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France

10. Youth work

10.5 Youth workers

On this page
  1. Status in national legislation
  2. Education, training and skills recognition
  3. Mobility of youth workers

 

Status in national legislation

 

N.B. This chapter will focus on socio-educational/socio-cultural facilitators; in France, these come under the definition of “youth workers”, which is more widely used than that of “facilitator”.

The status of facilitators may vary, and may not be equally recognised. Facilitators may be volunteers (bénévoles), employees or local officials. Their status is defined by the qualifications they hold. The training system is based on three types of qualification: non-professional, professional and academic qualifications.

It must be stressed that qualifications are not required for socio-educational activities. In fact the law allows employers to recruit unqualified staff; however, they must ensure that 80 % of supervisors “have degrees, qualifications or certificates that appear on the list drawn up by the Minister for Youth”.

 

Non-vocational qualifications

Non-vocational qualifications relate to voluntary activities. Nevertheless, they play an essential role in terms of access to the professional activity sector.

Non-professional certificates: Most of the facilitators’ qualifications awarded by the Ministry of Youth consist of the BAFA - Facilitator’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions d’animateur) and the BAFD - Director’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions de directeur). Around 50,000 BAFA qualifications are awarded each year; this number has remained the same for 20 years. Fewer BAFDs are awarded; in 2018, there were 2,344. These qualifications are mostly awarded to women, who made up roughly 70% of those who obtained the BAFA/ BAFD in 2016.

 

 

The BAFA - Facilitator’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions d’animateur)

The Facilitator’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions d’animateur), known as the BAFA, is a non-professional qualification required for the supervision of young people within Community Centres for Minors (accueils collectifs de mineurs), and holiday and leisure centres.

 BAFA training prepares its students for 5 areas of responsibility:

1) “guaranteeing the physical and moral safety of minors”;

2) “as part of a team, helping to introduce projets pédagogiques that are in line with projets éducatifs, in accordance with the rules governing ACMs”;

3) “taking part in activities, communications and the development of relationships between all those involved”;

4) “supervising and coordinating the daily routine and the activities”;

5) “helping minors to complete their projects”.

 

In addition, the course aims to develop four skills:

1) “the sharing and passing on of the Republic’s values, including secularism”;

2) “the making of a commitment appropriate to the social, cultural and educational context”;

3) “The building of strong individual or collective relationships with members of the team of instructors and with the minors, and helping to prevent all forms of discrimination”;

4) “where necessary, being able to provide appropriate solutions in situations involving minors”.

 

The BAFD - Director’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions de directeur)

 The BAFD – Director’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions de directeur) allows holders of the BAFA to supervise children and teenagers at holiday and leisure centres.

BAFD training prepares directors for carrying out the following duties:

  • “along with his/her team of facilitators, developing and introducing pedagogic projects (projets pédagogiques) that are in line with educational projects (projets éducatifs), in accordance with the rules governing Community Centres for Minors (accueils collectifs de mineurs), including catering for minors with health problems or disabilities”;
  • “making a commitment appropriate to the social, cultural and educational context”;
  • “coordinating and training a team of facilitators”;
  • “directing staff and managing a centre”;
  • “developing partnerships and communication”.

Texts 

Article D 432-10 et seq of the CASF – Social Action and Family Code (code de l’action sociale et des familles)

Order of 15 July 2015 relating to certificates of aptitude for the duties of facilitator and director at Community Centres for Minors (accueils collectifs de mineurs)

 

On the other hand, certain facilitators’ qualifications are vocational qualifications.

 

Vocational certificates for coordinators

The CPJEPS – Vocational Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (certificat professionnel de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport) is a new qualification.

Legal texts

Reference of Decree No. 2004-893 of 27 August 2004 taken for the application of Article L. 363-1 of the Education Code, repealed by Decree No. 227-1133 of 24 July 2007 and codified).

