In France, the main stakeholders in the case of Adult Education and Training are the State, Régions and social partners (representatives of employees and employers unions).
Organisation and funding
Continuing Vocational Training (CVT) is clearly distinct from initial training in the way that it is organised. In the terms of Law no.71-575 of July 16th 1971, it constitutes a "national obligation", in the achievement of which all economic and social stakeholders are involved – with each one capable of acting independently. In this respect, the State does not have the same pre-eminent role as it has in terms of initial training, which is a "public service".
This is why CVT is the direct and complementary responsibility of several stakeholders, especially:
- the State, Régions and social partners, as regards defining the normative framework and the range of CVT training programmes: the standards and schemes giving access to CVT are usually based on the confirmation by the public authorities of interprofessional agreements signed between the social partners of the different professional sectors. This close connection between social bargaining and the law is one of the specific features of the French continuing training system;
- the State, Régions, social partners (via the Organismes Paritaires Collecteurs Agréés - OPCA, Accredited fund-Collecting Joint Body - organisations tasked with collecting CVT funding and financing employees' training) and companies with regard to CVT funding (read more in section 3.3);
- the State, Régions, companies and public, broader public and private training organisations with regard to implementing CVT.
Stakeholders involved in developing the range of adult training programmes
Within the continuing vocational training system, the State's remit is rigidly defined by law. It is involved at three levels:
- overseeing the system (steering the training policy; defining the institutional framework in which the other stakeholders intervene; recommends legislative changes; and promotes dialogue between social partners);
- funding the system (read more in section 3.3);
- implementing continuing training via the French Department for National Education’s management of the GRETA network.
The régions have a general remit in terms of continuing vocational training. It is Regional Councils responsibility to define and implement a vocational training policy based on local economic and social priorities. According to Law no.2009-1437 of 24 November 2009, régions must set up a Regional Plan Contract for the Development of Vocational Training (CPRDF) based on the work of a collective that brings together regional authorities, the State representative at local level, the local education authority (académies) and employers' and employees' organisations. The regions also help to fund CVT along with the State and companies.
Social partners help the legislator to draw up continuous vocational training laws, through National Inter-professional Agreements collective bargaining, since standards and schemes giving access to CVT are usually based on the confirmation by the public authorities of interprofessional agreements signed between the social partners of the different professional sectors. Such partners also help to fund and implement the CVT policy by managing OPCAs set up following their initiative. OPCAs collect the compulsory contributions paid by companies towards employees' vocational training.
Involved departments in lifelong learning
In France, most of the adult training is managed by two Departments: the French Department for National Education, Higher Education and Research and the French Department for Work, Employment, Vocational training and the Social dialogue. Other Departments may be involved on a smaller scale because of training-providing institutions they have the supervision of (Department for Defence, Department for Agriculture, Agri-Food and Forestry).
The Department for Work, Employment, Vocational training and the Social dialogue sets the continuing vocational training policy, aiming to secure career paths and employment access, proposes legal evolutions, fosters dialogue between social partners and finances marginally some training-providing institutions as well the training of specific publics (migrants, disabled, incarcerated, etc.). This Department is also responsible for the Association Nationale pour la Formation Professionnelle des Adultes (AFPA – National Association for Adults Vocational Training).
The Department for National Education, Higher Education and Research has an operational objective of adults’ continuing vocational training. This public service mission is led by the GRETA network. On an institutional level, the Department also contributes to the interdepartmental strategic reflection on the evolution of lifelong learning.