Lifelong learning

Continuous training is based on the obligation of employers to participate in the financing of the continuous training of workers and on the right of workers to train during their working time.. In each professional branch, employers apply national interprofessional agreements negotiated by the social partners. Employees who have lost their jobs can also benefit from training programs. Its financing is mainly based on unemployment insurance, the regions or the State.

The state

Two ministerial departments are especially concerned with continuing vocational training.

The Ministry of Labor, Full Employment and Integration

This ministry:

  • guides the continuing vocational training policy with a view to guaranteeing professional careers and access to employment
  • proposes legislative changes
  • encourages consultation between social partners
  • It intervenes very marginally in the financing of adult training organizations, but participates in the financing of the training of the recipients (migrants, disabled people, prisoners, etc.).

The Ministry of National Education

This ministry:

  • organizes and finances, from the state budget, the initial vocational training of young people
  • Its operational mission is the continuing education of adults. This public service mission is carried out by the greta (groups of establishments).
  • It also participates, at an institutional level, in the collective inter-ministerial reflection on the evolution of orientation and continuing training.

The regions

Since decentralization, the regions are responsible for the vocational training of young people and adults. Regional Councils decide, in regional territories, training policies based on local economic and social priorities. With the law on guidance and continuing vocational training promulgated on November 25, 2009, the regions must conclude a contract with the State (the prefect and the rector) for the development plan of vocational training. This contract, the CPRDF, is not a simple guidance document, but rather defines the common objectives of the different regional actors.


Companies have a legal obligation to finance continuing training. This legal obligation is 1.6% of the payroll, but many companies consider continuous training as an investment and dedicate a much larger proportion to it. Authorized joint collection organizations (OPCA), interprofessional or specific to sectors of activity:

  • organize the collection of mandatory contributions
  • pool resources
  • finance training policies defined by professional branches

Therefore, companies have a very important role in training their staff.

Public employers (the State, local authorities and public hospital administration) have implemented similar systems for the training of all their agents.

Companies also have the possibility of offering special types of employment contracts that allow alternatively periods of work in a company and periods of training in a center. The two main contracts of this type are:

  • the professionalization contract
  • the learning contract

Depending on whether the employer is in the public or private sector, Other types of subsidized contracts introduce training and support obligations for employees. : jobs of the future, generation contract, integration contract, employment support contract, etc.

The 2009 training reform introduced two important innovations: one right to information and professional guidance for alland a Decompartmentalization of certain financing for better continuity of rights between employees and job seekers.. All regulations on continuing training are part of the Labor Code.


Pôle Emploi provides the interface between job seekers and employers. He is often required to prescribe training. It takes into account individual wishes, but also employment opportunities in the territories. It especially promotes programs operational preparation for employment (POE) and the approved training actions.


The four main systems that allow employees to train during working hours, without loss of salary are :

  • the training plan : employees are trained during their work day, according to the company’s priorities
  • the individual right to training : employees have twenty hours a year to train, which they can take advantage of from one year to the next
  • the professionalization period : employees benefit from training actions that alternate theoretical and practical lessons
  • individual training permit : Employees choose their training. The duration (one year maximum), conditions (during working hours or outside working hours) and dates are decided by mutual agreement with the company. The financing, partial or total, is provided by Fongécif or Opacif.

The employees you can also get a license to carry out a skills assessment or carry out a validation process of the experience acquired. The law of November 25, 2009 introduces the portability of the individual right to training (DIF): under certain conditions, the worker can use his rights during a period of unemployment or for two years with a new employer.

Not employees (farmers, artisans, self-employed workers, merchants, liberal professions) You can also follow the training thanks to the contributions they pay to the collecting organizations in charge of pooling and distributing the funds.


Training actions can be carried out by employerswith the support of its internal training service or “bought” from different organizations. In France there are more than 48,000 training organizations, public or private. It is competition and performance that determines the selection between operators.

Public training organizations

They contribute 20% of the training activity. The most important are the greta, establishments dependent on the Ministry of Agriculture, continuing education services of universities and the Cnam . Associations and parapublic organizations such as Afpa, chambers of commerce or chambers of commerce also play an important role.

Private organizations

They are numerous because, in France, any natural or legal person can carry out a continuing training activity. They carry out 80% of the training activity.

The Eduform label

The Eduform seal is a quality seal that guarantees the conformity of continuing education services for adults with a framework of good practices. It replaces the two existing quality seals, GretaPlus and VAE+, which were reserved only for users and public service personnel. This seal is issued by the Minister responsible for education, at the proposal of the national labeling commission Eduform, for a maximum period of three years.

Learn more about the Eduform label

Leave a Comment