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National Strategies

The European Commission endorsed the French Recovery and Resilience Plan on 23 June 2021. The plan will invest €39.4 billion in reforms to support the twin digital and green transition. Out of this budget, 21.32 % (8.4 billion) will be dedicated to digital objectives, including digital skills. The French plan includes significant investments to support education and employment, including specific interventions for digital skills development and lifelong learning at all levels of the society and the labour force. 

Main actions on digital skills 

The French recovery plan is focused on three main priorities (green and digital transition, competitiveness and social and territorial cohesion). It aims to support research and innovation, increase the deployment of key technologies, accelerate the digitalisation of the public and private sector (and especially SMEs), and upskill the labour force (and people in general) with digital competences.   

Digital skills for the labour force: investing in workforce training

Improving digital skills and supporting the digitalisation of businesses (and organisational upskilling processes) is a key focus of reforms in the plan. Measures in this area include: the development of short-time work schemes as a way to foster reskilling and future-oriented competences, providing support to businesses and SMEs in training their employees, and enhancing national competitiveness through an innovative approach to training. The plan will invest €385 million towards supporting the digital transition of companies and SMEs and use of digital tools across key industries.  

Initiatives targeting digital skills and employability build on lessons learned and the success of previous national initiatives, such as ‘France Num’, and hope to increase the digitalisation of 200,000 SMEs by 2024 – and see employees being provided with the necessary support to manage the impact of the digital transition and become confident technology users. Another key focus is to tackle unemployment through upskilling. To achieve this, the French government foresees key reforms in the areas of apprenticeships, training, skills, and labour policies, with a special focus on young people. In addition, the plan includes a complementary allocation to the individual learning accounts for training 25,000 people in digital skills or digital professions.

Digital skills in education: modernising digital content, teaching, and learning

Education has an important focus in the French RRP which allocates €131 million to give a boost to the French education system and digitalise schools, through the provision of digital equipment and training on digital skills. 

The investments in employment and youth also pursue complementary aims and serve to complement reforms on digital skills in education. For instance, several programmes aim at helping disadvantaged or Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET) youth get a better start professionally. These include the provision of professional trainings, flexible and conducted in a variety of settings and combining distance learning with face-to-face and hybrid learning environments.  

Other key reforms include improving the quality of digital content and online platforms and increasing the availability of digital education content. Targeted investments in this area will make possible the development of 30,000 distance learning courses – an initiative, coordinated by the National Employment Agency, Pôle Emploi. To promote the use of new digital tools and technology, the French government plans also to integrate immersive modules (based on Virtual Reality - VR, Augmented Reality - AR, etc.) within more than 100 online courses. 

Another key focus is improving the quality of digital education, and digitalising and adapting primary and secondary school frameworks to reflect the changing nature of work and skills. Actions foreseen in the plan target the digital transformation of the entire education sector and aim to increase its efficiency, from offering support to EdTech to providing digital skills training for teachers.

Basic and advanced digital skills: France in the Digital Decade

Developing distance learning courses contributes to social and territorial cohesion by providing training opportunities for persons who may have been previously excluded due to mobility constraints (persons with disabilities, or residing in rural areas, or caring for other persons) and therefore better reaching target groups, including unemployed persons, and promoting lifelong learning.  

The French plan foresees specific investment into digital inclusion: ensuring French citizens have the digital skills they need to access online public services and social life. Reforms in digital platforms and content also have the potential to improve basic digital skills and bring France closer to the target of 80% in the Digital Decade.  

To contribute to reaching the other key target of the Digital Decade – the 20 million ICT professionals in the EU by 2030, the French plan foresees investment in key digital and emerging technologies (cybersecurity, quantum, EdTech, 5G and cloud), and a variety of initiatives promoting skills transfer and the development of advanced digital skills. Substantial resources will be dedicated to enhancing research, development and innovation and measures to create more jobs in these areas. Initiatives planned would see young graduates with research focus receiving their fist placement within companies, laboratories and public administrations and ensure they possess competitive and future-proof skills. 

Strategy Details

Target audience
Digital skills for the labour force.
Digital skills for ICT professionals and other digital experts.
Digital skills in education.
Digital skills for all
Digital technology / specialisation
Digital skill level
Digital Expert
Geographic scope - Country
Target language
Type of initiative
National initiative

France spends €1.595 million on Human Capital, or around 4% of its total budget (slightly below the EU average of 4.5%). The European Commission estimates that 3.4% of the budget will be dedicated to advanced digital skills, including digital R&D, placing France well above the EU average of 1.4% and at the 3rd position amongst EU Member States.

Strategy state-of-play

On 13 July 2021, the European Council officially approved the French plan, paving the way for the disbursement of the first financing. On 19 August, the European Commission disbursed €5.1 billion to France in pre-financing (or 13% of the plan). 

Stakeholder Involvement

The success of the French Recovery and Resilience Plan relies on active engagement of stakeholders on local, regional, national and EU level alike. Stakeholders of the plan include: the French Ministry of Economy, targeted associations representing employers and unions, professional associations and companies for the measures related to businesses and employment; economists and institutions for the cohesion and balance of the plan; and non-governmental organisations and think tanks for the measures related to climate change.  
Public and private stakeholders involved throughout the consultation process will play a key role in the plan’s implementation too. These include: regional and local authorities, the Economic, Social and Environmental Council was also consulted several times. the National Monitoring Committee on the Recovery Plan, chaired by the Prime Minister and composed of representatives of local and regional authorities, heads of public institutions, economists, members of Parliament, senators, members of the European Parliament and various social partners.