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EACEA National Policies Platform


3. Employment & Entrepreneurship

3.4 Career guidance and counselling

Last update: 11 January 2021
On this page
  1. Career guidance and counselling services
  2. Funding
  3. Quality assurance


Career guidance and counselling services


Provision of information, guidance and accompaniment in the context of professional integration is a national and territorial (local authority) mission, defined by the State, coordinated by regions and implemented in local areas by a range of public operators and private partners (associations).

Since the Law no.2009-1437 of 24 November 2009 “bearing on professional information, guidance and qualification”everyone has the right to be informed and advised on vocational guidance.

The article 1 of this law confirms the existence of “a right to information, guidance and professional qualification” aiming to “enable each person to acquire and update knowledge and skills favouring their professional development”. It confers French Regions with increased competences in the field of guidance and information, due in particular to their competences with regard to vocational and continuing training.


The Regional Public Guidance Service  (SPRO - service public régional d’orientation)

The Law no. 2014-288 of 5 March 2014 “bearing on vocational training, employment and social democracy " introduces the Regional Public Guidance Service (SPRO - service public régional d’orientation), which reaffirms the right of all people to be “informed, advised and accompanied throughout their lives with regard to professional orientation”. The SPRO, which was introduced across the whole country on 1st January 2015, aims to simplify and clarify the various actors and offers of accompaniment and guidance towards employment, as France has a whole range of information structures and services that require greater visibility and coherence.

The law n ° 2018-771 of September 5, 2018 "for the freedom to choose one's professional future" modifies the SPRO.It entrusts the regions with the organization of information actions on jobs and trainings at regional, national and European levels for students and their families, apprentices and students.

For example, the regional public advice service (service public régional de l’orientation, SPRO) of the Centre-Val de Loire region that is aimed at young people “in training, as well as employees, jobseekers and those changing career” brings together a variety of actors in professional integration:

  • Pôle emploi (job centre),
  • Cap emploi (national network of employment organisations that specialise in helping those with disabilities)
  • Local missions
  • Association pour l’emploi des cadres (Association for hiring executives, APEC),
  • Centres d’information et d’orientation (Information and Advice Centres, CIO),
  • Information jeunesse network (Youth information network, CRIJ, BIJ, PIJ),
  • Services d’information et d’orientation des universités (University Information and Advice Services, SUIO),
  • Centres d’aide à la décision des Chambres de Métiers et de l'Artisanat (Decision-Making Advisory Centres for Chambers of Trade and Craft Industries, CAD-CMA),
  • Points Chambres de commerce et d’industrie (Centres for Chambers of Commerce and Industry, CCI),
  • Points Information Conseil en Validation des acquis (Information Advice Centres for Accreditation of Volunteer Experience, PIC VAE),
  • Centre Ressources Information Accompagnement pour le développement des compétences de base (Information Resource Centres for Support in Developing Basic Skills, CRIA).


Counseling in professional evolution

In addition, all the people in employment, irrespective of their status, and age, from entry into working life to retirement, can benefit voluntarily from the scheme of  “Counseling in professional evolution” (CEP) implemented in 2014.

This is a free and personalized support measure that allows to build and formalize with the employee or the job seeker his project of evolution or professional transition. Four national operators deliver the CEP: Pôle Emploi, the network of local missions (See Glossary), Cap Emploi and APEC.


Career guidance for young people

The work of some professional support organisations is aimed specifically at young people. They can be part of organisational networks of regional public advice services;

The information and advice centres (CIO) are aimed at qualified young people as a priority. The CIOs report to the Ministry of National Education. They are established across the entire territory. The role of CIOs consists of promoting:

  • “The welcome of all members of the public and, as a priority, young people of school age and their families”
  • “Information on studying, vocational training, qualifications and occupations”.
  • “Bespoke advice”.
  • “The observation and analysis of local modifications in education systems and developments on the job market and the production of summary documents for educational teams or pupils”.
  • “Organising discussions and reflections between partners in the education system, parents, young people, local decision-makers and economic players”.


University Information and Advice Services (SCUIO)

The SCUIOs are organisations established in universities that offer students essential documentation and a range of information services on university teachings, advice on course choice and help with entering work.


Local missions

Local missions are non-profit organisations that are responsible for helping young people between 16 and 25 years old. They help young people by offering them services related to employment, training, accommodation, health, sports and leisure. Local missions play an important role in the social inclusion of young people, especially those who are faced with financial and social difficulties.


Information Jeunesse youth information network

These 1,300 organisations provide information to young people on a national, regional and local scale with regard to all topics that concern employment (day-to-day life, training, employment, leisure, health, accommodation, etc.).



Guarantee for youth

In France, the " Guarantee for Youth " policy is therefore part of the dynamic of the European Youth Guarantee decided by the European Commission, which aims to rapidly propose solutions to young people coming out of the education system.

The Guarantee for Youth aims to support young NEETs in vulnerable situations by enabling them to gain professional experience over a 12-month period through training/support measures and a financial allowance. Support and counseling which are at the  core of the scheme.

The French public employment service (Pôle emploi) works closely with local stakeholders to identify and select NEETs who would benefit most from taking part in the Guarantee for Youth. Young people who accept to take part in the measure are mentored by a dedicated counselor over a 12-month period in order to find appropriate workplace experience and improve their employability and workplace skills.





Depending on the type of organisation (associations) and measures, the employment information and support bodies for young people and pupils will use funding from the national government (Ministry of Employment, Education and Higher Education) and regional authorities, particularly the region, as well as European funds. This funding is most frequently based on signed agreements between the State, the organisation and territorial authorities, such as local missions.

Local missions

The funding for local missions that support young people in difficulty, in particular, is provided by the State (Ministry of Employment) as part of signing the multi-year agreement of objectives. This type of funding is also supplemented by support loans for young people as part of the “Garantie Jeunes” guarantee.  The “Garantie Jeunes” funding is also provided by the initiative for youth employment, which is a financial grant added to the European Social Fund.




Quality assurance


There are several methods for evaluating the measures and organisations for professional integration: internal administrative evaluations, studies created by study consultancies or academic laboratories, as well as satisfaction surveys created by (survey) consultancies. Evaluations are either regular or created on a more ad-hoc basis depending on the organisation. In most cases, these evaluations result in reports and studies that, in particular, tend to suggest improvements.


SPRO  (regional public employment advice service)

The evaluation of regional public employment advice services (see SPRO 3.4) is given in the specifications established between the national government and the region (territorial authority). The evaluation should focus on the organisation plan, its management and its results. It must make it possible to identify levers for improving the service provided to actors and to SPRO beneficiaries, as well as realigning the SPRO organisation, if necessary.


Pôle emploi (job centre)

The Pôles emplois (cf. 3.2) also contribute to monitoring and better understanding professional integration policies by producing their own figures. It has an evaluation committee, appointed from the board of directors at the Pôle emploi in compliance with Law No. 2008-126 of 13 February 2008 on the organisational reform of the public employment service. Its task is to evaluate “the interventions, offer of services, supports and measures for companies, jobseekers and occupied persons” offered by the Pôle emploi and, more specifically, by assessing “their relevance, their effectiveness and their efficiency”.

 These evaluations focus on the activities, service offers, measures, benefits and organisations at the Pôle emploi, as well as on employers, workers and intermediaries in the labour market. The evaluations are the subject of publications that appear in collections such as “Eclairages et synthèse” (Perspectives and summaries) and “Études et recherches” (Studies and research).

These studies are carried out based on questionnaires that are aimed at jobseekers at several points in time:

  • Following their registration interview;
  • Following their first interview with their specialist advisor;
  • Then regularly as part of the follow-up.