The publication contributes to the work of the thematic working group on the professional development of trainers in vocational education and training, which the European Commission set up in 2012 and jointly coordinates with Cedefop. Download Trainers in continuing VET: emerging competence profile.
The European Union will not resume growth driven by higher productivity and innovation without highly skilled workers who can contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship (European Commission; Danish Technological Institute, 2012). Companies do not only need new skills, the right competences and innovative thinking; where appropriate, the existing workforce must constantly update their knowledge, skills and competences to meet new demands and future changes. Training at the workplace plays an important role and is increasingly recognised as an efficient way to equip people with transversal and job-specific skills. It also contributes to the European 2020 headline target stipulating that, by 2020, 15% of the population aged 25 to 64 should participate in lifelong learning.
The quality and competences of trainers in continuing vocational training (CVET) and adult learning, as a condition for ensuring high quality workplace training, have been among the strategic objectives of European cooperation in vocational education and training (VET) (Council of the EU; European Commission, 2010). Enterprises in Europe believe that the EU can potentially play an important role in promoting competence development in enterprises and in ensuring better quality trainers (European Commission; Danish Technological Institute, 2012).
In this publication, Cedefop looks at examples of initiatives set up in the Member States on developing competence requirements for trainers in continuing vocational training and adult learning. Based on this analysis, an emerging competence profile of a trainer is proposed. We believe that this work can be a starting point towards establishing a competence profile of trainers, which has just been called for by the European Commission (European Commission, 2012).
This publication will also provide an input to the work of the thematic working group on the professional development of trainers in VET, launched by the European Commission in 2012. Cedefop jointly coordinates the group and provides its expertise towards developing guiding principles for the continuing professional development of trainers, one of the objectives of the Bruges communiqué. Christian F. Lettmayr, Acting Director. Download Trainers in continuing VET: emerging competence profile.
2.1.6. Qualification of a professional trainer of adults, France
The Association for the vocational training of adults (Association pour la formation professionnelle des adultes, AFPA) is one of the main providers of continuous professional training in France. AFPA training courses lead to a recognised vocational qualification, titre professionnel (TP). The qualification of a professional trainer of adults (Formateur/trice professionnel(le) d’adultes, TP FPA) has existed since 1997. It has to be revised every five years as part of quality assurance and was last revised in 2008. It is a broad occupational category essentially defined by trainers who ‘contribute, through their pedagogical and technical expertise, to the social and professional development of individuals and help them to access/maintain professional activity and/or employment’.
As with other AFPA qualifications, that for professional trainers of adults:
(a) includes a list of competences grouped into main domains of activity which correspond to independent certificates of professional skills and competences (certificat de compétences professionnelles, CCP). Two types of activities have been identified for the profession of a trainer of adults, corresponding to two CCPs that together form the TP FPA: CCP preparation and facilitation of training (préparer et animer des actions de formation) and CCP contributing to the elaboration of training and supporting learners on their learning paths (contribuer à l’élaboration de dispositifs et accompagner des parcours de formation);
(b) is registered in the national repertory of qualifications;
(c) is awarded by competent authorities at regional level (DIRECCTE) under the authority of the Ministry of Employment;
(d) can be either obtained through participation in a training course in AFPA campuses or through the nationally recognised procedure of validation of non-formal and informal learning (validation des acquis de l’expérience, VAE).
The competence framework is based on two documents regularly produced by the AFPA:
(a) the occupation, activities and competence framework (référentiel emploi, activités compétences, REAC), a report produced every five years by a specialised service within the AFPA in cooperation with a network of professional trainers of adults and experts in training course design (including representatives of in-company trainers) and taking into account sectoral dialogue developments. The report is then validated in working groups with social partners representing the sector, experts, Ministry representatives, etc. The document maps new developments in the profession, classifies the typical/main activities of trainers of adults and establishes the list of required competences for each of these activities. The latest update was in 2008;
(b) the certification framework (référentiel de certification, RC), developed on the basis of the REAC, a detailed description of the competences for each main activity and corresponding evaluation methods and standards/thresholds.
The RC is also validated by a tripartite commission, which includes representatives of the employers, trade unions, the ministries in charge of employment, education and industry and the CEREQ, Centre of Studies on Qualifications. The latest update took place in 2009. Target group The TP FPA and its competence framework are relevant for various categories of trainers including in-company staff. In the context of TP FPA, candidates can be:
(a) individuals, including in-company trainers, who seek to improve their qualification and, potentially, employment prospects;
(b) individuals supported by their employer, in most cases, as part of the company’s training plan, and using their individual right for training and training leave;
(c) groups of in-company trainers from the same company/training centre in the so-called ‘collective’ VAE supported by an employer.
