DISSEMINATION OF THE COPENHAGEN PROCESS AND ITS INITIAL OUTCOMES
DEVELOPING AN OPEN AND FLEXIBLE EUROPEAN FRAMEWORK FOR QUALIFICATIONS
30th June 2006
Action Points from the CCA-BTP
1. The CCCA-BTP
a. What is the CCCA-BTP?
The CCCA-BTP (Central Committee for the coordination of apprenticeships in
building and public works) is a joint professional organization run by both
employers' and employees' federations. For its part, the State is represented on the
CCCA-BTP Committee by a government commissioner (from the Ministry of
Education) and a State inspector (from the Ministry of Economics and Finance).
b. What is the mission of the CCCA-BTP?
The CCCA-BTP's mission is to coordinate the system of initial education based
on apprenticeships for future professionals working in the building and public
works industries. Since it was set up in 1947, the network of 100 centres for training
apprentices (CFA-BTP) has provided training for 1.5 million young people in building
and public works trades (BTP). Forty five thousand companies in this sector now
employ around 60,000 apprentices every year. This makes BTP the first sector in
France to invest in training for young people in these trades.
This mission is carried out in close collaboration with the regional councils (who also
fund apprenticeships in France) in particular through local and regional authorities in
2. THE CCCA-BTP AND BTP TRAINING: APPRENTICESHIPS
The competence of the CCCA-BTP relates exclusively to the initial education of
young people through apprenticeships, the vocational entry route to a trade in
apprentices' training centres (CFAs). Continuing training for employees is therefore
outside the scope of its remit.
Initial education can also be pursued in a vocational school. Whether it involves an
apprenticeship or training in a vocational school, the diplomas studied for and awarded are
the same. Over 100 diplomas are offered in the special subjects cited below. In France,
there are five levels for diplomas:
- Level V: certificate of vocational skills, certificate of vocational studies
- Level IV: higher vocational certificate
- Level III: technician's certificate
higher technician's certificate
university diploma in technology
- Level II
- Level I.
The CFAs, the centres for initial training, award certificates (certified by the Ministry of
Education) but not professional qualifications. In this matter, a professional qualification
is a certification awarded by the Ministry of Employment and put together by the social
partners. This title proves that the holder masters the competences, skills and knowledge
required to carry out qualified professional activities. A professional qualification,
recognized by the profession concerned, is aimed at an adult group which has already
entered working life, whether they have a contract of employment or are looking for work.
Its aim, therefore, is to encourage the professional development of the title holder or to
facilitate his return to work. Finally, professional qualifications can be obtained through
continuing professional development and through validation of experiential knowledge.
As far as apprenticeships are concerned (funded by regional councils, companies, the
State, the European Union and young people's families), the CFAs prepare for each of the
mosaic tiler, etc
carpenter or wood manufacturer
road construction worker
builder - civil engineering
insulator for building trades
sanitary installation technician
heating installation technician
electrical systems fitter
The main difference between a vocational route and a technological route lies in the status
of the young people. While an apprenticeship confers the status of a waged employee on a
young person, with an apprenticeship contract signed by three partners (apprentice,
company and the CFA), young people in vocational schools retain an educational status.
Apprenticeships involve a combination of training in the workplace and in vocational
schools or training centres, organized over two years as a rule, and alternating
between three weeks working in a company and one week of training in the CFA.
However, the length and structure of the apprenticeship can vary according to each
apprentice (personal profile and previous career) and the qualification being taken. The
examination procedures at the end of the training period are specific to each type of
- For some qualifications, such as the Certificate of Vocational Skills (CAP), the
apprentice must complete a set number of tasks in the course of the apprenticeship
contract. This involves training assessments (CCF) which are made up of "assessments
in the company" and "assessments in the learning institution", with the marks received
being taken into account for the award of the qualification.
- For other qualifications, the apprentice must pass set papers, that is to say an
examination at the end of the training period.
It is within the framework of its overall strategy to improve the quality of apprenticeships
that the CCCA-BTP is developing European courses for young people (all 3 weeks in
length) with mobility projects, or European placements, in another country in Europe.
There are currently between 150 and 200 apprentices taking advantage of a placement.
The CCCA-BTP hopes that this will give every apprentice studying for a specialized
vocational diploma (at level IV) the option of benefiting from this mobility. This
presupposes that European mobility is fully included in the vocational training route for
apprentices and validated accordingly.
