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France  [1]  Context of national VET/HRD policies

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The main body of research related to VET in France is conducted by Céreq (‘Centre d’études et de recherche sur les qualifications’) and its regional centres. As a public centre of expertise at the service of the key players in training and employment, Céreq conducts assessments of the application of reforms and action research. 

The 05/04/2004 law on lifelong learning pioneered the individual right to training (DIF). It required a reorganisation in the methodology of observation of personal and collective training practices in research projects. The concepts of and usual frontiers between ‘formal’, ‘informal’ and ‘non-formal’ training are re-examined. Some evaluations focus on the practices of the professional branches (publication of the PSB, ‘statistical portraits of sectors’ by Céreq), of employers and of employees. Numerous studies focus on the management of human resources in the workplace, the offer of continuous training and the development of competences. 

The 08/13/2004 decentralization law (concerning local authorities which enlarged the responsibilities and competences of regions in the matter of training) diversified the regional projects of R&D issued by universities and regional centres associated to Céreq. The studies focus on the training offer, the plans for guidance and the certification offer. Moreover, the regional database of the ‘statistical group for evaluation’ was developed and updated.

2005 was marked by three measures: the 01/18/2005 law of programming for social cohesion, which reformed apprenticeship, reinforcing the procedures of VAE (Validation of non-formal learning); the 06/30/2005 edict which reduced the obligations of training providers; the emergency plan for employment, by the prime minister, which consisted of particular measures regarding the employment of youngsters and of older workers (announced on 12/12/2005).

These measures which respond to concerns raised in the social debate in the last few years are also present in the sphere of research projects. Two kinds of projects are related with these measures: projects which specifically analyse the application of the laws, and more transversal projects. Large quantitative and qualitative studies, covering 5, 7 and soon 10 years in retrospect, tackle these themes in a transversal way: from the entry into working life to the first parts of a career, from initial to continuous training, from the individuals’ behaviour to the firms’ workforce policies. Some projects specifically focus on the entry into working life (social integration of youngsters, differentiation by gender and ethnic background), on the articulation between initial training and workplace, on professional mobility and on personal career paths.

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Source: Cedefop - National Research Report France (details see Bibliography)
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO