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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Developments and current policy priorities


8.Adult education and training

8.2Developments and current policy priorities

Last update: 27 November 2023

France's Continuous Vocational Training development starts in 1970-71 with the Accord National Interprofessionnel (ANI - National Inter-professional Agreement) and recognition of lifelong learning as a "national obligation".

Historical development

Continuous Vocational Training (CVT) is acknowledged as a national provision since the “Delors’ law”, Missions Locales (Local missions) are created in 1982 (by ordnance no. 82-273) and are tasked with receiving, informing, directing and supporting youngsters between 16 and 25, in order to help them socially and professionally integrate.

Many laws will be created in order to develop CVT offer and to ensure its quality starting 1985: rapprochement between public service of employment and training institutions, development of diplomas that are acquired through credits and a simplification of the training access procedure, issuance of a certificate of skills acquisition to every trainee. The law no. 90-579 of July 4th, 1990 creates an Evaluation National Council to assess relevance of the training offer as well as the action plans towards CVT. A habilitation procedure of the training programs and a development of the national and local programing of the State intervention are also set in motion in order to insure a better control on public contracts as well as generally uplift training programs’ quality. Administrative and financial control of the State is extended to every CVT activities.

Early 2000s see an emergence of a « professionalization entitlement » along with a right to “return to training”. In 2002 is the Validation des Acquis de l’Expérience (VAE - Validation of professional experience) created (vocational contract is created to help employees that have an insufficient qualification.

Finally, through the Régions have entire responsibility over apprenticeship and youth and unemployed adults’ vocational training is set. Regional Councils now define and organize apprenticeship and vocational training policies. This law also anticipates a progressive transfer of funds towards Agence nationale pour la Formation Professionnelle des Adultes (AFPA - national Agency for Adults Vocational Training) internships from the State to the Régions, making Régions the only partner in charge of AFPA public contracts.

Current public policies priorities

Among recent reforms, the following are the most important ones:

  • Law no.2009-1437 of 24 November 2009 bearing on career guidance and lifelong training, which asserted the “mobility” of the Droit Individuel à la Formation (DIF - Individual Training Account) – in other words, the possibility for employees to use their rights to training after leaving a company; it also created a new fund (the “Fonds paritaire pour la sécurisation du parcours professionnel” – joint fund securing career paths) to be used for training of jobseekers and of the least qualified employees, and developed such new tools as "mid-career interview";
  • Law no. 2011-893 of 28 July 2011 for developing work-study programmes and professional career security, which creates the "employment securing contract" (more informations in section 8.4.3);
  • jobs for the future contracts" aimed at young people;
  • generation contract";
  • Compte Personnel de Formation (CPF - Personal Training Account);
  • Law no. 2014-288 of March 5th, 2014 on vocational training, employment and social democracy.

The Compte Personnel de Formation (CPF - Personal Training Account), created by the National Inter-professional Agreement of December 2013 and introduced in January 2015, is an “account” on which employees accumulate training time. It allows the employees to access training in order to acquire a qualification and/or a certification. It differs from the new nationwide illiteracy fighting plan was announced in November 2013 and launched for the 2014-2015 academic year.

References: Vie-publique : chronologie des politiques publiques de la formation professionnelle continue ;  circular letter no. 2013-179 of November 12th, 2013 ; : questions fréquentes