Education, talent and human resources
in the Basque Country

The Basque Country offers a wide range of training options, from initial to continuing education. By preparing tomorrow’s talent and helping today’s professionals develop their expertise, the area is creating a truly dynamic workforce

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The education system in France and higher education in the basque country

In France, education is compulsory from the age of 3 to 16. The French education system is secular and free (for public education), as it is managed by the Ministry of National Education. There are also private education establishments. The official language of instruction is French, although some elementary schools in the Basque Country offer bilingual (French / Basque) or entirely Basque (Euskara) instruction. The French education system consists of three phases:

  • Elementary education: begins at age 3 in nursery school, then continues in elementary school from age 6 to age 11.
  • Secondary education: from the age of 11, students begin a course of study at a “collège” (lower secondary school). This education is compulsory and common to all young people between the ages of 11 and 15. At the end of 4 years of study, secondary school pupils sit the Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB), certifying their level of general skills acquired. This certification, together with the overall assessment of the school year and the pupil’s wishes, enables them to choose the desired orientation for the second phase of secondary education. Upper secondary education (from age 15 to 18) can take place in a “lycée d’enseignement général et technologique” (to obtain a general or technological baccalaureate), or in a “lycée professionnel” (to obtain a vocational baccalaureate) or a CAP (certificat d’aptitude professionnel, a type of vocational qualification). Lycée schooling lasts three years: seconde, première, terminale (two years only for CAP students).
  • Higher education: students have access to a wide range of options. Universities, business schools, engineering schools, preparatory classes for the grandes écoles (highly selective establishments with entrance exams). There are plenty of opportunities for everyone to find their own path.

Higher education in the basque country: engineering and business schools

The French Ministry of Higher Education reports that there are 3 million students enrolled in higher education in France. The University of the Basque Country (Pau & Pays de l’Adour) welcomes 16,000 students a year, including around 2,500 on the Bayonne campus. According to the Communauté Pays Basque, there are around 6,000 students in the Basque Country, between short courses, higher education institutions (engineering schools and business schools) and the university. The Communauté Pays Basque’s objective is to develop the Basque Country’s potential, with a target of 10,000 students by 2025.

The Basque Country is also fortunate to boast a number of top-ranked business and engineering schools in France. In addition to the University of the Basque Country, Kedge Business School (ranked 10th in the French business school rankings) offers a bachelor’s degree at its Bayonne campus in marketing, management, finance and business administration, as does Talis Business School. As for engineering schools in the Basque Country, ESTIA (Ecole Supérieure des Technologies Industrielles Avancées) offers courses in electronics, mechatronics, IT, energy and mechanical engineering. Specialized schools also provide training in health and social care, science related industries and applied arts

Vacational training in france and the basque country

The CCI Bayonne Pays Basque (Chamber of Commerce and Industry) offers professional training courses in management, communication, management, web, office automation, APEL (accreditation of prior experiential learning) and foreign languages.

The Basque Country also has a wealth of training centers offering specialization or retraining in a wide range of sectors.

Our team can help you find out more about these training solutions.

A skilled and qualified workforce

France’s higher education establishments offer top-quality teaching. Some of its business schools, engineering schools and universities are among the best not only in Europe but the world. Examples include HEC Paris (Hautes Etudes Commerciales), and the Institut Polytechnique de Paris, ranked 11th best university in Europe according to the Quacquarelli Symonds world university rankings.

France is renowned for the quality of its work in fields such as healthcare, research and IT. In fact, over 50% of the working population in France has a higher education qualification and/or works in the technology or science sectors (source: Eurostat).

What’s more, labor costs in France are lower than in the USA, Germany, the Netherlands or Japan (source: Business France agency).

Thanks to its varied training courses and dynamic economy, the Basque Country is brimming with talent in engineering, industry, healthcare, commerce and management, as well as sport. If you’re looking to develop your business in our exciting region, BASQUE INVEST can provide you with more detailed information about the talent you can find here.

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