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Professionalisation contract

Contrat de professionnalisation

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Reference Year 2019

Target group

Q6. Does the legal basis define the minimum and maximum age limits for enrolment of the target group of this scheme?

Minimum and maximum age limits defined
Minimum age limits defined only

The scheme is addressed to the following target groups:

  • Young people aged 16-25 years old who want to complete their initial training
  • Unemployed people of 26 years old or more who are registered on Pole Emploi’s job seekers list
  • The beneficiaries of specific State aids for most at risk of social exclusion: people active solidarity income, specific solidarity allowance, allocation spécifique pour les adultes handicapés (e.g. revenu de solidarité active (RSA), allocation de solidarité spécifique (ASS) or specific allocation for disabled adults (AAH)).

People older than 29 have only access to the contract of professionnalisation (with a few exceptions).

Article L6325-1 of the French Labour Code

Q7. What is the average age of learners in practice?

Between 15 and 18
Between 18 and 24
Above 24

Young people under the age of 26 in 2018 continue to be the main beneficiaries of the scheme (74% of new hires).

Source : Dares Résultats 2020-016 - Le contrat de professionnalisation en 2018, mai 2020 :

Overview of the scheme

Q8. Is the scheme included in the ISCED 2011 mapping?


The scheme is not explicitly referred to in the ISCED 2011 mapping butindirect reference can be found in the corresponding VET qualifications (e.g. VET secondary education pathways leading to CAP, BEP, BP, etc.).

Q9. Is there any organization at the national level with roles in co-ordinating the scheme?


France compétences is responsible for regulating apprenticeships, including the contract of professionalisation. It ensures the financing of vocational training and apprenticeship by distributing the mutualised funds to the various players. It contributes to the monitoring and evaluation of the quality of training activities and regulates the costs and levels of funding for training. It draws up and updates the national Repository of professional qualifications (RNCP). Its strategic orientations are determined by a quadripartite governance made up of the State, the regions, representative trade unions and employers' organisations at national and cross-industry level, and experts.

Q10. When was the scheme introduced?

Long history (before 2000)
Recently introduced (between 2000-2012)
New pathway (after 2012)

The ‘contrat de professionnalisation’ has existed in France since 2004. Prior to that, there was a rather similar scheme called the ‘contrat de qualification’. The following circular (DGEFP no 2007/21 du 23 juillet 2007) sets comprehensive information about the regulation applying to the ‘contrat de professionalisation’.

Q11. How did the apprenticeship scheme originate?

Traditional craftsmanship (master-apprentice relation) to prepare apprentices for the occupation
School-based VET track by including more work-based learning to supply skilled workforce to match labour market needs

Since 2005, the French Government has sought to position apprenticeship (the professionalisation contract notably) as a remedy for mass youth unemployment and for the phenomenon of young people dropping out of school without qualifications.

Q12. What are the sources of financing of the direct costs for the in-company training part of the apprenticeship scheme?

Single employers hosting apprentices
Sectoral funds

France compétences provides the skill operator * with a share of the single contribution to vocational training and work-linked training to finance apprenticeship (including Professionalisation contract) paid by skill operators. It allocates to skill operators additional funds to finance apprenticeship.

 The role of France compétences is to ensure convergence of rules and levels of support; to carry out a cost observation; to draw up recommendations useful for the development of apprenticeship.

Art. L6332-1-3 of the Labour Code

* Eleven skills operators (OCPO), are responsible for supporting vocational training. These skills operators are responsible for financing apprenticeships, helping branches to develop professional qualifications and assisting SMEs to define their training needs. They are approved by the State. Approval is subject to the existence of an agreement concluded between the employees' trade unions and the representative professional organisations.

Q13. Are there any financial incentives for companies that offer apprenticeship places?

Yes, subsidies
Yes, tax deductions
Yes, other incentives
No financial incentives

Employers hiring beneficiaries (26 years old or above) included in the State allocation for job re-insertion list (allocation d’aide au retour à l’emploi (ARE)) can obtain (under certain conditions specified in the legal framework) a financial incentive in the form of an ‘aide forfaitaire’. This is allocated every three months (EUR 200/month) over the whole duration of the contrat de professionalisation. Its total amount cannot exceed EUR 2000 for a single contract.

Q14. How many learners are enrolled in this scheme?

In 2018, 235,400 people were hired under professionalization contracts, an increase of 13% compared to 2017. This is the largest increase in the last seven years. Young people under the age of 26 continue to be the main beneficiaries of the scheme (74% of new hires). The majority of professionalisation contracts are fixed-term contracts (92%). The average duration of professional training remains stable (13.7 months), as does the average duration of training (around 600 hours).

