Since its launch in January 2015, several legislative changes have been made to broaden the personal training account system (compte personnel de formation, CPF): the number of hours accrued by the less-qualified has been increased; new categories of active workers have been included, including civil servants and the self-employed as of January 2018; and new training programmes have become eligible for the system.
In 2016, nearly 500 000 of the filed requests for using hours accrued under the CPF system were approved, 65% from job-seekers and 35% from employed workers. This was a 139% increase compared to 2015. CPF has been successful in reaching the least-qualified job-seekers, 52% of whom had attained EQF level 3 and below, compared to 26% of those employed.
The 10 most frequently-requested training courses attracted 60% of applications from employed workers and one-third from job-seekers. Preparatory courses for exams to acquire language and IT certificates were top of the list among the employed; vocational core skills attested by the CléA key competences certificate were most frequently requested by job-seekers. In 2016, training lasted on average 87 hours for workers and 370 hours for job-seekers.
Funding for the employed came primarily from:
- the approved joint bodies collecting the training levies enterprises need to pay (Organisme paritaire collecteur agréé, OPCA), for 59% of applications received funding ranged from EUR 15 to 100 per hour;
- enterprises (18.2%);
- approved joint bodies financing the individual training leave and collecting enterprises’ mandatory contributions for this purpose (Organisme paritaire agréé au titre du congé individual de formation, OPACIF) (13.3%).
- 52.5% of training was funded by the joint fund for securing professional career paths (Fonds paritaire de sécurisation des parcours professionnels, FPSPP), at a flat rate of EUR 9 per hour;
- 20.5% by the regions;
- 19.5% by the employment service.
The funds dedicated to the CPF reached nearly EUR 1.8 billion in 2016, 1 billion more than in 2015.
CNEFOP raised the question whether the system would be sustainable in the short or medium term, should this consumer dynamic continue. Funding for hours accrued under the CPF system is not expected to be an issue. However, assuming equivalent coverage, funding for training initiatives via matching schemes supplementing the CPF may not be able to satisfy all requests. This risk was anticipated as likely to arise even in 2017.
The national council has recommended reinforcing the steering policy to secure the CPF and its adaptability in the long-term, as it is clearly experiencing a growth crisis.