Art.D.212-11 to D.212-19 of the Sports Code (refe­rence of Decree No. 93-53 of 12 January 1993 relating to the creation of an Assistant-Facilitator Technician’s Vocational Certificate of Aptitude in Youth and Sports, repealed by Decree No. 2007-1133 of 24 July 2007 and codi­fied)

Art. A.212-2 to A.212-16 of the Sports Code (reference of the Order of 19 January 1993 relating to the organisation and conditions for preparing and delivering the Assistant-Facilitator Technician’s Vocational Certificate of Aptitude in Youth and Sports, repealed by the Order of 28 February 2008 and codi­fied)

 

The CPJEPS is a vocational qualification that is listed in the RNCP - National Register of Vocational Qualifications (Répertoire National des Certification Professionnelles); it is listed under Level 3 in the list of levels of qualification drawn up in accordance with Article L. 6113-1 of the Labour Code. It proves that a qualification has been obtained in a professional activity which has an educational or social purpose, in the fields of physical, sports, socio-educational or cultural activities.

The qualification mentioned in Article 1 certifies that its holder can:

  • Take part in a project and in the life of an organisation;
  • Facilitate the daily routines of groups;
  • Design group activities;
  • Facilitate group activities.

The title “Facilitator of activities and daily routines” (“animateur d’activités et de vie quotidienne”) on a Vocational Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport certifies that its holder may act as a facilitator of activities and daily routines. Facilitators of activities and daily routines can mainly be found in Community Centres for Minors (accueils collectifs de mineurs) (extra-curricular facilities, leisure centres, organised holiday centres (séjours de vacances)). They can also be found at any centre that provides leisure or socio-cultural activities.

Holders may also sit the regional civil service examinations for the post of Principal Assistant Regional Facilitator (2nd class) (adjoint territorial d’animation principal de 2ème classe).

 

 

Legal texts:

 Decree No. 2019-144 of 26 February 2019 relating to the creation of the vocational diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (certificat professionnel de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

Order of 26 February 2019 relating to the organisation of the vocational diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (certificat professionnel de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

 

The BPJEPS - Vocational Certificate in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (Brevet professionnel de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

The BPJEPS is a vocational qualification that allows its holder to work in an educational or social capacity within the fields of sport, social education or culture. The certificate offers two specialisms: facilitator and sports instructor. A number of different options are available within each specialism, such as: “Leisure for All” (“Loisirs Tous Publics”), “Social Activities” (“Animation Sociale”), “Cultural Activities” (“Animation Culturelle”) and “Physical Activity for All” (“Activités Physiques pour Tous”).

The Order of 18 July 2016, which provides details of the specialism “Leisure for All” (“loisirs tous publics”) within the Vocational Certificate in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (brevet professionnel de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport), specifies (in Article 2) the skills required from a facilitator with a BPJEPS qualification:

“Possession of a qualification containing the title […] certifies that, in his/her work as an independent instructor, the holder applies the following skills:

  • “Supervising members of the public at any location and within any centre, based on public demand and the local area”;
  • “Designing and introducing projects for activities that form part of a centre’s projects”;
  • “Leading initiatives to promote activities that fall within the scope of “Leisure for All” and managing an ACM - Community Centre for Minors (accueil collectif de mineurs)”;
  • “Using non-formal education approaches in his/her facilitation of exploratory, scientific and technical, cultural and expression-based activities, and physical leisure activities”;
  • Helping members of the public to use digital technology, as part of a public-spirited and inclusive approach.

Legal text

Decree No. 2016-527 of 27 April 2016 relating to the Vocational Certificate in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (brevet professionnel de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport);

DEJEPS - State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (Diplôme d’État de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

The DEJEPS’s specialism in socio-educative and cultural activities is available in two versions: “Social Activities” (“animation sociale”) and “Developing Projects, Regions and Networks” (“développement de projets, territoires et réseaux”). The DEJEPS prepares its students for careers as facilitators within associations or companies.

Possession of this qualification with the title “Social Activities” (“Animation Sociale”), is proof of the following skills:

  • using a non-formal educational approach to designing activities within centres providing social services;
  • working as part of a team with professionals with different qualifications and work cultures;
  • taking individuals into account in community initiatives, and providing a social service which includes individual support for members of the public who are excluded or isolated socially or at work;
  • coordinating projects for activities which take account of the requirements of disabled, dependent or excluded members of the public;
  • leading training initiatives with other professionals and volunteers (bénévoles).

Possession of a diploma with the title “Developing Projects, Regions and Networks” (“développement de projets, territoires et réseaux”) is proof of the following skills:

  • managing the introduction of projects for activities based on the values of non-formal education;
  • supporting a team in its work;
  • organising partnerships;
  • introducing inclusive approaches to non-formal education;
  • supporting the involvement of volunteers (bénévoles);
  • organising the use of resources;
  • providing training courses for his/her team.

