Though regularly in the forefront of government priorities for decades, young people in France are still paying a heavier price than others for the economic crisis that has beset the country for more than 40 years. With an unemployment rate standing at over 24% for the 15-24 age-group and even 50% among non-graduates, France is in the higher range of European states for youth unemployment. Apart from the –undeniable– economic difficulties responsible for this continuing blight, more structural factors also play a role no doubt, beginning with the educational system’s relevance to the needs of the economy, since, though one young jobseeker in four cannot find work, some sectors are faced with labour shortages, particularly in craft trades. Yet, as Michel Godet and Yves Malier highlight here, the French education system does not set great store by vocational training and apprenticeships, even though these are crucial in helping young people into work. And despite regular declarations by governments in favour of vocational education, the number of trainees involved is falling and the conditions in which such training takes place are declining. Hence the call formulated here by Michel Godet and Yves Malier for these learning pathways to be reinforced, with or without the participation of the education system.
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