Recognition of prior learning and experience (V.A.E)

Under French law any person with professional experience may, under certain conditions, benefit from recognition of prior learning and experience (V.A.E - validation des acquis de l’expérience). His or her experience enables him or her to obtain recognition in order to advance professionally.

What is recognition of prior learning and experience (V.A.E)?

VAE is a legal mechanism for formal professional certification via the RNCP (Registre National des Certifications Professionnelles). This can be:
  • A diploma or title for professional purposes
  • A certificate of professional qualification

The engineering degree (diplôme d'ingénieur) conferred by Centrale Nantes and the master's degrees for which it is accredited are accessible through the V.A.E.

Centrale Nantes is accredited to confer the following engineering degrees by V.A.E.:

Guiding principles: 

The candidate demonstrates that he or she has mastered the framework skills of the diploma in question, professional skills that he or she has acquired through various experiences (salaried, non-salaried, trade union, voluntary work, etc.) with the help of written and oral submissions.

People who want to apply for VAE can ask for support on how to:
  •     formulate the experience to be recognised
  •     put together the written application
  •     prepare for the interview with the panel

Ability to work in an international context

With regard to recognition of prior learning for the degree apprenticeship programmes in partnership with the ITII, the candidate must provide tangible proof of his/her ability to work in an international context and of his/her ability to work in English (min. level B2).
With regard to recognition of prior learning for the engineering programme, the candidate must provide tangible proof of his/her ability to work in an international context and his/her ability to work in English (min. level TOEIC 850).

The ability to work internationally is assessed on the basis of international work and/or training experience, or on international projects carried out in the candidate's home country. This ability can be proven by work in English. If the international working language is not English, the applicant must provide evidence of the required level of English.

The ability to meet the requirements of the programme with regard to the ability to work internationally and the ability to work in English must be determined at the preliminary interview stage and at the latest at the admissibility stage.

Who can apply?

Any person, regardless of age, nationality, status or level of education, who can demonstrate at least 1 year's experience directly related to the certification in question, can apply for VAE. In practice a minimum of 3 years experience in the job is often necessary to be able to provide all the evidence.

How does it work?

The applicant submits his application (known as a 'livret 1' available from Centrale Nantes) to Centrale Nantes, i.e. the certifying body.

The application is examined by a duo comprising a course supervisor and a lecturer in the relevant field. At this stage Centrale Nantes will respond positively or negatively to the admissibility of the V.A.E. application. Should the application be admissible, the applicant must describe in detail his/her professional experience and skills acquired in a second more detailed submission (livret 2, also provided by Centrale Nantes).

The candidate is then put in a professional context before a panel and presents his/her application.
The panel interviews the candidate and makes a decision on whether to certify all, part or none of the experience.
The whole process, from initial application to the panel interview, takes between 8 and 12 months.

Certification obtained through VAE has the same value as that obtained through training.
Undertaking a VAE process requires a high level of involvement and motivation on the part of the applicant.
If you are an employee, you can ask your employer for help if you wish.
Otherwise, you are not obliged to inform your employer of the process.

Success rate

  • 100% of VAE applications lead to the award of certification in 2019
  • One successful applicant for the award of the Construction and Public Works degree apprenticeship in partnership with ITII
  • Feedback: very satisfied


Applicants are entitled to use his/her CPF hours to finance 100% of VAE support.
Published on November 19, 2020 Updated on November 21, 2022