the strategy and strategy implementation.

Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring

Since 2005, the Deficit and Surplus Occupation Monitoring survey (MZDiN) has been conducted by county and regional labour offices as well as the labour ministry. In 2015, a new methodology was applied – the survey is based mainly on the IT systems’ data of employment offices (on unemployed persons, reported vacancies, providers offering professional activation services), studies of online job offers, information obtained from employers in a questionnaire study, data from the Statistics Poland and the School Information System. Since 2015, the ‘Occupational barometer’, previously implemented in the Małopolska region, also started to be implemented in the whole country, conducted by the regional labour offices. It is a qualitative short-term (annual) forecast providing information on deficit and surplus occupations ([28]Regional Labour Office in Cracow (2017). Occupational barometer 2018: summary survey report for Poland.
https://wupkrakow.praca.gov.pl/documents/67976/5945701/Occupational%20barometer%202018.%20Summary%20Survey%20Report%20for%20Poland/ab63839e-e605-44eb-a904-92af5974d996?t=1531291708000 [accessed 30.4.2019].
).

New forecast of the demand for employees

The forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations was introduced in 2018 as a new tool to help shape the vocational education and training offer. Starting with 2019, this forecast will be developed annually and published in the form of an announcement by the Ministry of National Education. The forecast will be based on analyses conducted by the Educational Research Institute using various data sources. The forecast will impact VET financing.

See also Cedefop’s skills forecast ([29]http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/skills-forecast)

The VET programmes available at the national level are developed on the basis of three regulations of the education ministry:

  • the classification of occupations for vocational education ([30]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 15 February 2019 on the goals and tasks of education in vocational education occupations and classification of occupations for vocational education. Journal of Laws 2019, item 316.);
  • the core curricula for vocational education ([31]Regulation of the Minister of National Education on the core curricula for training in VET occupations and additional vocational skills in chosen VET occupations – regulation signed on 16 May 2019, awaiting for publication in Journal of Laws.);
  • the core curriculum for general education ([32]Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 14 February 2017 on the core curriculum for pre-school education and the core curriculum for general education in primary schools, including pupils with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, and for general education in stage I sectoral vocational schools, general education in special schools preparing for employment, and general education in post-secondary schools. Journal of Laws 2017, item 356.).

The classification includes the list of occupations for which VET programmes can provide education. Qualifications ([33]The term ‘qualification’ is defined in the School Education Act, as in the European qualifications framework Recommendation 2008.) are distinguished within occupations; each occupation can be made up of either one or two qualifications. Currently, there are 215 vocational education occupations, including so-called ancillary occupations for people with minor intellectual disabilities.

Developing occupations within the classification of occupations

The introduction of new occupations to the classification is regulated by the Education Law. The classification of occupations is determined by the education minister in cooperation with the relevant ministers responsible for a given sector of the economy, who can submit their requests to include particular occupations in the classification. To anticipate labour market needs, representatives of employers and employees are consulted during the development stage of the classification.

Professional associations, organisations of employers, sector skills councils, social partners and other stakeholders’ organisations can submit their proposals to the relevant minister to establish a new occupation; in this way they shape the educational offer of the formal VET system. After the proposal has been approved, the education minister includes the occupation into the classification and appoints a working group to design the core curriculum for vocational education for that occupation.

Designing the core curriculum for vocational education

After the proposal has been approved, the education minister appoints a working group to design the core curriculum for vocational education for that occupation.

The working group contacts the institution which submitted the proposal for the new occupation to determine the learning outcomes, and then undertakes consultations with other experts in the field. At this stage, occupational standards, which are developed by the labour ministry, are considered.

The decision on the occupations offered by a given VET school is made by the school principal in agreement with local authorities (at the county level of government) and after asking the regional labour market councils (advisory bodies) for their opinion concerning compliance with labour market needs. Regional labour market councils shall take into the account the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations.

Modernising VET curricula

In order to improve the labour market relevance of VET education, the education ministry together with the Education Development Centre, has implemented an ESF co-funded project ‘Partnership for VET’ focusing on developing partnerships in vocational education and training in cooperation with employers and other social partners.

In the first phase of the project, a social partner forum was established - 25 sectoral teams of social partners were set up to better adjust VET to labour market needs, and particularly to recommend changes in the vocational core curricula and classification of occupations. In the following years, stakeholders prepared changes in numerous VET curricula and developed new curricula. Numerous teaching plans and programmes, career development paths together with diplomas and qualification supplements in Polish and English were also designed. By February 2018, 1048 employers actively participated in the project.