3. VOCATIONAL QUALIFICATIONS: FURTHER DETAILS
As regards work on diplomas, status and vocational certificates, the CCCA-BTP has
not been mandated by the social partners to become involved in these issues.
The qualifications are to an extent prepared within the Joint National Commission
for Employment in the Building and Public Works industries (hereafter CPNE-BTP).
Within its area of competence, the CPNE-BTP has a general remit to promote training
policy in the BTP sector (initial academic and vocational training, apprenticeship
contracts based on work/study, and ongoing training). The proposals to created new
qualifications fall within the authority of the Joint Consultative Commission (CPC)
of BTP, which also has competence according to trade. In this matter, the CPC-BTP will
take into account the qualitative development of trades. The quantitative side is the
responsibility of the Regional Observatories on Employment and Training. We should
remember here that the CCCA-BTP's responsibilities are only at the level of implementing
the strategies and priorities set by the CPNE-BTP.
The priorities of the CPNE-BTP have been driven by the acknowledgement on the one
hand of an increased training deficit, with one in two in the BTP sector having received no
training, and on the other hand, the numbers of young people in training not meeting the
needs of the industry even though the average age of BTP employees continues to rise.
Besides, the last agreements reached in the field of sectoral collective agreements devote
considerable attention to training, viewing it as a means of making trades attractive,
improving the image of the profession and attracting and retaining qualified young people.
They also aim to encourage career development, in particular by taking account of the
need for initial education. In addition the desire to develop assessment methods for
vocational knowledge and skills should help to enhance the value of diplomas, and
professional and other qualifications, which are recognized at national level and to which
the BTP industry is much attached. The assessment of training courses, recognition of
work-based knowledge, credit transfer systems and continuous assessment are
modernising methods of validation and recognition in initial and continuing training.1
Five priorities have been specified by the CPNE-BTP.2
1. To encourage recruitment of young people and waged employees
Difficulties in recruitment are becoming more pronounced in companies in the BTP
sector. The profession and its professional bodies will be contacting public institutions
so that young people and adults will be put in touch with companies offering
employment and training. Within this framework, real opportunities for advancement
in the BTP sector will have to be highlighted
2. To provide more training at all levels
In general the number of trained people entering the profession at all levels is
insufficient, both in initial and continuing training, as well as in training based on
qualifications or improvement (…). An expansion in training will take place through
an increase in the numbers flowing into levels IV and III.
3. To improve the quality of training
It is a question of taking the needs of companies and employees into account, by
making training content as appropriate as possible to real jobs, particularly at level V.
More research will be done on the validation of competences acquired (…).
4. To create loyalty in companies and within the profession.
The training routes made accessible to young people and employees are part of a long
term plan, along with a vocational approach rooted in solid initial training backed up
by continuing training and good career prospects (…).
5. To facilitate the implementation of training
Without adversely affecting the quality of training, ongoing adaptation of criteria,
methods and processes to the changes in the socio-economic environment of
companies will facilitate the implementation of priorities (…).
4. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON
VOCATIONAL CERTIFICATION (CNCP)
The CNCP (www.cncp.gouv.fr) was set up in 2002 under the law on social
modernization, and is under the authority of the Minister responsible for vocational
training. The CNCP is a commission made up of different ministries, professions and
institutions, with 16 ministerial representatives, 10 social partners, 3 elected
representatives of public chambers, 3 elected representatives from the regions, and 12
Extracts from the document "Priorities and directions in initial training and continuing training in the
BTP sector", CPNE-BTP, 7 February 1992.
qualified persons. These commissioners are nominated by the Prime Minister for a
renewable period of 5 years.
The mission of this commission is:
- To hear applications for enrolment and update the national directory of vocational
- To supervise changes and amendments to diplomas and status and follow
developments in qualifications and work organization,
- To issue recommendations for the attention of institutions awarding vocational
certifications or qualification certificates. It points out to individuals and companies
the possible correspondences (complete or partial) between certifications registered in
the national directory, as well as between these and other certifications, in particular
As far as "Transparency in Qualifications" is concerned, its application in the French
context articulates in a very restricted sense with the application of the law on social
modernization of 1 January 2002. In effect, the drafting of "supplements" for each
certification awarded infers a clear link with the proposed "Directory of Vocational
Certification" which was established by the law and decree of 26 April 2002 and is currently
being set up. In addition, the "reference point" which forms the linchpin of the system,
both internally at a national level and externally with other countries, comes within the
remit of the CNCP mission.