Cost of training puts French workers off vocational training

A recent survey conducted by Randstad, a specialist in temporary work, almost went unnoticed in the French press, even though it highlights the problems related to vocational training at a time when the various major players in the sector have been mobilized to reform the system.

Based on a sample of nearly 6,500 people representing the French labour force, this survey highlights the lack of interest in France in vocational training and offers a preliminary explanation of why vocational training is struggling to take off in the country.

High cost of training hinders its development

Completed at the end of 2017, the report notes that only 36% of French employees had completed a continuous training course during the year. This figure, based on the PIAAC survey (program for the international evaluation of adults), places France 26th out of 33 OECD countries in terms of vocational training, lagging behind the Nordic countries where participation levels reach 65%, almost twice as much as France.

According to the results put forward by Randstad in the survey, the main reason that discourages the French from participating in vocational training actions during their career is the excessive cost of training, with 39% of respondents citing this as the major factor in their reluctance to participate in vocational training courses.

However, this explanation does not convince everyone, not least François Béharel, President of Randstad France. Mr Béharel claims that this result is misleading as French employees already benefit from their Personal Training Account (CPF) and also have various schemes and organisms at their disposal which contribute towards their training costs. These schemes and organisms can also be complementary while the funding modalities are relatively expensive, even if the training is long-term.

Other explanations for the lack of interest of the French

Other notable reasons for the lack of enthusiasm for vocational training courses cited by the interviewees included  personal organization problems ( such as distance from training centres, personal situation, …) which was mentioned by 33% of the respondents, while a disconcerting 32% of respondents stated that they simply were unaware of their rights regarding vocational training.

This statistic may lead us to wonder whether the low training rate is not simply due to the lack of interest, confidence or motivation of the potential beneficiaries. In any case, many citizens are not yet aware of the mechanisms that are in place to help them and think that vocational training is an often long and complex process.

To remedy this, it will be necessary to carry out a long-term project to engage the country in the way of “training throughout life”, as outlined in the framework document of the future project of training reform currently under government consideration. At a time when there is a skills gap in many sectors and employers are often struggling to recruit profiles that meet the needs of vacant positions, it seems time to look into the problem.