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EACEA National Policies Platform


6. Education and Training

6.9 Awareness-raising about non-formal and informal learning and quality youth work

Last update: 1 February 2024
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  1. Information providers / counselling structures
  2. Awareness raising initiatives

Information providers / counselling structures


In France, the term “youth work” does not have a single definition and refers to a variety of actions and administrative contexts. Non-formal education is in most cases associated with youth work or “animation” (facilitation), the definition of which is not unequivocal.


According to the professional nomenclature established by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques) “ 

According to the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE - Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques), youth work “aims to bring about the social integration of certain categories of the population [including young people] and improve social relations between their members, and, more generally, promote cultural life in a community”.

The youth work sector has seen many changes over the years, in particular as regards the training and qualification of youth workers, accompanied by greater visibility of the youth work sector.

 Specialised websites and facilitator forums as well as institutional websites, such as those of local authorities or ministries, promote activities and training courses in the field of non-formal education.

They disseminate information on the programmes, schemes and opportunities in this area which is complementary to formal education. 

Vocational and educational information, counselling and guidance structures such as the National Office of Information on Studies and Profession (Office national d'information sur les enseignements et les professions, ONISEP), also provide information about the professions and programmes of non-formal education.

Among institutional websites, the website of the ministry in charge of Youth promotes activities and schemes in the field of non-formal education (for example holiday camps) as well the Facilitator’s Certificate of Aptitude (Brevet d’Aptitude aux Fonctions d’Animateur, BAFA), a non-professional diploma required for the supervision of children and adolescents during their holidays or leisure time (and the management of structures for the Director’s Certificate of Aptitude (brevet de directeur, BAFD).

In addition, in order to provide information on the possibilities of youth work (animation) and non-formal education, the ministry in charge of youth supports the Centre for Youth Information and Documentation (Centre d'Information et de Documentation Jeunesse, CIDJ), a youth information space which welcomes all young people, whatever their situation, without an appointment and free of charge.

The CIDJ informs and advises young people in all areas including non-formal learning (volunteering, youth work / animation, etc.). This centre is part of a national network composed of +1,000 Info Jeunes (Youth Information) structures.


For more information on fostering youth work, see Youth Wiki 10. Youth work and especially 10.4. Quality and innovation in youth work.


Awareness raising initiatives


Awareness campaigns on informal and non-formal training are generally implemented by associations and operators in this field who thereby make their activities known.

However, the ministry in charge of youth has created the BAFA - BAFD (Director’s Certificate of Aptitude) mobile site for tablets or smartphones on which 800,000 candidates have registered and 13 million views have been recorded. This website is designed for young people wishing to work in the non-formal education sector, in particular youth work / animation (supervision of holiday and leisure centres during school holidays or out-of-school periods). It provides information on animation professions.

For further information on the promotion of animation and non-formal education, see Youth Wiki 10. Youth work and especially Youth Wiki 10.7. Raising awareness about youth work