All VET schools are included in external and internal quality assurance systems. External quality assurance is provided through pedagogical supervision; it is conducted by the Regional Education Authorities (kurator oświaty) overseen by the education ministry. Pedagogical supervision covers four aspects: evaluation, an audit of legal compliance ([34]Legal compliance auditing aims to check whether the activities of schools comply with legislation.), monitoring and support.

The external evaluation of schools is conducted according to certain uniform procedures and requirements set in the legislation concerning:

  • the organisation of educational processes;
  • acquiring by students' skills and knowledge defined in the national core curriculum;
  • active participation of students;
  • shaping social attitudes, and respect for social norms;
  • support to students' development taking into account their individual circumstances;
  • cooperation with parents;
  • cooperation with local community;
  • including of findings from analyses of external exams’ results as well as external and internal evaluations;
  • school management.

It includes various research techniques (e.g. interviews, surveys, observation, document analysis) and takes into account the opinions of different stakeholders.

Reports from the external evaluations performed in schools are publicly available on a dedicated internet website ([35]System Ewaluacji Oświaty. Nadzór Pedagogiczny [Education evaluation system: pedagogical supervision]:
www.npseo.pl
).

The Head of the Regional Education Authority prepares an annual report on the results of the educational supervision conducted and presents it to the Minister for Education.

School principals are obliged by law to design and implement an internal quality assurance system. They should do this in cooperation with their teachers. School principals are relatively free in how they design and implement these systems, but are obliged to include the four aspects of pedagogical supervision mentioned above. Internal evaluation is conducted annually and needs to include issues important for each particular school. Its results are taken into consideration in the external evaluation. In order to help school principals in developing and implementing internal quality assurance procedures, the National Centre for Supporting Vocational and Continuing Education (KOWEZiU) prepared ‘Quality Standards for VET’ (2013), a document covering ten thematic areas ([36]The ten thematic areas of the quality standards are: (1) teaching programmes; (2) school staff; (3) school material resources; (4) organisation of teaching; (5) students with special needs; (6) cooperation with employers: (7) cooperation with domestic and international partners; (8) assessment and validation of learning outcomes; (9) counselling; (10) strategic management of the school.) related to quality assurance in VET, which are in line with the 2009 EQARF/EQAVET recommendation.

In the case of non-statutory qualifications included in the Integrated Qualifications Register (ZRK), quality assurance is provided by external quality assurance entities (Podmioty Zewnętrznego Zapewniania Jakości – PZZJ). The external quality assurance entity for a qualification is assigned by the relevant minister from the list of institutions selected for a given area of qualifications. There are also internal quality assurance mechanisms for institutions awarding qualifications; they are required to perform internal evaluations.

The system of external examinations

The system of external examinations is a key element for ensuring and improving the quality of education and qualifications attained in schools. The central examination board and eight regional examination boards are responsible for organising external examinations. The external examination system is supervised by the education ministry. In the external examination system, all examinees solve the same tasks and assignments to verify whether they have achieved the learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum. Trained examiners registered at the regional examination boards assess examination results. The central examination board analyses aggregate test and examination results and initiates research in the field of assessment. The results of external examinations are taken into consideration in both external and internal quality assurance as part of pedagogical supervision.

Starting in 2019, all students will be obliged to take a State vocational examination or a journeyman's examination as a condition for school graduation; up till now, this has been optional. This change aims to strengthen the role of the exam as a quality assurance mechanism.

School Information System

The collection and dissemination of information on the formal general and vocational education system by the School Information System (SIO) is an important element in ensuring the quality of qualifications. The system is maintained in electronic form and uses internet to provide information collected. Every school and education institution has to submit data regarding students, teachers, facilities, expenses, etc. Schools submit data through a web application. Information is collected regionally and then exported by regional education authorities to the education ministry. Each user group (ministries, Central Statistical Office, local authorities, etc.) has access to its relevant part of the data base, and some of this information is available to the public. The system was set up in 2004 but has functioned in this way since 2012 and has been continuously modernised. In 2017, a new regulation on the SIO was introduced ([37]The Act of 21 April 2017 r. on changes in the Act on the School Information System and some other acts:
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/DocDetails.xsp?id=WDU20170000949
) relating mainly to changes in the scope of the data gathered within the system.

The VET system allows learners to attain qualifications (vocational certificates) through the validation of non-formal education and informal learning ([38]By taking extramural exams adults might also acquire certificate of completion of the general education schools (primary and secondary).). Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([39]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). As of September 2018, the curriculum of the KKZ is based on the new curriculum for VET. Completion of a vocational qualification course entitles students to take the State vocational examination.

After successfully passing the State vocational examination, learners obtain the same vocational certificate as regular VET students. The fee paid by the applicant for the extramural examination is rather low, in 2019 approximately 45 EUR (15 EUR for the written part and 30 EUR for the practical part).

