France to spend 1 billion euros to boost apprenticeships

PARIS (Reuters) - France will spend an extra billion euros on a programme to boost apprenticeships in French companies as part of new measures to soften the impact of the coronavirus crisis on employment.

The extra state support for the apprentice scheme — one of the government’s unsung successes before the crisis hit — was announced after President Emmanuel Macron met with trade unions and employers at the Elysee palace.

“We had historic growth in apprenticeships. We can’t sacrifice the young generation,” Labour Minister Muriel Penicaud said after the talks.

State support for hiring apprentices under 18 years of age will be raised to 5,000 euros from 4,125 euros and for apprentices 18 years or over to 8,000 euros from 5,125 euros.

France is keen to avoid a wave of layoffs and is also betting on a German-inspired scheme to financially encourage firms to keep workers on their books, reducing their hours instead of cutting jobs.

“What’s at stake is to save jobs and skills,” Penicaud said, adding that the terms of the new scheme will be unveiled within two weeks.




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