In order to qualify, trainers must have a proven relevant professional experience of at least three years (including unpaid but relevant activities).
Main approach and activities
The TP FPA is accessible through AFPA representations in all regions of France, with several AFPA campuses. The AFPA provides information to potential candidates at local, regional and national levels and offers support to in-company trainers who wish to apply. Specialised VAE counsellors help candidates choose an appropriate qualification, reflect on and present their professional experience and prepare for the assessment. Guidance is provided in the form of collective workshops of 10 hours.
A candidate prepares a portfolio describing his/her professional experience, activities and acquired competences (dossier de synthèse de pratique professionnelle) and a written report on the specific training scheme that led him/her to develop the competences in question. A jury of professionals in the field then analyses the two and also interviews the candidate.
Candidates usually apply for the full qualification but the two CCP’s that comprise it can be awarded independently depending on the candidates’ competences. If only one CCP is awarded (the partial validation), it remains valid for five years, during which the candidate can undertake further training needed for the other CCP or can continue to acquire necessary professional experience and get it reassessed later.
The procedure requires a high level of candidate commitment and involvement, as it is based on reflection and self-assessment and is timeconsuming. The experience points to the need for more guidance and preparatory meetings with the candidates.
The AFPA regularly monitors developments in the sector through qualitative surveys, interviews and consultation to assess and maintain the relevance of the competence frameworks.
The competence framework of the TP FPA serves as a reference point for developing the course curriculum leading to the qualification and for evaluating candidate aptitudes at the final exam or in the VAE process. The framework is not sector specific; it focuses on general competences and pedagogical expertise rather than on technical competence.
Each of the two certificates of professional competences in the TP FPA has requirements specific to one of the main activities. There are also transversal competence requirements common to both.
(a) CCP preparation and facilitation of training:
• devising a training programme based on the demand and context;
• elaborating a pedagogical scenario and preparing necessary materials, equipment and venue for the training;
• evaluating learning outcomes: measuring learner achievements against the objectives; analysing results and developing new actions if needed;
• identifying and dealing with individual obstacles to learning; identifying the preferred learning modes of groups and learners and adapting the pedagogy accordingly;
• assessing and following up on the training;
• using ICT tools to support learning;
• teamwork, conflict management, communication.
(b) CCP contributing to the elaboration of training and supporting learners on their learning paths:
• identifying and mobilising stakeholders in developing a training path (for example, guidance professionals, companies/employers, members of the evaluation jury, experts);
• contributing to detailing training activities within existing or new training programmes; adapting to the specific requirements, context, resources and/or developing necessary pedagogical materials and tools;
• guiding learners in their professional integration and projects by identifying skill and competence gaps and devising the means to fill them;
• following up learner progress by contributing to their assessment and elaboration of learning paths; defining steps in the learning pathways; helping identify difficulties and acting as a mediator if problems are beyond the trainers’ responsibilities;
• identifying the objective of the training; gathering quantitative and qualitative information; evaluating the training against the objectives; preparing reports on the results of the training;
• awareness of job search techniques.
(c) Transversal competences common for both CCPs:
• managing logistical aspects of training (material, administrative and pedagogical resources);
• collecting updated information on pedagogic, technical, commercial, socio-economic and legal aspects related to training and applying it to training strategies and practice;
• using opportunities to contact companies to clarify training needs;
• self-assessment of professional practice, continuous development of personal competences;
• social and professional responsibility: respecting health and safety regulations, encouraging non-discriminatory attitudes, raising awareness of learners about sustainable development, citizenship, consumption.
Link to the validation of non-formal and informal learning
The qualification can be obtained through the validation of non-formal and informal learning and has the same value as those obtained through a training course: about a quarter of candidates qualify this way.
In 2010, 760 candidates obtained the adult trainer qualification, among them 563 through a training programme and 197 through the validation of prior experience. There are no data on the breakdown of participants by categories. However, it is assumed that this opportunity is of interest to incompany trainers who often do not have a qualification in training but have developed relevant skills and competences in their work.
According to the AFPA, and based on the qualitative feedback they receive from participants, in-company trainers undergoing validation benefit by acquiring a recognised qualification, which helps them secure, improve or expand their employment and career prospects, and by reflecting on their professional practice as a trainer and increasing awareness of their skills and competences.
As the AFPA employs trainers of adults, the organisation developed internal plans to ensure that the AFPA ‘in-house’ trainers had their professional experience recognised, thus, raising the quality of the services provided.