Apprenticeship: the State bails out France skills to the tune of an additional 2 billion


Posted Nov 2, 2022, 6:21 PMUpdated Nov 2, 2022, 6:55 PM

And 2 billion more! Presented this Wednesday in the Council of Ministers, the amending finance bill grants new exceptional aid to France competences which is added to that of the same amount already voted with the first amending budget this summer. If we take into account last November’s boost, the State had to disburse 6.7 billion in one year to bail out the national body for regulation and control of vocational training, mainly because enthusiasm for learning.

Created by the law of 2018, France competences acts as a marshalling yard. Its main mission consists of distributing its resources – derived almost exclusively from the vocational training and apprenticeship contribution from companies – between several major systems. The three main ones relate to the training of the unemployed, the personal training account (CPF) and the training of apprentices in the form of subsidies to the CFAs to cover training. The first is fixed (1.6 billion per year), while the other two act as open rights. In short: all requests must be funded.

In detail, it should miss 100 to 200 million for the CPF this year out of the 2.6 billion planned. Most of the 4 billion extensions therefore relate to learning. Projections show 860,000 apprenticeship contracts, said Minister Delegate for Vocational Training and Education, Carole Grandjean, this Wednesday on BFM Business. Either, if the figure is confirmed, an increase of 18% in one year, much stronger than what the executive had anticipated.

It seems that a significant number of CFAs have anticipated the planing on the subsidies of September 1, says a source close to the file. Many companies would also have anticipated hiring in anticipation of the reduction in aid (it could be reduced to 6,000 euros from January 1, according to our information).

One million contracts per year by 2027

The revenues of France competences are largely insufficient to cover its expenses, forcing the State to fill its deficit, the bank loan not being sufficient. As a reminder, at the end of 2021, the board of directors had (already) approved a forecast income statement for 2022 in the red at 3.7 billion. In a recent report, the Court of Auditors was alarmed, denouncing a “financial impasse”.

The operator’s situation will improve next year given the increase in payroll. Not enough though. Especially since the government wants to achieve 1 million apprenticeship contracts per year by the end of the five-year term. Its budgets are therefore destined to remain in deficit, the only reduction in subsidies to the CFAs or the regulation of the CPF probably not being enough to balance them.

Structural solutions

The Ministry of Labor is fully aware of this and ensures that this is one of its priority projects in 2023. Proposals will be submitted for consultation with the social partners, we are assured in the entourage of Carole Grandjean. Unless you proceed with amending budget after amending budget, structural solutions are not legion.

Since apprenticeship has become a first-rate public policy, the success of which Emmanuel Macron regularly claims, the State can institute the principle of an annual allocation to France competences, which it began to do in the 2023 budget with a “exceptional” endowment of 1.7 billion. It can also, but it is not in tune with the times, increase the employer training contribution, or push the professional branches to establish additional conventional financing.

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