3.3 Skills forecasting
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In the 1990s, the French public authorities started giving thought to companies’ needs in terms of skills rather than simply in terms of employment; this led to creation of the “Forward-looking management of jobs and skills”(GPEC – Gestion prévisionnelle des emplois et des compétences) concept. GPEC is a human resources management tool that enables medium- and long-term (from 3 to 5 years) anticipation of the consequences of a company’s strategic choices and changes in its payroll. It has a range of objectives:
- Apprehending the company’s demographic problems;
- Encouraging qualification of employees;
- Controlling the consequences of technological and economic changes;
- Staying competitive.
GPEC, for example, can lead to implementation of individual and collective actions and programmes, training courses, mobility, and recruitment drives. The scheme is defined by Article L.432-1.1 of the Labour Code and Article L. 5121-3 of the Labour Code, which specifies that employers in companies with fewer than 300 employees are obliged to negotiate implementation of a GPEC plan every three years. Companies with fewer than 300 employees may benefit from State financial aid in order to do so.
Such job management is based on a multi-stage approach:
- “analysis of required jobs”, which aims to take account of jobs the organisation has or will have need of,
- “analysis of available skills”, which makes a quantitative assessment of the resources the company has available (analysis of the age pyramid, etc.),
- “analysis of gaps” between jobs and skills,
- “the action plan”, which seeks to reduces gaps between the jobs an organisation needs immediately or in the future and available skills.
At employment-area level, GPEC serves as a tool for “forward-looking management of jobs and skills” (gestion prévisionnelle des emplois et compétences territoriale), with the aim of “encouraging and supporting projects focusing on securing the professional paths of employed workers” and “optimising local employment possibilities […] and fostering sustainable socio-professional integration”. At local level, GPEC is based on a framework agreement, signed between the State, social partners, company representatives, local authorities and Pôle Emploi, which sets out the objectives, contents, operator(s) tasked with its implementation, and mode of management and evaluation selected for the agreement.
In addition to GPEC, there are other schemes anticipating professions, qualifications and skills, including “employment and skills development actions” (ADEC – actions de développement de l’emploi et des compétences) and the “forward-looking studies and technical support contract” (contrat d’études prospectives et appui technique), which are both based on agreements signed by the State (Ministry of Labour) and social partners.
Employment and skills development actions (ADEC) have four objectives:
- “preventing risks of skills becoming obsolete;
- supporting professional mobility and evolution;
- maintaining skills development;
- having access to a recognised transferable qualification”.
They are based on framework agreements and funding conventions signed by the State (minister or regional prefect) professional and union organisations, which undertake to set up employment and skills development projects.
The forward-looking studies contract (CEP – contrat d’études prospectives) is a contract signed between the State and professional and union organisations represented in one or more activity sectors in the area concerned. The contract involves the carrying out of forward-looking studies providing wider knowledge of professions, jobs, qualifications and skills, and studying their evolutions.
The CEP is governed by Articles L.5121-1 and L.5121-2, and D.5121-1 to D. 5121-3 of the Labour Code. It is also based on a framework agreement signed by the State and a convention concluded between the State and the intermediary body mandated under the conditions provided for in the framework agreement.
Development of all young people’s professional skills is one of the Public Employment Service’s missions as well as the responsibility of the Ministry in charge of Education and Higher Education, which has been developing a focus on “skills” within its system for several years now, expressed by initiatives and implementation of schemes designed to raise young people’s awareness of the skills required for their social integration and helping them develop them at home. A distinction should be drawn between “key” and so-called “basic” skills: specific skills that correspond to professions and jobs, but both of which are the subject of different schemes.
"Common core skills"
In 2013, the Ministry of Education introduced the “common core of knowledge, skills and culture”, which redefined the “common core of knowledge and skills” established by Framework law no.2005-380 for the future of schools of 23 April 2005. The common core of knowledge brings together all skills, values and attitudes necessary to pupils’ personal development, sense of citizenship and social inclusion. It is divided up into several skills, regarded as essential throughout life, and is incorporated into lower secondary and primary school curricula, with each pupil being provided with a personal skills booklet enabling them to monitor their progress and the validation of their skills.
- “Languages for thinking and communicating”.
- “Methods and tools for learning”.
- “Personal and civic training: learning about life in society, collective action, citizenship”.
- “Natural and technical systems: scientific and technical approach to Earth and the universe, which aims to develop curiosity, the ability to observe, and problem-solving skills”.
- “Representations of the world and human activity”.
This foundation is acquired during compulsory education and mastering it is necessary to obtain a lower high school certificate. However, teaching and evaluation according to competencies continue in later high school years, although it is no longer a matter of the core curriculum in schools.
The common core is acquired during compulsory schooling and proficiency in it is required for obtainment of the Diplôme National du Brevet (General Certificate of Lower Secondary Education); nonetheless, education and assessment by skills continues during upper secondary education even though it may no longer be a matter of common-core skills and skills booklets.
As per the recommendation of the European Parliament and Council of 18 December 2006 on key competencies for lifelong learning, which was superseded by a Council recommendation of 22 May 2018, the Ministry of Employment also developed a policy in favour of the acquisition of “Key competencies”, which is defined by the DGEFP 2008 memorandum of 3 January 2008 on “the Ministry of Employment intervention policy on access to key competencies for those integrating into professional life”. The key competencies are the following:
– Communicating in French;
– Knowledge of mathematics and basic skills in science and technology;
– Knowledge of digital technology;
– Learning how to learn;
– Communicating in a foreign language.
The different measures for acquiring these key competencies or basic skills are aimed specifically at the most disadvantaged groups who do not have diplomas and who struggle to enter the labour market; young people without qualifications will therefore have priority.