For more information about arrangements for the validation of non-formal and informal learning please visit Cedefop’s European database ([40]European database on validation of non-formal and informal learning:
http://www.cedefop.europa.eu/en/publications-and-resources/data-visualisations/european-database-on-validation-of-non-formal-and-informal-learning
).

In IVET, incentives include:

  • Scholarships for IVET students

In 2018, school scholarships range from PLN 99.20 to PLN 248 (from EUR 23 to EUR 57) per month depending on the decision of local authorities. The period of receiving a scholarship can range from one to ten months per school year. VET students can receive financial support when studying away from their community or when their family income is below the threshold for receiving social assistance benefits combined with social problems that the family is facing. Scholarships for good grades can also be granted to VET learners. Apart from the country level, there are also regional initiatives aiming to promote participation in VET. Some regional scholarships have been financed within EU-funded projects.

  • Salary for juvenile workers

Students who are juvenile workers are entitled to a salary. The amount of their salary cannot be less than 4% (in the 1st year of training) 5% (in the 2nd year of training) and 6% (in the 3rd year of training) of the average monthly salary (ranging from EUR 42 to EUR 68). Employers also pay mandatory social insurance on the basis of the salary paid to the juvenile worker.

Minimum salaries for juvenile workers in 2019

Period

1st year of training

2nd year of training

3rd year of training

1.06.2019. - 31.08.2019

198,04 PLN

247,55 PLN

297,06 PLN

45,93 EUR

57,41 EUR

68,90 EUR

1.03.2019. - 31.05.2019

194,55 PLN

243,19 PLN

291,82 PLN

45,12 EUR

56,40 EUR

67,68 EUR

1.12.2018. - 28.02.2019.

183,21 PLN

229,01 PLN

274,81 PLN

42,49 EUR

53,11 EUR

63,74 EUR

Source: own calculations based on legal acts in Poland.

  • Vocational training and support by the Voluntary Labour Corps

The Voluntary Labour Corps ([41]Voluntary Labour Corps (OHP),
http://www.ohp.pl.
) (Ochotnicze Hufce Pracy − OHP) is an organisation specialised in supporting youth at risk of social exclusion and unemployed under 25 years old, overseen by the labour ministry. The organisation offers young people over 15 years old without lower secondary education, the possibility to attain vocational qualifications and/or to supplement their education. Currently it has over 214 Corps agencies (2019) providing young people with the opportunity to complete their education and acquire professional qualifications before entering adult life. The Voluntary Labour Corps provide training in 64 professions, both in their own workshops or as on-the-job training with an employer. All students with low/no income receive free meals and accommodation during the education period. Students also receive guidance and pedagogical support. Each year, over 800,000 young people receive various forms of help from Corps agencies including individual psychological support, group workshops for active job-seeking, vocational courses, vocational courses offering certified qualifications, language courses, European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL) course, driving course, entrepreneurship course, assistance in finding jobs and organising traineeships, as well as traineeships offered by employers.

In the area of continuing VET (CVET), support is organised mainly through the employment services and financed from the Labour Fund ([42]The Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy) is a State special purpose fund operating under the Act of 20 April 2004 on the promotion of employment and labour market institutions (Journal of Laws 2004, No 99, item 1001 and later amendments).), as well as from the European Social Fund (ESF). This support includes:

  • vocational training;
  • loans for financing of the cost of training;
  • training vouchers;
  • vocational practice vouchers;
  • scholarships for youth from low income families for the period of education;
  • financial support for examination fees and vocational licence fees;
  • statutory training leave for employees.

The Labour Fund plays an important role in delivering state support for VET. It promotes participation by granting resources for vocational training initiatives. The training is mainly offered to unemployed people, but it can also be provided to other job seekers, such as, for example, people with disabilities. The participants of group training have the right to receive a monthly training grant that amounts to 120% of the unemployment benefit. The number of training hours per month should exceed 150. The cost of individual training cannot exceed 300% of the national average monthly salary. In 2017, more than 49 000 unemployed and other eligible individuals participated in various forms of training. The most popular form of training (more than 12 000 participants) was driver’s licence courses. The number of participants has declined mainly due to lower unemployment rate.

 

Participants in various forms of training support offered by the Labour Fund

Source: Warsaw: Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Policy (2018). Bezrobocie w Polsce w 2017 r. Raport tabelaryczny [Unemployment in Poland in 2017]. See also earlier editions.

 

Labour Offices support the organisation of vocational training for employees, but only at the initiative of employers (only when the employer has a special training fund). Up to 50% of the costs of the training can be refunded from the Labour Fund, but not more than the amount of the average monthly salary per participant. In the case of people over 45 years of age, the limit of the refund is 80% of the training costs, but not more than 300% of the average salary.

