Diversify your career in the civil service with the Talent Preparatory Courses

Next September, Montpellier's Institut de Préparation à l'Administration Générale (IPAG) will be hosting three Prépas Talents. The aim is to combat young people's self-censorship of competitive examinations, and to diversify the senior civil service by facilitating the integration of people from less privileged social backgrounds.

Nicolas Marty, Director of IPAG Montpellier - Philippe Augé, President of the University of Montpellier - Sophie Béjean, Rector of the Academy of Montpellier, Rector of the Occitanie academic region and Chancellor of the Universities - Samuel Barreault, Departmental Director of Public Finances, Hérault - Nathalie Beau, Head of Training at ENCCRF

In 2019, the proportion of students at the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA) with a working-class parent was 1%, compared with an average of 73% with a parent from a higher intellectual profession. At the Institut national des études territoriales (INET), the proportion of students from a higher intellectual background averaged 67%.
Diversity is lacking in the civil service, and there has long been an "entre-soi" attitude which explains the self-censorship suffered by some students from less privileged backgrounds," notes Nicolas Marty, lecturer and director of the Institut de préparation à l'administration générale de Montpellier (IPAG).

Going beyond ICCs

Psychological obstacles, but above all financial and material ones, stresses the teacher: " Depending on where we live and the income we have, we're not all equal when it comes to education. It's more often the children of the middle and upper classes who can afford the training and thus enter the civil service. We need to help students and structures to diversify the public and achieve true equality of opportunity . To combat this reproduction of elites, the Ministry of Transformation and the Civil Service and Mesri are setting up seventy-four Talent Prepas classes, including three at IPAG Montpellier, from the start of the 2021 academic year.

" These 74 classes represent 1,700 places nationwide, 1,000 more than the previous integrated preparatory classes (CPI), which already recruited our students on the basis of merit and resources," explains Nicolas Marty. The desire to diversify the civil service is not new, but with the Talent Prepas, the scheme goes even further, doubling the aid available to selected students from €2,000 per year to €4,000. This assistance can be combined with traditional scholarships, awarded on the basis of social criteria.

Three specialized classes in Montpellier

In the same way as each civil service school had its own CPI, the Talents Prep classes will have direct links with the administrations for which they prepare students. Montpellier has thus renewed its partnership with theInstitut régional d'administration de Bastia (Bastia Regional Institute of Administration), the reference for the South of France, and with the Ecole nationale de la concurrence, de la consommation et de la répression des fraudes (ENCCRF - National School for Competition, Consumer Affairs and Fraud Control). A third class will be opened, this time in partnership with the Direction départementale des finances publiques de l'Hérault(DGFiP). "Hosting these Prépas Talents classes is also an opportunity for the UM to strengthen its partnerships with major administrations. This synergy between the academic and professional worlds is a real factor for success.

Another new feature compared with the former CPI is the introduction of internships and reinforced tutoring for each student by a current civil servant. " These are more like mentors. We'll choose them from among IPAG's current partners or from among our former students who have become civil servants," explains Nicolas Marty. The internships will be offered directly by the training program, so as not to introduce inequalities between students ". As with the CPI, however, the number of students in these three Prépas Talent classes will remain relatively small: 40 in all in Montpellier, so as to provide even greater pedagogical and methodological support.

Resources and merit

How will these students be recruited? "First of all, parity will be favored, which is essential, and candidates must have a minimum L3 level. They can come from BTS, Masters or professional backgrounds... The profiles and ages are very varied ", says the teacher. Next comes the means test, with a ceiling of €33,100 per year. " We're targeting two target groups: students with grants and jobseekers," continues Nicolas Marty. Merit" will also be assessed, taking into account place of residence and family responsibilities. " We want to offer equal opportunities to those who find it more difficult to study ". This is in line with the UM's policy of equal opportunity and professional integration.

With the support of the Ministry of Transformation and the Civil Service, material resources will also be made available to students, to ensure that they do not suffer a breach of equality at this level: loan of laptop, 4G key, subscription to the press (Le Monde, Les Echos, Acteurs publics...), textbooks and schoolbooks..." In short, all the resources that students from more affluent backgrounds would have at their disposal. In short, all the resources that students from wealthier backgrounds would have at their disposal. The entrance exam itself is very egalitarian, since it's the same for everyone, but the routes to get there can be very different," concludes Nicolas Marty. We'll soon be seeing the first promotions enter the civil service, with a more visible effect on the face of the civil service.