Sub-contracting the implementation of employment policies to private operators has recently undergone rapid growth. What is less known is that these dynamics have been at the heart of a step-level change in policy-making in this sector. The logic of ?activation? that was originally behind the fight against unemployment now influences the whole range of employment policies. In particular, and despite differences of procedure and institutional context, this logic has affected public intervention in both the labour market and the field of professional training. This article seeks to explain these transformations through explaining how they fit within a broader paradigm change for public policies.