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3 questions for Arnaud Decagny

Arnaud Decagny, vice-pres­i­dent of the Région Hauts-de-France, in charge of appren­tice­ships, arti­sanat and dig­i­tal transformation.

Do you feel that the image of apprenticeships has changed in recent years? 

The image of appren­tice­ships has com­plete­ly changed with regard to the stu­dents them­selves. In 3 years, we have gone from 40 000 appren­tices in the Hauts-de-France to more than 51 000. Appren­tice­ship is a real sub­ject with a big over­all increase in Bac +2 to Bac +5 stu­dents who are increas­ing­ly choos­ing this route, far removed from the “dead end” routes of the past. Before, appren­tice­ships were for BEP, CAP and Bac pro. Today, uni­ver­si­ties are open­ing up diplo­mas at Bac +5 lev­el. The image of appren­tice­ships among com­pa­nies is also con­stant­ly evolv­ing. Their intake capac­i­ty is ris­ing sharply, with a clear upturn in the tech­ni­cal fields. There is a real demand for voca­tion­al train­ing and the busi­ness world is con­stant­ly look­ing for human resources. These young peo­ple are this resource and they are real­ly per­ceived as employ­ees with­in the com­pa­ny that wel­comes them dur­ing their apprenticeship. 

What are the main virtues of choosing an apprenticeship scheme in your opinion? 

It should be not­ed that 7 out of 10 appren­tices find a job with­in six months of leav­ing school on a fixed-term or per­ma­nent con­tract basis. Appren­tice­ships offer a real route to pro­fes­sion­al inte­gra­tion. Of course, appren­tices ben­e­fit from a the­o­ret­i­cal basic train­ing but also from oper­a­tional train­ing which is high­ly appre­ci­at­ed in the world of work that awaits them. Their acquired skills are recog­nised because they are trained by real pro­fes­sion­als. With the major reform of 2018 launched by the Min­istry of Labour in order to boost appren­tice­ship and more gen­er­al­ly voca­tion­al train­ing, the Hauts-de-France Region has con­tin­ued to pro­vide finan­cial assis­tance, par­tic­u­lar­ly for invest­ments by Adult Train­ing Cen­tres (CFA) in their projects for exten­sions, new train­ing cours­es and oth­er requests. All this while ensur­ing that there is no com­pe­ti­tion between CFAs and that the train­ing needs are met. 

Will you continue your efforts to develop apprenticeships? 

More than ever, yes. It is one of the Region’s voca­tions to help appren­tices and aca­d­e­m­ic and pri­vate CFAs. We are one of the few regions in France that pro­vides the most sup­port for its appren­tices. We are reg­is­ter­ing excel­lent results and are going in the right direc­tion. For exam­ple, we con­tin­ue to take part in the World­Skills France, organ­ised to pro­mote the know-how of man­u­al trades and appren­tice­ships. More than 600 young peo­ple com­pet­ed in this 2022 edi­tion, rep­re­sent­ing 64 dif­fer­ent trades. Some of the pro­fes­sions are ancient, such as pas­try-mak­ing, sheet met­al work and car­pen­try. But the com­pe­ti­tion also high­lights skills that meet the needs of tomor­row’s pro­fes­sions, such as cyber­se­cu­ri­ty, fash­ion, dec­o­ra­tion or IT. We plan to increase the num­ber of young peo­ple for the next edi­tion to one thousand.

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