9. French Lycée - Upper Secondary School

  1. Types of Lycée
  2. General/Technological Lycée
  3. Vocational/Professional Lycée
  4. Baccaulaureate Exam
  5. School Choice

9.3. Lycée Professionnel - Vocational Lycée in France

Despite the favoured status of the general baccalaureate in France there are a wealth of opportunities to undertake good quality vocational training, either at a vocational lycée or an apprentice training centre linked to industry, called a Centre de Formation d’Apprentis (CFA).

Indeed, the government are making renewed efforts to improve the status of vocational lycées and increase the number of children taking apprenticeships. This is as part of a strategy of reducing the level of unemployment amongst young people and fill labour shortages in some sectors.

The strategy seems to be working, for the number of pupils opting for a vocational education is on the increase. In large measure, this is because many young people see it as a route to later being able to run their own business.

Some of the lycées have been renamed Lycée de Metiers to reflect their increased status, the desire of the government for greater fluidity in the lycée system, and to make greater provision for training and re-training of the adult population.

In a vocational lycée most students can either prepare for the Certificate d’Aptitude Professionelle (CAP) or the Brevet d’Etudes Professionelles (BEP). They may also study for a Brevet des métiers/ d'art (BTM or BMA) or a Mention Complementaire (MC).

The BEP is more demanding and theoretical than a CAP, and can lead to further study for a vocational baccalaureate called a Baccalauréate Professionnel.

The BEP is gradually being phased out in favour of a Baccalauréate Professionnel, which is studied over three years instead of four years as was previously the case.

There are over 200 CAP courses that can be followed, as well as around 50 vocational baccalaureates. The choice is vast, although not all are taught in all schools.

Those attending a vocational lycée do so for two years during which they will spend 12-16 weeks work experience outside of the lycée.

Those pursuing their studies through an apprenticeship centre will spend a large part of their time in industry and will be paid a wage, linked to the national minimum wage. Studies can take place mainly in schools or specific placement as an apprentice.


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