Seven out of ten people hired under a professionalisation contract are preparing a diploma or professional qualification recognised by the State and registered in the National repository of Professional Certifications (RNCP).

Dares Résultats 2020-016 - Le contrat de professionnalisation en 2018, May 2020:

Q16. Which is the type of qualification obtained through the apprenticeship scheme?

Formal VET qualification (which does not indicate the pathway)
Formal VET qualification (which indicates the pathway)
Formal apprenticeship qualification (journeyman, etc.)

The purpose of the professionalisation contract is to enable the beneficiary to acquire a professional qualification:

- either registered in the National Register of Professional Certifications (RNCP)

- or recognised by national sector collective agreements (outside the RNCP)

- or giving entitlement to a certificate of professional qualification (CQP): a certification created and issued by a professional branch which attests to the possession of skills related to a trade.

Art. L6325-1 of the Labour Code

Q17. Is the qualification included in the National Qualification Framework (NQF)?

There is no NQF

The ‘professionalisation contract ' leads to qualifications formally recognised by France competences (in the Répertoire national des certifications professionnelles (RNCP) or recognised in the classifications of a national branch collective agreement; or giving entitlement to a certificate of professional qualification (CQP) who may be associated to a level of qualification.

Q19. Does the scheme provide direct access to higher education?


All levels of qualification can be prepared with a professionalisation contract.

Several professionalisation contracts can be carried out in order to have access to higher qualification. Article L6325-1 of the Labour Code



Q21. If the scheme is implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, what is its duration?


Q22. If the scheme is not implemented via specific apprenticeship programme, how is duration of apprenticeships defined in the regulation?

It Is defined as minimum and maximum share of a VET programme
Is defined as minimum share of a VET programme
Is defined as maximum share of a VET programme
Is not defined by regulation

It is always the certificate awarding body that decides the minimum duration. France Competence oversees these certifications. The labour code imposes to define a minimum duration, based on the collective labour agreements.

Q23. Is there a distinction between the training time and working time for the period spent at workplace, as per regulation?

Yes, the legal framework makes this distinction
No, the legal framework makes no distinction

In the workplace, the employer undertakes to provide the employee on a professionalisation contract with training related to the professional qualification sought. However, this time is not quantified.

Source : DGEFP Circular no. 2012-15 of 19 July 2012

on the implementation of the professionalisation contract

Alternation of work-based (in-company) training and school-based training

Q24. Is it compulsory to alternate training between two learning venues (school and company)?


With a professionalisation contract, training actions are implemented by a training center or, when it has a training department, by the company itself.

Source : Article L6325-13 of the Labour Code

Q25. Is the in-company training defined as minimum share of the apprenticeship scheme duration?

Yes, equivalent or more than 50% of scheme duration
Yes, between 20% and 50% of the scheme duration
Yes, less than 20% of the scheme duration
No, no minimum share is compulsory

In-company training covers 85 to 75% of the duration of the professionalisation contract.

The duration of time spent at the training center represents 15 to 25% of the duration of the professionalisation contract, without being less than 150 hours. This share may cover evaluation, accompanying and training measures operated by a training center. Depending on the audience or purpose of the professionalisation contract, this percentage may be increased to more than 25%.

Article L6325-13 of the Labour Code

Q26. What is the form of alternation of training between workplace (company) and school?

Every week includes both venues
One or more weeks (less than 1 month) spent at school followed by one or more weeks at workplace
One or more months (less than 1 year) spent at school followed by one or more months at workplace
A longer period (1-2 years) spent at school followed by a longer period spent training at workplace
Various – depends on agreements between the school and the company
Not specified

The form and period of alternation of training between workplace (company) and the training centre vary depending on the form of the contract. For instance, in case of a permanent contract, this term takes place at the very beginning of the contract (no further details were identified). In case of a fixed-term contract, this usually takes place over the whole duration of the contract. It also depends on the personalised training plan developed for each beneficiary based on earlier evaluation and is in line with the qualification the contract aims at.

Formal relationship with the employer

Q27. Is any contractual arrangement between the learner and company, required as per regulation?


The contrat de professionnalisation is according to the legal framework a specific type of labour contract. Signed between the learner and the employer, this builds on an alternation of practical training delivered by the employer and theoretical training supplied either by a training center or directly by the employer, if this has the capacity to effectively offer this service.

The training center is referenced to in the professionalisation contract. However, it does not sign the employment contract.

Q28. What is the nature of the contractual arrangement?

Apprenticeships are a specific type of contract
Apprenticeships are an ordinary employment contract
A formal agreement

The professionalisation contract is a specific type of employment contract.

