Marie-Kristine Vanbockestal will end her mandate at the head of Forem in November (after two extensions). This former socialist cabinet minister does not yet know the name of the person who will succeed her. Nevertheless, the procedure to appoint her is ongoing. Three candidates submitted a file in good standing as part of the call for applications which closed towards the end of August. These three candidates are Yves Magnan, the current director general of training at Forem; Isabelle Mahy, a director of the Federal Agency for the safety of the food chain (Afsca) and Raymonde Yerna, the current boss of IFAPME (Walloon Institute for Work-study Training and Self-employed and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises). It is now up to the Walloon Minister for Employment Christie Morreale (PS) with the help of Minister Borsus (MR) who has, in his portfolio, the supervision of the centers of competence, to decide between them. The decision should fall in the next few days. But for some, it is already taken.
Walloons must go to work in Flanders
Indeed, Raymonde Yerna ticks all the boxes. This PS apparatchik worked at Forem before joining socialist Walloon ministerial cabinets in the early 2000s. During the 2014-2019 legislature, she was deputy chief of staff to the Minister of Employment, at the time Eliane Tillieux . She held the same position until 2021 at Christie Morreale. This Liège resident has since directed IFAPME, a major player in work-study training in Wallonia.
No candidate with an MR label
Having, like the other two candidates, the certificate of public management (CMP) issued by the school of public administration (EAP), a compulsory condition for applying for this type of position, as well as a job-oriented CV, Raymonde Yerna presents the ideal profile for the position. For PS at least. This woman of conviction is above all a good soldier of the socialist party.
Surprisingly, the MR, which sits alongside the PS in the Walloon majority, does not seem to have fought much to propose a candidate from its camp. While Forem is often the target of the liberals, one could imagine that the party would try to win by appointing someone close to its convictions. Not even ! It seems that the Liberals do not have, in their ranks, people with the famous CMP and expertise in employment matters. There would not even have been any haggling to try to recover other important mandates. The party will perhaps have a card to play for the leadership of IFAPME which would be left vacant after the possible departure of Madame Yerna.
The appointment of Raymonde Yerna, if it is she who is chosen, will therefore not revolutionize the way in which Forem is run. There is no question here of questioning the skills of the favorite, and even less the work she will do at the head of this public juggernaut, but those who demand a change of course will be at their expense. And if the PS were to find itself in power again in Wallonia after the June 2024 election, it is a safe bet that it will once again take over the competence of Employment. A skill that gives him control over… the Forem.