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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Support measures for learners in adult education and training

Belgium - French Community

12.Educational support and guidance

12.7Support measures for learners in adult education and training

Last update: 27 November 2023

Definition of the target group(s)

At risk groups

In recent years, a range of measures has been taken to finance job creation and initiatives to foster training and occupational integration of ‘at-risk’ groups (the long-term unemployed, low-skilled unemployed, disabled people, minimum income recipients, etc. ).

Alongside the institutional training providers, the third sector (non-profit organisations and a number of public welfare centres or CPASs) has developed socio-occupational integration schemes: the provision of training is intended for groups in difficulty, not subject to compulsory schooling, who need a period of resocialisation, remotivation, literacy training, pre-qualification or refresher education, before they can effectively undertake training that will qualify them to actively seek employment.

In the Walloon Region, the beneficiaries of such services must be registered as job-seekers with the Walloon Public Service for Employment and Training or Forem. The socio-occupational integration agencies (OISPs) are accessible to those who have not obtained the upper secondary education certificate (CESS), or an equivalent or higher qualification, while the on-the-job training enterprises (EFTs) are accessible to those who hold neither the lower secondary education certificate (CESI), nor the second-stage secondary education certificate (CES2D), nor an equivalent or higher qualification. Moreover, the EFTs can take on anyone entitled to social integration support who meets the same conditions in terms of qualifications as the job-seekers. The Walloon integrated socio-occupational integration scheme also applies to :

  • job-seekers who have been unemployed for at least 24 months (the long-term unemployed) ;
  • job-seekers who have re-entered the job market after at least three years out of work (returners) ;
  • prisoners and those who have been committed, who are due for release within two years ;
  • foreigners who have not been ordered to leave the country and who meet the qualification conditions.

Under certain conditions, OISPs and EFTs may be authorised to take on unemployed job-seekers and claimants of work incapacity benefits.

In the Brussels-Capital Region, the socio-occupational integration scheme is intended for job-seekers over the age of 18 who have not obtained the upper secondary education certificate (CESS) or an equivalent qualification.

Literacy courses

Literacy courses are intended for those who do not hold a primary education certificate (CEB) or any equivalent diploma obtained at the end of a cycle of primary schooling, or who lack skills equivalent to that level.

Public and private operators provide literacy courses, making it possible to adapt the provision as closely as possible to the needs of the target groups, which are characterised by their diversity: they include those who failed to complete their basic schooling successfully, those who never received schooling, and those who lack a command of spoken and written French. The last of these groups have often been schooled abroad, and face the need to learn French as a foreign language (FLE).

Positive discrimination in social advancement education

Social advancement schools or sites organised or grant-aided by the French Community are assessed on the basis of social, economic, cultural and educational criteria, so as to allocate additional resources to some of them in order to support the educational actions they have implemented to ensure all learners equal opportunities of vocational and social integration.

Certain schools or sites which take in a given proportion or number of learners belonging to certain categories (unemployed people on full benefits and job-seekers who are exempt from enrolment fees; learners on the minimum income or ‘minimex’) benefit from positive discrimination measures.

The list of recipients is reviewed annually.

Disabled people

The Walloon Agency for the Integration of Disabled People (AWIPH) for the Walloon Region, and the Brussels Service ‘Disabled Person Autonomy Sought’ (PHARE), for the Brussels-Capital Region offer a series of services to disabled adults wishing to receive training or find a job. Generally speaking, applicants must satisfy certain conditions relating to official recognition of their disability and submit a dossier.

Specific support measures

At risk groups

In the Walloon Region, the Work-Based Training Enterprises (EFT) are training centres that function both as places for the acquisition of the skills required for a given profession and as production centres. They provide training courses based on fulfilling work experience, either in the (EFT) itself or within a business. In this way, while their priority objective remains training, the act of producing is an integral part of the educational process. During this introduction to the real working environment, trainees are obviously accompanied in their apprenticeship by people in the trade.

The objectives are both economic and educational. The main objective of EFTs is to equip trainees with the minimum skills needed to find a job or follow another training course leading to a qualification. At a time when fewer and fewer vacancies are available for poorly qualified young people, the goal of educational teams is sometimes to enable young people to attain unemployed status. EFTs also endeavour to develop well-balanced citizens and to provide psychological and social counselling if the need arises. General and vocational training extends over a maximum of 18 months.

In the Brussels-Capital Region, Bruxelles Formation has formed a series of partnership agreements with socio-occupational integration agencies (OISPs) authorised within the framework of the decree of 27 April 1995. These OISPs are :

  • training operators that undertake activities in the area of literacy, basic training, and preliminary training targeting a vocational sector and training leading to qualification ;
  • on-the-job training workshops (AFT) which undertake on-the-job training activities  within the organisation in question and leading to the output (commercialised or non-commercialised) of goods or services ;
  • local missions that, in addition to their local coordination roles, arrange vocational training programmes and ensure consultation between different parties involved in training and employment services for vulnerable job-seekers.

Literacy courses

Literacy courses aim to assist learners in acquiring prerequisites and in updating skills related to reading, writing, and arithmetic, with a view to attending vocational training that leads to a qualification, or basic education courses. Some providers of literacy courses also teach French as a foreign language to adults.

Positive discrimination in social advancement education

Additional resources allocated to social advancement institutions or sites under positive discrimination schemes are intended to enable them to carry out educational activities aimed at ensuring all learners equal opportunities for vocational and social integration; such activities must relate to at least one of the following themes :

  • the introduction of actions aimed at improving knowledge and/or command of the French language or involving the organisation of adaptation or remediation training units ;
  • educational projects involving learners and members of the teaching staff with a view to concrete work in technical and vocational fields at secondary level ;
  • projects involving learners and members of the teaching staff at secondary level, with an emphasis on multimedia information and communication technologies.

The additional resources allocated are mainly personnel resources: teachers, especially in order to reduce the size of groups of learners; educational assistants; social workers; people responsible for assisting the educational auxiliary or teaching staff. Special in-career training courses are organised for teachers. Moreover, under certain conditions, additional personnel may be assigned minor rehabilitation work (painting work, for example).

Financial resources are also granted to make it possible to acquire educational or computer equipment that is essential for the implementation of positive discrimination projects.

Disabled people

AWIPH and PHARE are the official agencies in this area. Private bodies and associations may also offer certain forms of support.

AWIPH and PHARE offer support measures adapted to different situations: advice on the analysis of the specific situation of applicants for support, career guidance, support with social advancement education, exploratory internships in a working setting and vocational adaptation contracts, technical support, approaches to looking for a job in an ordinary or an adapted setting, communication aids, etc. Should the person in question lack sufficient skills to apply for a job directly, AWIPH and PHARE may contribute to additional training: for example via a vocational adaptation contract (individualised training in a company with training allowances), or via an in-centre training contract (preparation for around thirty jobs or professional sectors, with training allowances).

AWIPH and PHARE may also offer employers integration bonuses or support with the adaptation of workstations. As self-employed workers, disabled people may also benefit from certain bonuses.

Disabled people benefit from free transport and access to reserved parking spaces.