Labour Offices also fund apprenticeships organised in companies. Apprenticeships are nowadays available to all unemployed. In 2017, over 140 000 people participated in an apprenticeship scheme, including 46 000 youth under 25 years of age (33%). The number of participants in apprenticeship schemes, as well as the share of youth in all forms of training declined significantly between 2015 and 2017.

Training leave is provided to an employee. The leave (from six to 21 days) can be used to prepare for and take an examination or defend a thesis. Training leave can be paid (to cover lost income) to an employee if an employer requires or agrees to the need for the training before it starts.

Employers who provide VET training to students of vocational programmes can receive the following support:

  • refund of trainers’ salaries;
  • refund of the extra salary paid to instructors;
  • refund of the cost of work clothes and necessary protective measures;
  • training allowance for work placement supervisors;
  • refund of the bonus for work placement supervisors;
  • subsidy for the salary and social security contribution for the juvenile worker for the period of vocational training from the Labour Fund. The financial limits on the refund are set each year. As of 2020, the employers training juvenile employees in the professions indicated by the forecast of the demand for employees in vocational education occupations will receive increased subsidies.

Employers believe that the financial support offered is not fully adequate to the resources devoted to such training. The period of vocational practice is seen as being too short, which means that students are not providing added value to the company’s performance ([43]Fila J.; Rybińska; A.; Trzciński R. (2014). Współpraca szkół zawodowych z przedsiębiorcami na przykładzie Działania 9.2 PO KL [Cooperation of vocational schools and entrepreneurs based on the Action 9.2 of the Human Capital Operational Programme]. Warsaw: Instytut Badań Edukacyjnych.).

Since 2014, employers have been able to use the National Training Fund (Krajowy Fundusz Szkoleniowy), part of the Labour Fund (Fundusz Pracy), to finance their employees’ training. It mainly finances courses and post-graduate studies attended by employees at the request of the employer; examinations enabling the attainment of vocational qualifications; medical and psychological examinations required for a job position; and personal accident insurance. In the case of microenterprises, the funding can cover 100% of the costs of continuing education, whereas in other types of enterprises, the employer covers 20% of the training cost. The training cost per employee cannot exceed 300% of the average salary in a given year. In 2017, 18 715 employers received support from the National Training Fund, resulting in training or other forms of assistance for 105,300 employees, which is an increase by around one-third compared to 2015.

A regulation concerning occupational/career guidance and counselling was introduced in September 2018 ([44]Regulation of the education ministry on vocational/career guidance in Polish schools entered into force on 1 September 2018.). Previously, occupational/career guidance/counselling had been implemented only on the basis of the provisions of the regulation on the principles of providing and organising psychological and pedagogical assistance.

According to the new regulation, occupational guidance is to be implemented in a planned and systematic way, in all types of schools, including VET schools. The regulation defines the goals as well as the terms and manner of implementing and organising guidance/counselling, including possible forms and detailed programme content, which vary depending on the school level.

The basic goal of guidance is to support students in the process of making independent and responsible decisions concerning their educational and professional life, based on learning about their own resources, the education system and the labour market.

Vocational guidance is to be conducted at all school levels, including:

  • Pre-schools [ISCED 0] - vocational pre-orientation
  • Primary school classes 1-6 [ISCED 1] - vocational orientation
  • 7th and 8th grades of primary school [ISCED 2] and secondary schools [ISCED 3] - vocational guidance activities.

Schools are required to develop their own programme to implement the intra-school guidance system for each new school year. This programme should include:

  • activities to implement occupational guidance (including the content of the activities, methods and forms of implementation, timeframe of implementation, persons responsible for implementation);
  • entities with which the school cooperates in this field.

Please see also:

Vocational education and training system chart

Tertiary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 5

College

programmes

ISCED 554

Colleges of social work leading to EQF level 5, ISCED 554 (kolegia pracowników służb społecznych)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

554

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

15 or 16

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

21 or 22

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Colleges conduct a day, evening or extramural form of education.

Learning forms:

  • school-based learning;
  • work-based learning – in-company training;
  • self-learning (allocation of hours is not specified).

The form, place and timetable of in-company training is determined by the director of the college in cooperation with the governing body, after consulting the Programme Council and the learners council.

Every college operates under academic and didactic supervision of selected HEIs.

Main providers

Colleges:

  • public colleges operated by regional authorities;
  • non-public colleges – operated by legal persons ([74]Regulation of the Minister of Family, Labour and Social Policy of 15 September 2016 on colleges of social work. Journal of Laws 2016, item 1543.).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

around 24%

Work-based learning type (workshops at schools, in-company training / apprenticeships)
  • general in-practice training in a social welfare centre;
  • general in-practice training in a 24-hour service;
  • specialist and graduate professional in-practice training.
Main target groups

Programmes intended for adults interested in obtaining the qualification of social worker.

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

Matura certificate is required to enroll. A medical certificate stating that the learner is able to practice as a social worker is also needed.

Assessment of learning outcomes

To complete a college programme, learners must pass a final internal exam carried out by the examination board appointed by the head of the college. The diploma confirms that the learner has attained the qualification of social worker.

In selected colleges, operating under given HEIs didactic care, participation in the programme leads also to BA exam and BA degree. However this option is not compulsory.

Diplomas/certificates provided

The learner receives a diploma confirming the completion of a college of social work, certifying the qualification of social worker.

The graduation diploma is issued on the basis of documentation of the course of study conducted by the college.

BA certificate is also offered to programme graduates of selected colleges.

Examples of qualifications

Social worker.

Colleges can also provide specialised training in the field of social welfare, in a field of specialisation in the profession of social worker and social work supervisors.

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

College learners can enter the labour market or continue their studies in EQF 6 bachelor programmes.

In some colleges graduates who are interested in continuing their studies in EQF 6 bachelor programmes are offered recognition of the college curriculum.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

In some colleges it is possible to acquire validation of prior learning gained within programmes provided by HEIs.

General education subjects

N

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<1% ([75]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year]. Four colleges with 234 students.)

Post-secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

Post-secondary

school-based programmes,

WBL ≥44.6%

1-2.5 years

ISCED 453

Post-secondary school-based programmes leading to ISCED 453 (szkoła policealna)
EQF level
5
ISCED-P 2011 level

453

Usual entry grade

13 or 14

Usual completion grade

13+

Usual entry age

19 or 20

Usual completion age

20+

Length of a programme (years)

1 to 2.5

  
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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

There are public schools offering education free of charge but also numerous non-public schools charging fees for education.

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

These programmes are strictly vocational and do not include general education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. They are mostly school-based. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education.

Main providers

Post-secondary schools:

  • public schools operated by local and regional authorities, associations, national companies;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, foundations, companies, HEIs);
  • non-public schools without public school accreditation operated by different providers (companies- natural persons, commercial-law companies).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥ 44.6% for programme in a day form

≥ 48.5% for programme in stationary or extramural form ([69]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania],
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf .
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([70]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([71]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

On-the-job training, a distinctive form of practical training, is mandatory for learners of post-secondary programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

Main target groups

They are available to graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes and (in the future) second stage sectoral programmes.

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

Learners should have a secondary education or secondary sectoral education (graduates of general and vocational upper secondary programmes and second stage sectoral programmes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held.
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma (issued when a learner has obtained all qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Administration technician (technik administracji), cosmetics services technician (technik usług kosmetycznych), optician technician (technik optyk), numerous medical qualifications: e.g. dental hygienist (higienistka stomatologiczna), pharmaceutical technician (technik farmaceutyczny), electrocardiograph technician (technik elektrokardiolog).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Post-secondary programme graduates can enter the labour market. Those who have matura exam are eligible to continue on to tertiary education, however the programme does not provide such direct access.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally.

Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([72]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ).

By taking extramural exams adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

N

These programmes are strictly vocational and do not include general education.

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<26% ([73]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/2018 school year].)

Secondary

Click on a programme type to see more info
Programme Types

EQF 2

Work preparation classes

for SEN learners

Work preparation classes for SEN learners leading to EQF level 2 (oddziały przysposabiające do pracy)
EQF level
2
Usual entry grade

7

Usual completion grade

8

Usual entry age

15 ([47]This is a special programme for students at risk of early school leaving; in current legislation it is for 15-year-olds.)

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

Classes combine general education and work preparation – both adapted to the individual learner’s needs and capabilities.

Main providers

Primary schools

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Not specified by the regulations.

The programme is developed and adjusted to the specific needs of a learner by a lead teacher.

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

Different forms of practical training available:

  • practical training in school;
  • practical training in VET schools (school workshops), continuing education centres ([48]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([49]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • in-company training.
Main target groups

For learners over 15 years old with special education needs (SEN), at risk of early school leaving.

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

For learners over 15 years old at risk of not completing primary school in the usual mode, who:

  • received promotion to grade VII; or
  • did not receive promotion to grade VIII.

Enrolment requires confirmation from a psycho-social support institution on the need for this form of education.

Assessment of learning outcomes

Primary school leaving certificate is issued to those who completed the programme (with a special note with information on completion of work preparation classes).

Diplomas/certificates provided

School leaving certificate

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete work preparation classes for SEN learners can enter the labour market or continue their education at the next EQF level.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

Key competences

Y

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

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

<1% ([50]Work preparation classes are not included in the statistics due to limited number of participants.)

