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The Ecoles de Production: learning while producing

Summary : The Ecoles de Production (Production schools) are an original form of basic training for young people to learn a trade by linking technical (responding to real orders) and theoretical training. They are an effective way to fight against disengagement from school and youth unemployment.

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  • Start date : 1882
  • Implementation site : France
  • Budget : 4500000 €
  • Source and details on funding : Donations + Education tax + Grants + Participation of families


  • Fédération Nationale des Ecoles de Production
  • 1 place de Fourvière
  • 69005 LYON
  • Employees : 175
  • Volunteers : 100
  • Members : 20


Editorial committee

  • Date of proofreading :  30/10/2015 00:00
Opinion of the Committee : Should be generalized !
Solution(s) : Education Job
Country :  France, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes
Stature of the programme :  National
Participant :  Association, ONG
  • Beneficiaries :  Pupil, students, Adolescents
  • Domain :  Education, Training

Reports collected as part of the RESOLIS programme « Taking Action together against dropping out of school » (2015)

Copyright: Licence Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/ )
To reference a document published by RESOLIS : REMOND Corentin , « The Ecoles de Production: learning while producing », **Journal RESOLIS** (2015)

Background to the programme

The creation of the first school of this nature l'Ecole de Production BOISARD, which is still active and situated in Vaulx-en-Velin (69), dates back to 1882. Ever since the relevance of this pedagogy has never diminished. At present, we number about seventeen production schools across the country welcoming some 700 students. They are grouped within the National Federation of Production Schools (FNEP). As the Rhône-Alpes region is the historic cradle of these schools, eight of the thirteen schools are situated there and are themselves federated into a regional delegation called Production Schools of Rhône-Alpes (EPRA).

Objectives of the programme

- Drive young people towards sustainable employment
- Offer them a place for gradual integration into working and adult life (social skills and know-how)
- Help these young people to (re)gain confidence in themselves

Implemented actions

The concept of the Production School is as a form of basic training that is just like a High School of Vocational Education (LEP) or an Apprentice Training Centre (CFA). The schools welcome young people from 14-18 years with school status who are preparing a CAP, Bac Pro or other professional qualification.
Two thirds of the time is spent on completing real orders in market conditions for individuals and business customers. The remaining third is for the theory directly related to practice.
These schools provide real training to young people who no longer have the desire to continue along a traditional route of general education (sometimes alternating school and work experience). They do this by playing with complementary educational options from those that have been implemented so far and by involving motivations that have yet to be fully exploited.

Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions

It is interesting to note that if this teaching is effective in giving the taste for training to young people who have broken with the traditional school system, its own brand image is nothing less than an excellent pathway for all. Moreover, employers don't make mistakes. For them, the youngster is trained in "the trade" which is a decisive advantage.
It is not uncommon for students to finish school with several job offers. The placement level at the end of the course is almost always close to 100% and these jobs are long term. A significant number work self-employed, especially as craftsmen. This concrete education also displays a clear advantage for those who want to continue their studies after training (about 45%) as, by being in contact with the materials, they have 'learnt to learn' which gives them a strength thereafter in understanding more theoretical training.

Original characteristics

Although having operated for many years, the production schools today are proving to be an innovative training offer for those returning to education and also in the fight against disengagement from school. Their originality is found in the fact that two-thirds of the youth training is spent on producing real orders in market conditions. This production is not marginal since it represents, according to the schools, between 25% and 35% of their annual budgets (and even 80% for one of them). Therefore, the youngster and his trainer are subject to the same requirements imposed by the client (cost, quality, time). The alliance of responsibility and guidance in a joint project with the trainer (always from a professional environment) makes all the difference. As someone with great understanding, early on they will train the youngster to succeed and value their capabilities.

Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme

Several partners support the development of the production schools: UIMM, Groupe SEB, Rhône Alpes Region...
Partners supporting the work of the schools and guiding young people towards these vocational and educational courses: local youth centres, Sport dans la Ville, public and private education.


Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :

- Need for financial support.
- The production schools are considered to be vocational schools not under contract with National Education who does not recognise their training model. This is a problem that it doesn't fit into any of the boxes.

Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :

- Engaging private and public stakeholders to support the development of the existing schools and projects.

Suggestions for future improvement :

- Continue developing by identifying project managers in order to meet the needs of young people across the country.
- Global recognition of the production schools for their quality and their teaching model
- For public authorities to take charge of the teachers in general
- Provide opportunities for students to benefit from public grants
- With public recognition and therefore the funding of teachers in general, it would be possible to increase the number of Production Schools by ten.

Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :

- Identify professional project leaders from an active industry who are capable of passing on their passion for a trade and of managing a school/social enterprise
- Put young people back into the pathway to success through practice. They are no longer failing with respect to learning which allows them to learn the general subjects in a more relaxed way
- The professional is very close to their students. They are also their tutor in social areas (housing difficulties, relationship problems ...). They take care of all aspects of the young person.

Ideas for basic or applied research topics, that could be useful to the programme :

Research on the specific pedagogy of the production Schools "Make to learn."

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