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Book Sections Year : 2022

Alternance Training as a Way to Improve the Attractivity of Vocational Education Programmes in France

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Abstract

During the twentieth century, France progressively set up and generalised a predominantly school-based vocational education system, meaning that most young people were trained in schools and separately from workplaces. This approach did not seem to pose any problems during the period of strong economic growth in the post-war period. However, it encountered increasing difficulties from the end of the 1970s onwards, with the first economic crises leading to high youth unemployment. In the difficult economic periods that followed, employers often complained about the fact that education was too disciplinary and failed to adequately prepare graduates to engage effectively in work situations Secondary vocational education was also being drained of its brightest pupils, with education policies encouraging young people to engage in studies that provide direct access to and higher chances of success in higher education. As a result of this ‘diploma inflation’ or ‘credential creep’ process, esteem deteriorated considerably towards both secondary vocational training programmes and the trades accessible via diplomas specific to this field of education. Pupils in these courses are increasingly those who failed in general educational courses, thereby making vocational education a second-class education choice. To address the politically explosive issue of the lack of engagement among a significant proportion of young people, public authorities have sought to make vocational education more effective in terms of labour market integration and of greater prestige among young people. Among these means, ‘alternance training’, understood as a pedagogical method combining periods of training in school and periods of training in the workplace has emerged. This is seen as a way to improve the credibility of training courses with employers and enhance their attractiveness for young people. Various measures have been taken over the last 20 years to promote alternance training in vocational education. But several studies show that these measures have not really improved the attractivity and prestige of secondary vocational training but benefit higher education courses much more.
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hal-03919934 , version 1 (03-01-2023)

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Laurent Veillard. Alternance Training as a Way to Improve the Attractivity of Vocational Education Programmes in France. The Standing of Vocational Education and the Occupations It Serves. Current Concerns and Strategies For Enhancing That Standing, 32, Springer International Publishing, pp.139-158, 2022, Professional and Practice-based Learning, 978-3-030-96237-1. ⟨10.1007/978-3-030-96237-1_7⟩. ⟨hal-03919934⟩
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