EQF 4

Vocational upper

secondary programmes,

WBL ≥16.4%

5 years

ISCED 354

Vocational upper secondary programme (technikum) leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

16 ([51a]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.
)

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

5

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

The curriculum for upper secondary vocational programmes combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. Vocational schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both practical and theoretical training).

Main providers

Upper secondary vocational schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) and regional authorities;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, companies - commercial law companies, natural persons).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥16.4% ([51]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania],
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([52]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([53]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses – enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

A distinctive form of practical training - on-the-job training - is mandatory for learners of vocational upper secondary programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

An additional new form of WBL – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of this programme as of September 2019.

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

Learners should hold a primary school leaving certificate. Primary school graduates are usually 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held;
  • school leaving examination (matura) – a state, uniform secondary school leaving examination based on the core curriculum for general education and providing access to tertiary education. As of September 2019, the vocational diploma in an occupation taught on technician level will allow learners to skip one additional subject in the matura exam. The matura exam consists of two parts: the oral part (internal and assessed at school) and the written part – external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners included in the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a secondary education;
  • vocational qualifications (vocational certificates) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for occupations consisting of two qualifications (issued when a learner obtained both qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Occupations provided by this programme are two-qualification occupations, for example: electrical technician (technik elektryk), automation technician (technik automatyk), multimedia and photography technician (technik fotografii i multimediów), construction technician (technik budownictwa), accountancy technician (technik rachunkowości), salesman technician (technik handlowiec).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Graduates of these programmes, after passing the secondary school leaving examination (matura), are eligible to continue to tertiary education.

Destination of graduates

According to the Labour Force Survey (LFS), in the 1st quarter of 2017 the employment rate of recent vocational upper secondary programme graduates (one year after completing education) was 55.8%.

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by the regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([54]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enroll in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ).

By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The vocational upper secondary programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

56% ([55]Own calculations based on Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].)

EQF 3

First stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥31.8%

3 years

ISCED 353

First stage sectoral programme leading to EQF level 3, ISCED 353 (branżowa szkoła I stopnia)
EQF level
3
ISCED-P 2011 level

353

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 ([56]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.

 
)

Usual completion age

18

Length of a programme (years)

3

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age; full-time school education is compulsory up to age 15.

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?

N

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

The curriculum for first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 60% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both theoretical and practical training).

Main providers

First stage sectoral schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) authorities and associations;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, companies - commercial law companies, natural persons).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

≥ 33.7% for programme for graduates of phasing out lower secondary school gimnazjum

≥ 31.8% for programme for graduates of 8-year primary school ([57]Own calculations of %WBL based on the assumptions provided in the Teaching Plans [Ramowe plany nauczania].
http://prawo.sejm.gov.pl/isap.nsf/download.xsp/WDU20190000639/O/D20190639.pdf
)

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([58]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.) and vocational training centres ([59]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).);
  • with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training);
  • juvenile employment.

A special type of work-based learning is provided through juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training (przygotowanie zawodowe młodocianych pracowników) for young people (15-18 years old) with a lower secondary education or primary education. In the 2017/2018 school year, juvenile workers constituted about half of all the learners in the first stage sectoral schools. Juvenile employment is based on a contract between the learner and employer. Juvenile employment for the purpose of vocational training most often takes the form of training for a profession (nauka zawodu) – this is an apprenticeship with the theoretical education taking place at a first stage sectoral school (or in out-of-school forms) and the practical training organised by the employer on the basis of a work contract. It lasts a maximum 36 months and is finalised with a State vocational examination. Practical training can also be organised by an employer in the craft trades, on the basis of a work contract. It also lasts a maximum 36 months and is finalised with a journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy).

An additional new form of WBL – the student apprenticeship – will be available for learners of this programme as of September 2019.

Main target groups

This programme is available to primary school graduates.

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

Learners should hold a primary school leaving certificate; primary school graduates are usually 15 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. It gives a learner a basic sectoral education. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes; 
  • State vocational examination – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held; 
  • journeyman’s examination (egzamin czeladniczy) – exam for learners participating in juvenile employment organised by an employer in the craft trades. It has two parts: practical and theoretical. The practical part consists of tasks individually performed by a candidate. The theoretical part is both written and oral. Tasks are based on common examination requirements and the curriculum of the occupation.

As of September 2019, taking the State vocational examination or journeyman’s examination is obligatory for all learners as a condition for school graduation.

Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a basic sectoral education;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for a single-qualification occupation (after passing the State vocational examination and obtaining a school leaving certificate).

Learners participating in juvenile employment organised by an employer in the craft trades obtain a Journeyman’s certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Occupations provided by this programme are single-qualification occupations, for example: electromechanical worker (elektromechanik), locksmith (ślusarz), car tinsmith (blacharz samochodowy), gardener (ogrodnik), tailor (krawiec).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Completion of this programme provides access to further education: at the second year of general upper secondary programmes for adults or in the two-year second stage sectoral programme.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally. Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([60]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enrol in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The first stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

17% ([61]Own calculation based on
Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].
)

EQF 4

Second stage

sectoral programmes,

WBL ≥50%

2 years

ISCED 354

to be introduced in 2020/21

Second stage sectoral programme leading to EQF level 4, ISCED 354 (branżowa szkoła II stopnia)
EQF level
4
ISCED-P 2011 level

354

Usual entry grade

12

Usual completion grade

13

Usual entry age

19 ([62]Usually, the starting age of learners is 18, while the age of graduating first grade is 19.)

Usual completion age

20

Length of a programme (years)

2

  
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?

Y

Is it offered free of charge?

Y

Is it available for adults?

Y

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

This programme will begin operating in the 2020/21 school year. The curriculum of the second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education. The vocational parts consist of theoretical and practical aspects.

General education in this programme is planned to be limited, with the main focus placed on the vocational training to be conducted in the form of vocational qualification courses. Schools have a relatively high level of independence regarding the organisation of practical training. The school director decides on the share of work-based learning, however it cannot be less than 50% of the hours foreseen for vocational education (which combines both theoretical and practical training).

Main providers

This programme will begin operating in the 2020/21 school year.

Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

>=50% ([63]Percentage of the hours foreseen for vocational education.)

Calculations of % WBL for second stage sectoral programme vary depending on the following criteria: a) form of teaching, b) type of profession, c) type of learner i.e. phasing out lower secondary school (gimnazjum) graduate or primary school graduate. Number of hours for vocational education (both theoretical and practical) is provided in the Core curriculum for education in the profession of sectoral education (Podstawa programowa kształcenia w zawodzie szkolnictwa branżowego; 215 professions in 32 industries) and according to the Teaching Programme totals not less than 50% of the total number of hours for a given form of teaching.

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

The practical part of vocational education can be offered in:

  • school workshops;
  • continuing education centres ([64]Continuing education centres (centrum kształcenia ustawicznego - CKU) - public institutions (usually a school complex) in Polish education, usually with a long tradition, whose task is to provide continuous, free-of charge education for adults and enable them to get a profession. They provide advice to teachers and lecturers employed in adult education. The centres can also employ professional advisers specialised in adult education.), vocational training centres ([65]Vocational training centres (centrum kształcenia zawodowego – CKZ) - newly set up public institutions created from the transformation of existing centres for practical training (placówka kształcenia praktycznego ) or vocational training and development centres (ośrodek dokształcania i doskonalenia zawodowego) responsible for supporting vocational education of VET learners in schools providing practical or theoretical training of juvenile workers. They will be also providing vocational training in the form of courses (professional skills, qualifying vocational courses or other courses - enabling to obtain and supplement knowledge, skills and professional qualifications).) and with an employer (can be organised in different ways, partially or fully at an employers’ premises, including also dual training/alternate training).

A distinctive form of practical training is on-the-job training, which will be mandatory for learners of second stage sectoral programmes and lasts from 4 to 12 weeks, depending on the type of occupation.

Main target groups

This second stage sectoral programme aims at further developing the vocational qualifications attained in the first stage sectoral programme. The programme will be available to the graduates of the first stage sectoral programmes who obtained a qualification that constitutes part of an occupation taught in the second stage sectoral school. This programme will be open to adult learners who want to expand their qualifications.

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

Learners should have a first stage sectoral school leaving certificate and a vocational certificate of a qualification constituting part of an occupation taught in the second stage sectoral school.

First stage sectoral programme graduates are usually 18 years old.

Assessment of learning outcomes

The following forms of assessment of learning outcomes are foreseen for learners:

  • school leaving certificate - confirms that a learner completed the programme. It contains a list of subjects covered and the final grades achieved. It gives a learner a secondary sectoral education, however, this is not the same as attaining a vocational qualification. To obtain school leaving certificate no external exam is required. Final grades are based on internal on-going assessments of learners and certificate consist of annual classification grades determined in the highest-level class and annual classification grades achieved in the completed lower classes;
  • State vocational examination (taking exam is obligatory for school graduation as of September 2019) – confirms obtaining vocational qualification. The examination has two parts: written and practical. The candidate has to pass both in order to receive a vocational certificate/diploma. The exam is centrally organised and based on uniform requirements, the same examination tasks, assessed according to the same criteria and organised in the same way regardless of where the examination is held;
  • shool leaving examination (matura) – a state, uniformed secondary school leaving examination based on the core curriculum for general education and providing access to tertiary education. As of September 2019, the vocational diploma in an occupation taught on technician level will allow learners to skip one additional subject in the matura exam. The matura exam consists of two parts: the oral part (internal and assessed at school) and the written part – external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners included in the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).
Diplomas/certificates provided

This programme leads to:

  • a school leaving certificate giving learners a secondary sectoral education;
  • a vocational qualification (vocational certificate) after passing the State vocational examination;
  • a vocational qualifications diploma for occupations consisting of two qualifications (issued when a learner obtained both qualifications distinguished in an occupation and a school leaving certificate).
Examples of qualifications

Chemical technology technician (technik technologii chemicznej), hospitality technician (technik hotelarstwa), telecomunications technician (technik telekomunikacji).

