The legal basis for apprenticeships is the Vocational Training Act of 2019. The law revises the initial Vocational Training Reform Act of 2008.
(Loi du 12 juillet 2019 portant modification 1° du Code du travail ; 2° de la loi modifiée du 31 juillet 2006 portant introduction d’un Code du Travail ; 3° de la loi modifiée du 19 décembre 2008 portant réforme de la formation professionelle)
1. Reform of 2008
A major VET reform was introduced by the Vocational Training Act voted in 2008. It was implemented between 2010/11 and 2013/14. The reform aimed at strengthening the links between VET and the business world, in collaboration with social partners, and easing access to lifelong learning.
The Vocational Training Act introduced competence-based teaching and evaluation methods, replacing teaching by subject with teaching by units and modules that focus on professional situations. Learners were assessed solely on the basis of learning outcomes. This development refers to all VET tracks, including apprenticeship.
2. Amendments of 2016
In 2016, the Department of Vocational Education and Training made some smaller adjustments to its provisions introduced in 2008, among which the re-introduction of annual progression, and an intermediary assessment.
In order to be able to advance to the next training level, the apprentice had to validate a certain amount of credits to pass the assessment.
3. Major revisions of 2019
Over a decade after the initial reform, the legal texts were revised on a larger scale.
It is noteworthy that the provisions concerning the apprenticeship contract and the legal rights and duties of apprentices were included in the Labour Code.
Other revisions concern evaluation and contract extension:
To better inform students and parents about their progress, semi-annual reports are based on competences; yet an additional evaluation by grades was re-introduced.
The duration of the apprenticeship or training is extended automatically by a maximum of one year if learners need additional time to complete or repeat modules. Upon agreement between the employer and the apprentice, a second contract extension for up to one year is legally admitted- (L111-3 (2))
The same legal basis applies to all apprenticeships in the country, regardless of the VET programme they are part of.