Work-study training is a key measure in the fight against youth unemployment, improving the professional integration of the least qualified among them. The latest work-study reform, resulting from the law of September 5, 2018 for the freedom to choose the professional future, has profoundly changed its management and funding. The financial jurisdictions elaborate a first evaluation of these measures at the national level, which illustrate from surveys carried out in five regions.
Encouraged by the exceptional aid paid to student employers from summer 2020, the unprecedented growth of apprenticeship placements – +98% since 2019 – has mainly concerned post-baccalaureate training, aimed at students who are however less worried by difficulties of integration in the labor market than young people with CAP or baccalaureate level.
This boom has led to more than a doubling of associated expenses, which should reach 11.3 billion euros in 2021, largely at the origin of the financial impasse that is currently experienced by the training system and professional training.
Despite its scope and cost, the development of work-study training (with almost 800,000 new contracts in 2021) does not provide sufficient answers to young people in vulnerable situations, nor to companies facing recruitment difficulties and does not allow enough to take into account the specific needs of the territories.
The financial jurisdictions formulate ten recommendations in their report and in particular invite the public authorities to draw up a national strategy for work-study including coherent objectives and funding methods.
In parallel with this inquiry, the Court of Contact verified the skills of France, a public establishment created on January 1, 2019 in particular to ensure the regulation and financing of professional training and work-study. From the first year, the establishment saw its financial situation deteriorate; the growing difficulties observed in 2020 and 2021 are mainly due to the lack of resources to finance the development of apprenticeships and the personal training account, a shortage aggravated by the consequences of the health crisis. The dynamics of the apprenticeship and the personal training account (CPF), which constitute the two main items of expenditure for the skills of France, should continue in 2022, putting the establishment in a worrying situation.
By 2020, the operator had a deficit of 4.6 billion euros. Despite the exceptional subsidies paid by the State for 2.75 billion euros, the deficit will finally be 3.2 billion euros in 2021 and could approach 5.9 billion euros in 2022 without new exceptional measures of the State (for an estimated turnover of 9.6 billion euros). Faced with the magnitude of the financial imbalance, the means of regulation available from the establishment show their limits; the situation of the operator requires strong measures on the part of the State to control expenses and adjust revenues.
To consolidate the financing of the establishment and, more generally, the 2018 reform, the State must define, with the establishment, a multi-year financial trajectory adapted to the strategic choices and leading to the restoration of the financial situation.
To do this, we need to mobilize several levers of action, such as lowering the funding levels of apprenticeship contracts and tightening the personal training account for the most qualified training courses. It also wants to better proportion the amount of the financial contribution of the skills of France in favor of the training of job candidates.
The Court makes four recommendations in its summary on France’s competences.