Ministry of Labour now have the wind in their sails. The number of people obtaining such qualifications has doubled in 10 years. Well recognised by employers, these qualifications are a good passport into employment. Their modular design makes them precursors of units of competence.

The French certification system is complex. Compared with other European countries, one of its specific features is that it is largely state regulated. Many ministries play a part in it. Existing alongside the qualifications awarded within the national education system and the burgeoning system of sectoral qualifications, the vocational qualifications issued by the Ministry of Labour now have the wind in their sails. The number of people obtaining such qualifications has doubled in 10 years. Well recognised by employers, these qualifications
are a good passport into employment. Their modular design makes them precursors of units of competence.

Alongside the qualifications awarded within the national education system and the vocational training certificates issued at sector level, the vocational qualifications issued by the Ministry of Labour (MoL) occupy an unobtrusive but growing place within the certification system. Thus the number of people obtaining such qualifications has more than doubled in ten years.

In 2017, three quarters of the 183,000 candidates for the MoL qualifications were successful, the vast majority of them job seekers; 69% of those obtaining the qualifications had found a job six months afterwards. The certificates issued by the MoL constitute a wide-ranging sphere made up of more than 250 vocational qualifications, which are regularly updated and encompass a wide range of occupations, although there is an emphasis on service-sector specialties. Ranging from level V to II of the French national qualifications framework, the training courses leading to award of the qualifications are targeted at the lower levels of the framework before rising gradually to the higher levels, thereby emulating the process of upgrading qualifications and jobs and upskilling the working population. A qualitative survey conducted by Céreq provides a broad picture of the uses to which the MoL qualifications are put by the actors in the labour market, in training and in enterprises and their perceptions of their value. At a time when the decrees implementing the new legislation on ‘the freedom to choose one’s professional future’ are awaited, this survey offers an opportunity to investigate the way in which the actors on the ground are appropriating the MoL’s certification arrangement.