The term “special skills” covers the knowhow and qualifications corresponding to a profession or specific training course. Several schemes and actors play an important role in the skill development :
Such skills are listed in Pôle Emploi’s Operational Directory of Trades and Jobs (Répertoire opérationnel des métiers et des emplois). A little over 10,000 trade and job appellations are described via 531 career information sheets.
They are also to be found in the National Directory of Professional Certifications (See Glossary), which compiles updated information on professional diplomas and credentials as well as qualification certificates.
These directories, which are available to everyone, provide full information on the skills required to access certain jobs as well as on training courses enabling development of such skills (National Directory of Certifications). They also facilitate human resources management , GPEC and professional mobilities. For managers of vocational and education training courses, such skills enable definition of training-course content and knowledge, and their consequent development among young people. In-school and professional young people are increasingly required to make the utmost of the special skills they acquire during their higher educational studies or traineeships to ensure their professional integration.
In November 2015, Pôle Emploi also launched a series of online training programmes, of MOOCs ( Massive Open Online Courses ), one of which, “ constructing your professional project (construire son projet professionnel)", focuses on making best use of professional skills, and is designed to help people identify one or more professions in line with their skills and interests, as well as such professions’ situation on the labour market.
Establishment of Higher education
Establishment of Higher education have also developed tools enabling young people to develop and make best use of their skills, including Portfolios of Experience and Competences (PECs – portefeuilles d’expériences et de compétences), which have been integrated into 28 French universities.
The PEC – Portfolio of Experience and Competences (portefeuille d’expériences et de compétences) is a digital tool that compiles and maps all the experience and skills of students. It also aims to make the utmost of their educational paths and training, and contribute to young people’s career guidance. The PEC, which is used throughout a young person’s training, enables young people to assess their knowledge (knowhow) and construct their career plans.
The portfolio is a personal and confidential interactive digital resource booklet set up on students’ digital workspaces (ENTs - espaces numériques de travail) and composed of:
- A full description of their experience (vocational and academic training, salaried and leisure activities, etc.),
- A database of their skills, which they can modify, sort and hierarchize,
- Documentary resources: reflection sheets and project construction sheets,
- Practical tools to aid professional integration: CV models, interview guide, etc.
The PEC is a project initiated by universities (Grenoble 1, Poitiers, and Toulouse 1 and 3) and which has won support from such institutional bodies as the Youth Experimentation Fund (FEJ – Fonds d’expérimentation pour la jeunesse), which, in 2009, funded the experiment at thirteen universities in the context of a call for proposals. The FEJ has participated in the setup a number of experimental skills development schemes as well as in evaluation of the skills booklets introduced by the Ministry of National Education.
The non-formal education sector and skills development
Moreover, the education and non-formal/informal learning sector is progressively implementing “socially” and potentially professional skills development programme projects. This “approach by competence” (APC - approche par compétence) is given concrete expression through creation of skills repositories and booklets. For example, the Animafac students’ association has introduced the “skills portfolio”; a tool enabling identification of skills acquired via voluntary experience and raising awareness of the contribution that voluntary commitment can make in terms of knowhow and “soft skills”, which are useful in professional situations as well as when looking for a job.
Besides schemes specifically designed for young people, it is also possible for all employees to make “skills audits” (bilans de compétences). These are career development tools aiming to identify professional skills and take stock of an individual’s professional development. A skills audit is requested:
- At the initiative of the worker committed to a professional development initiative;
- Or at the employee’s initiative in the context of a special leave of absence (skills audit leave);
- Or at the employer’s suggestion with the employee’s agreement, in the context of a company training plan.”
There are also measures that aim to encourage the development of skills through vocational training, for example, the professional/personal training account.
Personal Training Account
Set up at the beginning of 2015 and modified by the law n ° 2018-771 of September 5, 2018 for the freedom to choose one's professional future, the Personal Training Account is an account supplied in euros usable by any employee, any throughout his active life, to follow a qualifying training.
The Personal Training Account (CPF – Compte Personnel de Formation) is a new vocational training scheme enabling employees (under private law) and jobseekers to follow training programmes in order to develop new professional skills. All workers aged 16 and over have the use of a CPF account throughout their careers; it is provisioned with euros usable for attending training courses. Among other things, such courses, developed by social partners at interprofessional, national, regional and professional sector level, enable obtainment of a diploma, job title or certification attesting to crosscutting skills exercised in the context of a job.
Forum and events
Complementing these skills development schemes, a wide range of public events presenting vocational training offers, as well as different career paths and the special skills they require, are held throughout France, organised by employment operators such as Pôle Emploi.
Many of these forums are aimed at young people, such as the “Salon Jeunes d’avenir”, (“Youth of the Future fairs”) and the “journées jobs d’été” summer job fairs.
The 2018-2022 Skills Investment Plan
The Ministry of Labor has implemented the Skills Investment Plan (CIP) 2018-2022 which aims to fight against mass unemployment. The plan aims to train one million low-skilled young people and one million low-skilled, long-term jobseekers, through skills-building, including digital skills and the implementation of tools to develop training opportunities such as the call for projects “100% inclusion”.
The call for projects 100% inclusion
The 100% inclusion call for projects was launched in June 2018 by the Minister in charge of Labor and the High Commissioner for Skills Transformation to support experiments for training the least qualified people, particularly in the territories marked by inequalities. It must foster new territorial partnerships, collaborations between training organizations, companies, associations and local authorities.
Both private and public structures can apply. Expected projects must implement "integrated pathways from“remobilization” of beneficiaries to access to employment or sustainable activity". Young people and low-skilled jobseekers, particularly residents in the most disadvantaged areas, as well as people with disabilities are a targeted public through the call for projects. The initial allocation for this call for projects is 40M €.