Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion


The European Alliance for Apprenticeships is a multi-stakeholder initiative steered by the European Commission. The originator of the pledge is solely responsible for implementing the actions outlined in the pledge.

Author:FACE (Foundation Acting Against Exclusion)
Start Year:2016

Camille GUEZENNEC, Head of employment operations



Types of organisation:Research institutes and think tanks

FACE wishes to enhance both quantitatively and qualitatively the impact of apprenticeships, not only in France but also in Europe. This ambition relies on a twofold motto:

- Stating and defining the importance and the excellence of apprenticeships from a broad political point of view, considering them as a true win-win partnership between companies on one side, and active actors in the field of employment, training and education on the other;

- Changing the overall perception of apprenticeships, by developing them as a standard training methodology throughout Europe; apprenticeships should be considered as the rule and not the exception by all relevant stakeholders from the public and private sectors.

This ambition is fully aligned with the Report drafted by Mr. Gérard Mestrallet (as President of FACE) to the French President, Mr. François Hollande in November 2014, published under the French title: “Mobiliser les acteurs économiques en faveur de l’Emploi et de l’Emploi des Jeunes” (or in English: “Mobilizing the economic stakeholders in favour of Employment and Youth Employment”).

The conclusions and 150 recommendations of this widely commented report focused mainly on five priorities, among which the necessity to “develop the culture of apprenticeships as a pathway to excellence” (second conclusion of the report). Overall, apprenticeships has no longer to be considered as an exception in the training process of young adults, but – on the contrary – as a standard way of dealing with education and training for all types of populations dealing with issues related to jobs (young people, senior workers, unemployed people, early retiree, migrants and refugess …). In order to turn this goal into a tangible reality, FACE’s commitment regarding apprenticeships covers a variety of projects and initiatives, among which four can be specifically underlined:

  1. Mr. Gérard Mestrallet has been appointed « Ambassador for Apprenticeships » by the French Ministry of Employment and Training. Hismission consists in mobilizing all relevant stakeholders within the issue at stake, in order to:
  • Identify obstacles and leverages for the development of apprenticeships in France;
  • Identify clear and innovative best practices in France and abroad;
  • Collect recommendations in order to optimise the development of apprenticeships.
  1. FACE is also the umbrella foundation of the « Fondation Innovations Pour les Apprentissages (FIPA) «  (Foundation Innovation for Apprenticeships”) presided by the French group EDF, will serve as an experimental laboratory for apprenticeships. Together with all relevant stakeholders, experimental programs will be developed in collaboration with involved companies (e.g. La Poste, Total, among others) for promoting all types of innovative apprenticeships for pupils, students, unemployed people, workers... The predominant role of companies and/or their networks must be highlighted in this context, as they will officiate through the FIPA as innovators for apprenticeship in all its forms.
  2. FACE has already developed various concrete projects and has built a solid expertise regarding apprenticeships at national and European levels

At the French level, for instance, FACE implements the program “Un Diplôme, un Travail” (“One Degree, One Job”) that started in 2009. The program is a support mechanism addressed to apprentices at the end of their apprenticeship contract. Young adults are supported during 8 months in order to better define their professional project and to develop a professional network, with a view to enhance their access to sustainable employment. This project has been co-designed with ENGIE and implemented so far in about 10 pilot sites. During the first four years of implementation, 66% of the supported young adults reported a positive outcome: either they found a sustainable job, either they renewed their apprenticeship contract or got enrolled in another long-term training program. 

At a European level, FACE is part of the “Business in Europe Hosting Apprenticeships for Youth” project, co-founded by the Erasmus + Programme and coordinated by CSR Europe. The project aims to create support structures in the form of European & national learning networks to support SMEs to provide more and better quality apprenticeships. FACE, high engagement partner of the project, has for mission to reach French SMEs on three different levels: 7 740 SMEs through online communication campaigns; 100 SMEs through intensive learning networks and 20 SMEs through pilot programmes to improve the quality of their apprenticeships.

  1. EASY: European Apprenticeship Schemes for Youth

EASY (acronym for « European Apprenticeship Schemes for Youth ») is an initiative that was launched officially on the 17th of November 2015 in Brussels by Mr. Gérard Mestrallet during his special intervention in the « Enterprise 2020 Summit » organised by CSR Europe. The “European Apprenticeship Schemes for Youth” aims to develop and empower transnational apprenticeship schemes in Europe thanks to the active participation of companies from the private sector. To achieve this purpose, the EASY program will rely on a global support for apprentices (professional, educational, and social i.e. mobility, language, housing, culture…). This global support will be provided by companies through a dual mentoring approach: professional and social mentoring. The experimental EASY scheme will be implemented thanks to the direct support of companies and will rely on private financing, with the possibility of complementary public financing later on.

At the meeting in November 2016 organised in Brussels one year after the launch of CSR Europe’s “Pact for Youth”, CEO and EU officials agreed to launch some experimental projects on the mobility of apprentices throughout Europe in the course of 2017.

Short company / organisation description:

FACE is a Public Utility Foundation created in France in 1993 by 15 corporate groups with the main objective to prevent and fight against any form of exclusion and discrimination. FACE and its network of more than 5 250 companies work towards the accomplishment of four missions:

  • To support the social and societal commitment of companies;
  • To translate into individual and collective actions, the corporate social responsibility of companies;
  • To develop social and societal innovations with and for companies;
  • To affirm and provide a place for the discourse of responsible companies. 

Our Foundation, thanks to the involvement of companies and their employees as well as its strong local presence, represents an actor able to create synergies between relevant stakeholders at different scales. The personal commitment in our projects of companies’ employees contributes to the originality of our initiatives and represents the added value of our work. Employees are key stakeholders in our actions thanks to their involvement at different stages of the projects, particularly through professional mentoring addressed to jobseekers.

Thanks to the support of its 100 territorial structures, notably in France and Belgium, FACE is able to implement its projects at the local level throughout the entire French territory as well as in Belgium, and to contribute to the creation of working synergies with local actors and beneficiaries. FACE also counts on the support of its sheltered bodies in the achievement of the social goals standing at the core of its activity. The Foundation, in fact, has become the 3rd umbrella organisation in France in terms of number of organisations under its aegis.

Our activities are focused on three main areas:

  • In the societal sphere, FACE develops projects fostering the professional integration of NEETS (through the promotion of national and transnational apprenticeships, voluntary missions, coaching and mentoring, certification and identification of informal competences…), the fight against school dropouts, budget management of the vulnerable population, and mobility, among others;
  • In the environmental sphere, FACE works in favour of the reduction of fuel poverty and energetic strategies to face climate change;
  • In the business scope, joining forces with French companies, FACE implements projects on diversity and inclusion schemes: support on the acquisition of the diversity label, promotion of gender equality initiatives at the workplace, fight against discrimination in the workplace.

During the last few years, FACE has increasingly consolidated its international presence, scaling-up its activities in the CSR domains and its participation in European networks. The Foundation, indeed, has been involved in several European projects, collaborating with more than 15 partner organizations coming from 19 member states, and has recently integrated CSR Europe in 2015. So far, 13 projects of the Foundation have been financed by the European Union, being the project coordinator in 11 projects and a partner in the remaining 2.

Area of action: Supply
Area of action: Quality
Area of action: Image
Area of action: Mobility

A variety of partners are involved with FACE in order to develop the quantity and quality of apprenticeship in Europe: French national and local public authorities, trade unions, business associations, European partners / initiatives such as the Pact for Youth, Alliance for Youth, European Schoolnet, European Academy for Business in Society, La Fondation pour l’Enseignement…

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