Legal texts

Council of State Decree No. 2015-1527 of 24 November 2015 relating to the Vocational Certificate, the State Diploma and the Higher State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport.

Amended Order of 20 November 2006 on the organisation of the State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport with the specialism “Socio-Educational and Cultural Activities” (“animation socio-éducative ou culturelle”).

DES JEPS - Higher State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (Diplôme d’État supérieur de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

Coordinators wishing to manage community centres or coordinate activity projects may take managerial training courses, including the Higher State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (Diplôme d’État supérieur de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport). Holders of the DESJEPS with the title “Management of Centres and Projects” (“direction de structure et de projet”) act as independent supervisors, employing the technical support and policy defined in their specialism.

Possession of the Diploma is proof of the following skills within the field of socio-educational and cultural activities:

  • bringing together the various partners to design development projects linked to the values of non-formal education;
  • designing inclusive approaches and approaches that involve non-formal education;
  • assisting elected bodies in formalising development projects;
  • analysing regional issues so that they are reflected in a centre’s initiatives;
  • designing training priorities for all those involved in a centre or a development project;
  • organising training initiatives for instructors via an organisation’s professional networks.

Legal texts

Council of State Decree No. 2015-1527 of 24 November 2015 relating to the Vocational Certificate, State Diploma and the Higher State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport.

- Order of the 27 April 2007 on the creation of the DES JEPS option “Management of Centres and Projects” (“direction de structure et de projet”)

 

 Education, training and skills recognition

 

Training courses that lead to professional qualifications relating to the duties and profession of facilitator are organised by training organisations that have been approved by the Ministries for Youth and Sport’s decentralised services. These organisations are authorised by the government to run training courses that lead to State Youth and Sports qualifications, including facilitator’ qualifications (BAPAAT, CPJEPS, BPJEPS, DEJEPS, DESJEPS).

The organisation of these training courses and the approval and certification process are covered by Articles R.212-10-1 to R.212-10-19 of the Sports Code.

The training organisations that prepare students for all these qualifications (vocational and non-vocational) may be private, voluntary — such as the Francas and the CEMEAs (non-formal education movements) — or public, such as the CREPSs – Centres for Expertise and Sports Performance Resources (centres de Ressources d’Expertise et de Performance Sportive) which are attached to the Ministry of Sport.

 

 

Non-vocational certificates

The BAFA – Facilitator’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions d’animateur)

No previous qualifications are required for the BAFA. Students must be 17 or over to enrol on a course; these are provided by training organisations that have been approved by the Ministry of Youth.

The BAFD – Director’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’aptitude aux fonctions de directeur)

Candidates for the BAFD must be aged 21 and must hold the BAFA or a diploma, title or certificate of qualification that allows them to work as a facilitator at a Community Centre for Minors (Accueil Collectif de Mineurs) (list drawn up by order of the Minister); this qualification must also prove that they have spent at least two periods, amounting to at least 28 days overall, working as a facilitator during the two years immediately before enrolling on the course, at least one of which must have been spent at an Community Centre for Minors (Accueil Collectif de Mineurs). The course is organised in five stages over a period of 4 years.

 

Vocational facilitators’ qualifications

Training courses for vocational facilitators’ qualifications are based on a system in which a student’s time is divided between a training centre and a host company. The courses leading to these qualifications are provided by public and private training centres that have been approved by the Regional Directorates for Youth, Sport and Social Cohesion (directions régionales de la jeunesse, des sports et de la cohésion sociale). Depending on the qualification applied for, there may be certain requirements for acceptance onto a course.

Learners are assessed during qualifying situations laid down in the certification benchmark lists specified in the qualification order, and referred to by a panel composed of instructors, technical staff (at least half of whom are government officials), and employees’ and employers’ representatives.

These courses may take the form of either initial (in this case, trainees are apprentices within the meaning of the Labour Code) or ongoing training. At the start of the training programme, following positioning, courses are determined by the training organisations. Positioning makes it possible to tailor the content and length of courses to suit individual candidates.

The Vocational Diploma of Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (certificat professionnel de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

The CPJEPS is listed in the National Register of Vocational Qualifications (Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles); it is listed under Level 3 in the list of levels of qualification drawn up in accordance with Article L. 6113-1 of the Labour Code. It was created by Decree No. 2019-144 of 26 February 2019.