Source : article L6325-5 of the Labour Code

Q29. Where is the contract or the formal agreement registered?

At the school
At the Ministry of employment
At the chambers
At the Ministry of education

The employer has to register the contract at the skills operators at the latest within 5 days after the start of the contract. The skills operator verifies the conformity of the contract and sends it to the regional directions(offices of the ministry of employment) for the economy, employment, labour and solidarity (directions régionales de l'économie, de l'emploi, du travail et des solidarités (DREETS)).

Q30. What is the status of the learner?

Apprentice is a specific status

The beneficiary of a contrat de professionalisation is an employee. Hence, he or she has to comply with the same internal rules to the company as any other employee (unless any of those is incompatible with given training requirements proper to the contract holder).


Q31. Do apprentices receive a wage or allowance?

Yes, all apprentices receive a wage (taxable income)
Yes, all apprentices receive an allowance (not a form of taxable income)
Apprentices receive a reimbursement of expenses
No form of compensation is foreseen by law

Q32. How is the apprentice wage (taxable income) set?

By law (applying for all)
By cross-sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
By sectoral collective agreements at national or local level
By firm-level collective agreements or individual agreements between apprentice and company

The wage is set by law (Code Article L6325-8 Of the Labour) The salary is paid by the employer based on a pre-determined percentage of the minimum salary (salaire minimum conventionnel de l’emploi occupé (SMIC)) taking into account the age and the level of education or training of the beneficiary as follows:

  • Beneficiaries under the age of 21: a) without a Bac Pro (equivalent): >55% of SMIC; b) with a Bac Pro (equivalent): >65% of SMIC
  • Beneficiaries aged 21-25 years old: a) without a Bac Pro (equivalent): >70% of SMIC; b) with a Bac Pro (equivalent): >80% of SMIC
  • Beneficiaries of 26 years or more: a) without a Bac Pro (equivalent): >100% of SMIC; b) with a Bac Pro (equivalent): >100% of SMIC

(Article D6325-14 Of the Labour Code)

Q33. Who covers the cost of the wage or allowance of the apprentice?


The salary is paid by the employer.

Source : article L6325-5 of the Labour Code

Q34. Does the wage or allowance of the apprentice cover both the time spent at school and in the company?

No, it covers only the time spent in the company

Training time, also spent at school, is included in working time.

Source :

Responsibility of employers

Q35. Is the company hosting apprentices required by regulation to follow a training plan at the workplace?

Yes, the training plan is agreed at the level of school and company
Yes, the training plan is based on the national/sectoral requirements for the in-company training
No, is not required formally

The legislation sets that the training plan is agreed at the level of the school and the company. The company needs to agree with the training provider the training objectives in the short, medium and long term in advance.

The object of the contract Is a qualification-certification set at national level. Hence, the individual training plans have to reflect the content of the relevant qualification-certification.

Q36. What are the requirements on companies to provide placements, as per regulation?

Have to provide a suitable learning environment
Have to provide a mentor / tutor / trainer

The employer pledges to provide the beneficiary of the contract with training to enable him/her to acquire a professional qualification and to provide him/her with a job related to this objective during the contract.

Under this scheme, employers have the obligation to designate a tutor among qualified employees. The latter must be a volunteer and possess at least 2 years of relevant experience in the field targeted. The employer can also directly ensure the tutoring.

Source : article L6325-13 of the Labour Code

Q37. Are there any sanctions on companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace?


Work inspectors, responsible for the application of the provisions governing the professionalisation contract, ensure that the contract is properly carried out. There is a sanction for companies that do not provide training to apprentices at the workplace. As a consequence, it is possible that a professionalisation contract may be requalified as an ordinary employment contract. (

Q38. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives, sectoral councils (if existent), in shaping apprenticeship content, as per regulation?

Role in designing qualification
Role in designing curricula
No role

To include a new certification or to revise an existing regulation in the RNCP, an advise of the representatives of the labour market (employers, unions and professional branches) is needed.

France compétences, whose managing board includes representatives of the social partners, regulates the national register of qualifications RNCP, ensuring that they meet the needs of the economy and is responsible for registering them (Article L6113-5 of the French Labour Code). The social partners are present in the National Joint Employment Commissions, which are also heard in relation to the registration of the processional certifications.

Q39. What is the role of chambers, employers’ and employees’ representatives in implementing the apprenticeship scheme, as per regulation?

Role in final assessment of apprentices
Role in accreditation of companies
Role in monitoring of the in-company training
No role

The professional branches are responsible for setting the level of support for each certification and the training needs for the sectors they represent. 

France Compétences monitors and assesses the apprenticeship system.