The French VET system

The French VET system is composed of the general educational system (general education) and of the vocational training system for lifelong learning.

The general educational system consist of :

  • Primary education which contains primary schools, including nursery schools
  • Secondary education which is divided into two cycles

Colleges which are actual secondary schools account for the first cycle and usually concern children aged between 11 and 15. A second cycles comprising :

  • General and technological educational establishments (lycées)
  • Vocational institutions such as Apprentice training centres, or other technical colleges that prepare for vocational baccalaureates or certificates of vocational ability (CAP)
  • Higher education including the "Grandes écoles" and the universities where studies are organized consistently with the Barcelona Process borne three-cycle architecture, LMD


Parallel to general education, learners can access the vocational training system for lifelong learning which contains :

  • Initial vocational training bearing school attendance on a full-time basis
  • Ongoing vocational training which relates to learners who have completed initial vocational training and are already acting workers of the labor market

The overall French VET system operates on the basis of competences shared between the French State (Ministries of Education, Higher Education, Employment, Agriculture, and of Social Affairs etc.), the Regions, VET training providers and social partners who are all involved in the design of training curricula, programmes, standards etc.

List of references

Link : French National Committee of Vocational certification (CNCP) website :