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Adult education and training funding


3.Funding in education

3.3Adult education and training funding

Last update: 27 November 2023

Main funding principles

Continuing vocational training is mainly financed by the State, the regions and companies. The State finances in particular the training of the most disadvantaged groups (disabled people, prisoners, foreigners, illiterate people), as well as information actions in the field of training. The regions are mainly responsible for financing training for jobseekers. Finally, companies finance the training of employed persons; they have a legal obligation to finance continuing training. In reality, the distribution of funding for continuing vocational training does not strictly correspond to that of the categories of public concerned. A single scheme may involve several funders.

Companies finance the training of employed persons. Any company that employs people is concerned by the contribution to vocational training, the amount of which depends on the number of employees in the company and the total payroll. The effort to finance vocational training lies in a single contribution, collected by a single body, the skills operator (OPCO). The tax rates are as follows

- Companies with fewer than 11 employees: 0.55% of the wage bill;

- Companies with 11 or more employees: 1% of the wage bill.

There is also the conventional contribution, which is an additional contribution paid to an OPCO over and above the legal minimum of 1%, which supplements the legal contribution and applies to companies belonging to a branch or professional sector that has concluded a training agreement. Finally, companies are free to determine their training effort, by participating beyond the statutory liability.

The European Social Fund is involved in financing programmes to promote employment and inclusion. For the 2014-2020 programme, the overall ESF envelope in France amounts to €5.924 billion. This envelope is managed 65% by the State and 35% by the regions. The programme is based on 3 axes

- helping jobseekers and inactive people into employment, supporting professional mobility and developing entrepreneurship (€453 million);

- anticipating economic change and securing career paths (€707m);

- combating poverty and promoting inclusion (€1.6bn).

In 2019, continuing vocational training accounted for 12% of Domestic Education Expenditure, or €19.2bn.

Fees Paid by Learners

There is a wide range of funding available for adult training, depending on the applicant's situation (employee, jobseeker, age, etc.).

Training for jobseekers

The registration fees paid by jobseekers differ according to their age.

For young people, a scheme is available which allows them to train free of charge. Under the condition of age (16-25 years), financial independence from parents, resources and activity (not being in employment or training), individuals can formulate a contract under the Youth Guarantee with their local mission. Under this contract, training can be paid for and an allowance can be given to the learner.

 For individuals over 25, the educational costs and mobility costs (transport, accommodation, etc.) of the training can be fully or partially covered by Pôle emploi if it agrees to the training with the learner. If the training is partially financed by the Pôle Emploi, the learner can mobilise his or her personal training account (CPF) if he or she has one and wishes to do so (see section on assistance). This personal account lists the training rights acquired by the employee throughout his or her working life (in euros) and the training courses for which he or she can use it. The individual can consult the balance of the account at any time on the My Training Account website.

Training for employees

If the individual is in employment, several mechanisms can finance his or her training.

The company, which wishes to ensure that its employees adapt to their jobs and maintain their ability to hold their jobs (particularly in the light of technological developments), can finance the training of its employees within the framework of a skills development plan. This plan distinguishes between two types of training actions:

- Compulsory training actions, in application of collective agreements or conventions

- Other training actions, known as non-compulsory

This plan may also detail other types of action, such as skills assessment, validation of acquired experience (VAE, see 8.5) or plans to combat illiteracy.

The professional sector in which the individual wishing to train works can also finance training actions through the 11 Skills Operators (OPCO), which have been approved by the Ministry of Labour and are responsible for a particular sector of the economy. The OPCOs support companies with fewer than 50 employees in developing skills, analysing training needs and changing professional qualifications.

Finally, employees can decide to finance their training themselves by mobilising their personal training account (see section on aid). This personal account lists the training rights acquired by the employee throughout his or her working life (in euros) and the training courses for which he or she can use it. The individual can consult the balance of the account at any time on the My Training Account website.

Financial Support for Adult Learners

At the employee's initiative

The personal training account (CPF) can be used by any employee throughout his or her working life, including during periods of unemployment, to follow training leading to a qualification or certification. It lists the rights acquired by the employee throughout his or her working life and until retirement, as well as the training from which the employee can benefit personally. The CPF is intended for anyone who is an employee, a member of a liberal profession or a self-employed person, a collaborating spouse or a job seeker.

The CPF is automatically credited at the beginning of the year following the year worked (thus the rights acquired in 2020 will be available in the first quarter of 2021). The rights remain acquired even in the event of a change of employer or loss of employment. In the general case, the account is topped up by 500 euros per year worked, up to a maximum of 5 000 euros. The amount is paid in proportion to the time worked. For employees in the public sector, this is done in "training hours" (25 hours per year up to a maximum of 150 hours).

For low-skilled employees (as well as for low-skilled public service employees), the account is topped up more and the ceiling is raised.

At the initiative of the employer

The training plan. Private and public bodies can finance training activities within the framework of a training plan, the content of which is left to their initiative. The training plan makes it possible to pay the employee's remuneration (in full) and to finance the costs associated with the training (cost of the training, travel, accommodation).

Subsidies for private providers

There is no public subsidy for private training organisations. Training is financed for individuals through different mechanisms presented above.