In place since mid-May 2017, the new government intends to proceed with large-scale reform of the vocational training system. In line with the commitments made by the new President, the aim is to bring training into the future, to develop a knowledge society that is in step with citizens’ expectations, and address the challenges inherent in digital and ecological transitions.
The planned changes focus on redesigning the system of access to training; reconsidering the role of players involved in steering and managing funds; developing work-based training schemes; and better regulating the training system.
As part of a total national investment plan estimated at EUR 50 billion, in the next five years EUR 15 billion will be devoted to vocational training initiatives aimed at job seekers and the low qualified, investing in skills and jobs of the future. The professional sectors and the regions (decentralised authorities) will be involved.
The role of the employer-employee structures, OPCA (organismes paritaires collecteurs agréés, approved joint collection bodies) in collecting funds and financing training could be subject to change, possibly replaced by other State-dependent bodies.
A new ‘dis-intermediated’ system
The personal training account (CPF, compte personnel de formation) scheme, an individual right to training available since 2015 to job seekers and the employed, is the cornerstone of the planned change. Instead of the current system, in which the CPF is stated in number of hours, it would consist of points, which could be converted into euros. The new scheme would be funded by the whole enterprise contributions to training. It could be merged with other benefits such as the individual training leave (congé individuel de formation,CIF), which would be phased out. The aim is to allow individuals to have direct access to the training market, be able to make full use of their training rights, and so improve their employability and career prospects.
Toward quality labelling in the training offer
It has recently been mandatory for public funding providers to verify the compliance of training operators with quality reference frameworks. New planned measures foresee the development and implementation of a quality certification system applicable to all training bodies.
Developing dual VET
The restructuring of the existing training and apprenticeship system, under the leadership of the Ministry of Labour, is part of broader reform of the ‘French social model’ which is expected to apply to labour law and unemployment insurance schemes.
Several measures are foreseen, such as converging the two current training schemes (the apprenticeship contract and the professionalisation contract) into one single contract and creating multi-level degree programmes, involving secondary VET schools and apprentice training centres.
The aim is to increase considerably the number of training places offered by companies to young people under 25 and improve information on the employment outcomes of vocational qualifications. Some of the measures announced are to be implemented from September 2017, with more structural changes expected in 2018.