At the beginning of 2019 a law came into force in France on the freedom to choose one’s occupational future. It was passed originally in the late summer of 2018. Among other employment-related measures, that law reforms apprenticeships and vocational training, the aim being to simplify the existing schemes and to encourage working people, whatever their situation, to train and maintain their skills throughout their lifetimes. This reform of vocational training follows several other reforms in this area, but what does it add, and does it meet the needs of French working people?
Paul Santelmann, a specialist in the field of employment and skills, offers insight here into the evolution of the French system of continuing training, taking the view that it doesn’t meet the training needs of the least skilled workers and young people. He offers various points of comparison with other European countries and stresses the – still insufficient – nature of the measures adopted in late 2018. Despite some advances, particularly in terms of learning and the accountability of actors (enterprises, working people…), this reform is in danger of not going far enough to rebalance on-the-job training against initial training, and to maintain the employability of the least skilled workers and the most hard-to-place jobseekers.