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Apprenticeships and work-based learning structured programmes - France - 2014

Introduction The French VET system offers several apprenticeship-type schemes and structured work-based learning programmes, based on alternance schemes and both work-based and school-based learning. However, there are two main apprenticeship schemes in France: the contrat d’apprentissage and the contrat de professionnalisation, both contracts signed between an employer and an employee. Contrat d’apprentissage – Apprenticeship contract The contrat d’apprentissage is an employment contract that has been available in France since 1919. It was modified and redefined in 1971. Its duration ranges from 1 to 3 years, depending on the target credential or diploma and the initial level of the employee. Its objective is to enable young people aged 16 to 25 to follow a general education curriculum, both theoretical and practical, in order to acquire a professional qualification based on a diploma or a professional credential. This contract alternates periods of learning in training centres (centres de formation par apprentissage – CFA) and periods of work to develop ‘know-how’. The main laws regarding apprenticeship are in the sixth part of the French Labour Code. Contrat de professionalisation – Professionalisation contract The contrat de professionnalisation has existed in France since 2004. Prior to that, however, there was a rather similar scheme called the contrat de qualification. The objective of the contrat de professionalisation is to provide access to employment through the acquisition of a professional qualification (certificate, diploma, degree...) recognized by the State and/or a professional sector. The contract alternates periods of general and technological education with training providers, and periods working in an activity related to the qualification. Since 2005, the French Government has sought to position apprenticeship as a remedy for mass youth unemployment and for the phenomenon of young people dropping out of school without qualifications. One of the most frequently used arguments is that young people who have undergone professional training are actually more successful on the labour market than young people with a general baccalaureate.

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