When this course is taken as part of initial training, its minimum length is 700 hours, 400 of which are spent at a training centre.

The BPJEPS – Vocational Certificate of Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (Brevet professionnel de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

The BPEJPS is a vocational qualification with Level 4 status in the list of levels of qualification contained in the RNCP – National Register of Professional Qualifications (Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles). These courses are open to individuals aged 16 and over since, according to the Labour Code, this is the age at which individuals become eligible for work/study courses. On this course, a student’s time is divided between a training centre and a host company. It can be taken in the form of initial training or continuing professional development, or as an apprenticeship. In the form of initial training, a minimum of 600 hours is spent in a training centre.

The DEJEPS – State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (Diplôme d’État de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

This is a professional qualification with Level 3 status in the list of levels of qualification. This qualification is listed in the RNCP - National Register of Professional Qualifications (Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles). The course is taken as part of initial training; its minimum length is 1,200 hours, 700 of which are spent at a training centre. On this course, a student’s time is divided between a training centre and a host company.

The DE (S) JEPS - Higher State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (Diplôme d’État supérieur de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport)

Coordinators seeking to manage community centres or coordinate activity projects may take managerial training courses, including the DESJEPS - Higher State Diploma in Youth, Non-Formal Education and Sport (Diplôme d’État supérieur de la jeunesse, de l’éducation populaire et du sport). The DES JEPS is a vocational qualification with Level 2 status in the list of levels of qualification. This qualification is listed in the RNCP - National Register of Professional Qualifications (Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles).

 

The Validation of Learning through Volunteering

There are other ways of obtaining training and gaining facilitator’s qualifications.

Through bénévolat work with young people, a coordinator may ask for a validation, an acknowledgement of his/her experiences as a volunteer which may give him/her access to a training course (or on parts of these courses). This scheme is used in the BAFA. For example, in partnership with the IFAC – Training, Facilitation and Consultancy Institute (institut de formation, d’animation et de conseil), a national association, Paris City Hall has set up the “BAFA Citizen” (“BAFA citoyen”) scheme; this scheme gives young people the opportunity to trade 30 hours of bénévolat for part of the BAFA course.

The Validation of Learning through Volunteering (Validation des Acquis de l'Expérience Bénévole), established by Law No. 2002-73 of 17 January 2002, allows anyone, regardless of age, education or status, “to validate their experience of bénévolat or volunteering for the purpose of obtaining a diploma, qualification or vocational certificate, or to gain access to training without having to provide proof of a required level of education”.

 

VAE The Validation of Learning through Experience (La Validation des acquis de l’expérience)

The Validation of Learning through Experience (validation des acquis de l'expérience) is an individual right that is listed both in the Labour Code (Code du travail) and in the Education Code (Code de l'éducation): "anyone who works has the right to have their professional experience validated, for the purpose of obtaining a diploma, a professional title or a certificate of qualification."

It is thus aimed at anyone who wishes to have his/her professional achievements or experience as a bénévole recognised in the form of a qualification or professional title. The VAE is open to everyone, regardless of age, status (employees, artisans, bénévoles, the self-employed, temporary workers, etc.) or required levels of training. The only requirement is proof of at least one year of experience which is directly related to the content and level of the qualification a person wishes to obtain.

Only vocational qualifications listed in the RNCP - National Register of Professional Qualifications (Répertoire National des Certifications Professionnelles) can be obtained via the VAE.

 

 

Mobility of youth workers

 

Facilitators, particularly those with BAFA or BAFD qualifications, may benefit from the training courses or experience abroad offered by facilitator training centres (associations and companies) that use the Erasmus+ Youth and Sport scheme, and specifically the “Mobility of individuals for education and training purposes (mobilité des individus à des fins d’éducation et de formation)” component of the European scheme.

These training centres offer to “develop” the BAFA and BAFD abroad; the aim is also to train facilitators to be able to “facilitate a holiday abroad” and in particular handle the intercultural aspect of events involving young participants of different nationalities.

The Franco-German Youth Office (Office franco-allemand pour la jeunesse), for example, offers the “BAFA-JuLeiCa” training scheme, intended for those who wish to become facilitators of youth events; it is recognised both by the BAFA and by its German equivalent, the Jugendleiter/In-Card. This course complies with existing regulations in both countries and therefore leads to a dual qualification.