Production schools offer training that leads to a vocational qualification for young people who have dropped out of education. These schools achieve excellent results with their innovative ‘learning by doing’ teaching method. The Production schools’ network, which is growing, wishes to strengthen the institutional anchoring of this model.
Production schools provide young people aged 14 to 18 who have dropped out of school an alternative training path to obtaining a national VET qualification. This can be a professional skills certificate (CAP), a vocational baccalaureate (BACpro) or vocational certificates in occupations which are struggling to recruit: carpentry, metallurgy, automotive mechanics, collective catering and digital technology.
An educational model with excellent results
The originality of the Production school teaching method is that it is based on learning through producing products and services, in response to orders from real customers (companies or private individuals). Hands-on work predominates, with two thirds of the training time dedicated to this aspect and a third to theory.
Unlike apprenticeships or upper secondary VET programmes where work-based training is delivered in a company, students remain in schools for in-company training. This allows schools to accept young people who would be unable to attend an apprenticeship training centre because no companies would be willing to sign a contract with them.
This model has proved its effectiveness, with an average success rate in the examinations of 90% in 2016 and a job integration rate after training of nearly 100%.
An expanding network
The training schools have expanded since the early 2000s, with the support of the regional councils. Now they have been formed into a national network, the National Federation of Production Companies (FNEP), which includes over 30 schools training 800 students.
The funding of the schools currently relies on the products sold to the companies, the apprenticeship tax and grants from the regional authorities and patronage foundations of large companies.
The FNEP would like to increase the number of schools to 100 over the next 10 years. It is calling for an increase in available funding in connection with the current reform of the apprenticeship system, and has received the support from the social and solidarity economy, charitable associations, large groups of firms, industrial sectors and regions.
At European level, the International Production School Organisation (IPSO) has, since 2012, brought together the national associations of the production schools of Denmark, Germany, France, Austria, Finland and Sweden.