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Second stage sectoral programme graduates will be eligible to continue to tertiary education after passing the secondary school leaving examination (matura).

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

Y

A vocational certificate can be awarded after passing the State vocational examination extramurally.

Persons can take extramural State vocational examinations conducted by regional examination boards if they are over 18 years old, have completed a lower secondary programme or an eight-year primary programme and have at least two years of learning or work in an occupation relating to the targeted qualification ([66]Documents confirming the fulfilment of these requirements are, in particular, school certificates, transcripts, education certificates or employment certificates related to work in a specific occupation, including those obtained abroad.). If they do not have two years of learning or work experience, they can enroll in a vocational qualifications course (KKZ). By taking extramural exams, adults can also acquire a certificate of completion of the general education schools.

General education subjects

Y

The second stage sectoral programme combines general and vocational education.

Key competences

Y

The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

Application of learning outcomes approach

Y

Each qualification includes specific sets of learning outcomes defined in the core curriculum for vocational education. Learning outcomes are grouped in units, which typically contain from several to over a dozen learning outcomes and reflect specific professional tasks. The core curriculum for general education determines the learning outcomes related to the general education component and key competences provided by VET programmes.

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

Not applicable ([67]Second stage sectoral programmes will start operating from 1 September 2020.)

Special job-training

programmes,

(SEN learners)

ISCED 243

Special job-training programme leading to ISCED 243 (szkoła specjalna przysposabiająca do pracy)
EQF level
Not applicable
ISCED-P 2011 level

243

Usual entry grade

9

Usual completion grade

11

Usual entry age

16 ([68a]Usually, the starting age of learners is 15, while the age of graduating first grade is 16.
)

Usual completion age

18

Learners up to the age of 24 can participate in this programme.

Length of a programme (years)

3 (with the possibility of extending to 4 years)

  
Is it part of compulsory education and training?

Y

Education in Poland is compulsory up to 18 years of age, with full-time school education compulsory up to age 15.

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?

N

This is not intended for adults, but learners up to the age of 24 can participate in this programme.

ECVET or other credits

Not applicable

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

It provides educational activities (personal and social functioning classes; communication skills development classes, creativity development classes, physical education and job training classes), revalidation activities, and job training classes.

Main providers

Special job-training schools:

  • public schools (vast majority of schools) operated by local (county) authorities;
  • non-public schools with public school accreditation operated by different providers (associations, foundations).
Share of work-based learning provided by schools and companies

Share of work-based learning is not specified by the regulations. Job training classes constitute over half of the hours foreseen for the educational activities. The programme is developed and adjusted to the specific needs of a learner by a lead teacher.

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

Mainly practical training at school, including school workshops.

Main target groups

This programme is intended for young learners with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities or multiple disabilities.

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

Learners should have a primary school leaving certificate; primary school graduates are usually 15 years old. Additional enrolment requires confirmation from a psycho-social support institution on the need for this form of education (certificate recommending special education or rehabilitation-and-education classes).

Assessment of learning outcomes

Learners do not pass any external exams.

Descriptive assessment is used on a school-leaving certificate.

This programme leads to a job-readiness certificate (based on the teacher’s assessment) to perform specific tasks and not to a vocational qualification.

Diplomas/certificates provided

Learners receive school leaving certificate and a job-readiness certificate.

Examples of qualifications

Not applicable

Progression opportunities for learners after graduation

Those who complete this programme can perform some tasks in certain labour market occupations.

Destination of graduates

Information not available

Awards through validation of prior learning

N

General education subjects

Y

It combines vocational and general education.

Key competences

Y

It provides educational activities such as (personal and social functioning classes, communication skills development classes and physical education).

Application of learning outcomes approach

N

The core curriculum for this programme includes the aims of training, school assignments, forms of classes and detailed teaching content.

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

1% ([68]Own calculations based on data from Statistics Poland (2018). Oświata i wychowanie w roku szkolnym 2017/2018 [Education in the 2017/18 school year].)

VET available to adults (formal and non-formal)

Programme Types
Not available