The laws of 4 May 2004 governing DIF (the individual's right to training), followed by the Act of 5 March 2014 covering the PTA, introduced rights to training which since then have been extended to everyone (the professions, other employment networks, the unemployed) in the Labour Law of 8 August 2016.
In France, therefore, we have created a legislative regime where everyone enjoys a priori an inherent and universal right to training. And the next law governing training should not go back on this principle: quite the reverse.
Training experts and consultants will therefore step in this year over the conditions and methods of exercising the 'New Rights to Training', after the publication of the Act and its implementing decrees. But this is not so much about the hypothetical monetisation of the PTA, or its potential absorption of the ICF, about which it must be questioned before and during the implementation of the 2018 Act.
Beneficiaries expect simplicity in the exercise of their right to training, which they will certainly get in communications which are primarily institutional, then relayed by the financiers, promoted by the training agencies, and finally interpreted by HR professionals.
This is relevant information, but filters downward, and runs the risk of tending more towards the 'what?' and the 'how?' and not enough to the 'WHY?'.
Building on the development of skills
For the less qualified, continuous training could be a lever for social and professional advance, if our system was to pursue more ambitious objectives in the supporting and developing of skills, without their necessarily leading to a qualification.
The risks of issuing qualifications for everything, to which businesses already contribute very widely, is to confuse the objective of an individual's accessing a qualification with that of returning to, or remaining in, work by the development of his skills (which is the responsibility of the employer).
Clearly, open enrolment courses must favour the trades, for whom a recognised qualification is required before they may practise. But apart from these specific cases, those with the right to training, no matter what their status, are today faced with a confusing range of options (the national interprofessional list, the regional list, the list of branches, an inventory of qualifications) from which they are supposed to make their selection, alone and unaided.
In these conditions, such a profusion of qualifications discourages too many people, or reduces the rights to training to a social hand-out, of which each would make use in some training 'supermarket'. Depending on the situation, we can make it work well … or not. That is to say, we can improve the qualifications of someone who has a job, or find work for a job applicant. All levels of qualification capable of making use of these rights are affected.
A 32-year-old executive, about to leave the company as the result of an ESP, told me recently, without conviction, that she planned to start a qualifying training course by using her PTA: "We will see if I can get a job after that. My files have been accepted by the school. At the same time, you pay for it!"
Certainly, the CEP (Careers Guidance Council) has been created, offering free support with benefits shared by all; but its resources are not in proportion to the stakes.
It is not a question of setting the development of skills against the qualifying courses. It aims to rebalance the investment between:
- courses leading to a qualification (tending more towards the most poorly qualified) with more advice, better support and the prior identification of a professional goal;
- the development of skills (for all publics) with previously-identified job situations, in which they will be able to express themselves. It is directed as much towards employees as job-seekers, especially involving the POE, the 'preparing for employment' plan.
The contributions made by skills developed at work are shared by everyone, whatever the trainee's level of qualification. Targeted communications and suitable teaching methods considerably reduce any reservations in those who feel they had failed at school.
Indeed, the development of skills has the immense advantage of being multi-faceted: training courses (face to face or as distance learning), work experience, analysis of practices, mentoring, coaching…
Depending on the situations and the publics, it adapts to its environment.
Exercising the right to develop skills
This is not intended to offend people who register for, or who are included in training courses, but to remind them that they are jointly responsible for the development of their skills, particularly when they have taken advantage of their rights to training.
In fact, the right to training for everyone calls for collective responsibility, which includes the beneficiaries of these rights, as future trainees.
There is no thought of politics in the notion of the commitment which is expected from the trainee, whatever his status (employee, job-seeker, etc) or his qualification. All the laws supporting the right to improved training of the individual, from the DIF of 2004 to the PTA of 2018, have been brought about by different political movements.
However, in the light of the billions invested and the challenges for employment, it is not wrong for France to look for a more ambitious goal for training than simply signed-off documents, the respect of 'quality' procedures, or the correct recognition of individual rights in each person's training.
When an individual takes advantage of his right to training, his responsibility is already committed in the context of a contractual obligation, in just the same way as the professionals involved: the training provider, the trainer, the prescriber or the funder.
Nevertheless, we strengthened this supervision even more with the Quality Decree of 30 June 2015, even if in itself it was worth devising. By creating a new regulatory layer, we have affected the operators' economy and energy, to the detriment of the very purpose of training. And this has made the brave beneficiaries, in their turn, commit to an administrative paperstorm, or a system of financial engineering which is complex for the great majority, and totally abstruse for the most poorly qualified.
So much energy wasted on supervision or compliance, when we could give better support to individuals in their choices and in exercising their rights.
Better information and better support in peoples' career paths, just as on the stages and conditions of the development of their skills, would probably have just as salutary an impact on the quality of the training offer as a legislative approach.
The training quality would contribute more effectively to the development of skills if the learner was more actively committed to his training. Before, during and especially after.
It's obvious. We HR and training professionals must also learn how to support the trainee better on this course.
To come: the committed trainees, a cornerstone of quality in training
Translation (French to English) : EPALE France