How to get funding for training in France

Looking to acquire a new professional skill or train for a new career? If you work in the private sector, self-employed, or a job seeker, you can access government funding for professional training.

Are you looking to acquire a new professional skill or train for a new career? If you’re working in the private sector, are freelance, self-employed, or a job seeker, you can access government funding for professional training. If you’re not sure where to start, fear not—we’ve got you covered. Discover how to find funding for professional training you’re looking for in our handy guide!

Financial support for professional training

Whether it’s adapting to technological developments, acquiring new skills, or retraining for a brand new career, professional training enables workers to improve or develop their skills throughout their lives up until they retire. This training applies to:

  • Private sector employees

  • The self-employed

  • Job seekers registered with Pôle Emploi

Because the costs of professional training are high, companies pay a single contribution each year towards professional training and work/study programs (CUFPA). This contribution is then transferred to training organizations (“Opérateurs de compétence” or Opco), as well as organizations in charge of financing professional training: Caisse des Dépôts, Région, Conseil en Évolution Professionnelle, etc.

Any worker—regardless of their employment status—receives a dedicated sum for adult training (see below) paid to their Personal Training Account (“Compte personnel de formation” or CPF). This contribution also makes it possible to finance training for job seekers.

How to finance training with your Personal Training Account (CPF)

The Personal Training Account (“Compte personnel de formation” or CPF), formerly known as the Individual Right to Training (“Droit individuel à la formation” or DIF), allows workers to access a personal budget to finance their professional training, starting from the age of 15. The sum is calculated based on years worked, and the amount depends on the status of the worker. Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect:

  • Full-time employees, those working least 0.5 full-time equivalent (FTE), and the self-employed benefit from €500/year, with a ceiling of €5,000 for employees

  • Part-time employees working less than 0.5 FTE benefit from an amount calculated in proportion to their hours worked

  • Disabled employees and those with little or no qualifications benefit from €800/year (with a ceiling of €8,000)

The CPF can be used for the following:

  • Carrying out a skills assessment

  • Following a “Validation des acquis de l’expérience” (VAE), which enables educational institutions to grant degrees partly or completely based on work experience

  • Receiving support in setting up or taking over a business

  • Following a training course leading to professional certification that’s recognized by the National Directory of Professional Certifications (RNCP) or to certify additional professional skills

  • Taking a driving test or a truck/lorry driving test

To view the amount you qualify for and find out how to use your CPF, visit the Mon Compte Formation website.

Professional training for the self-employed

Are you registered as self-employed? Whether you’re a freelancer or the head of a company managing several employees, you’re required to pay a contribution to professional training. This contribution is then paid into the Training Insurance Fund (Fonds d’assurance formation, FAF) that corresponds to your business activity. Every year, €500 is added to your training account. You can then spend this amount on training courses available through the CPF which are authorized for the self-employed.

To access these funds, you’ll need to send a payment request for training to your FAF at least one month before the start of the training, along with a certificate of payment from the CFP (provided by Urssaf). You can learn more about the different FAFs here.

Job seekers—funding for training with Pôle Emploi

If you are unemployed, you can use your CPF funds for training. You can also benefit from two funding schemes for training through the French job center, Pôle Emploi:

1) Personal Training Assistance (Aide individuelle à la formation or AIF)—This grant supplements the amount of the CPF in the event that the funds are insufficient (or non-existent) in order to finance all the educational costs of your training. This assistance can only be requested when your training can’t be supported by local authorities and the Opco. What’s more, the training must be included in the training catalog of Pôle Emploi.

2) Social Training Action (Action de Formation Conventionnée or AFC)—This type of support is aimed at facilitating a return to stable employment as quickly as possible through training. The idea is to acquire a skill sought in the applicant’s employment pool.

Any job seeker registered with Pôle Emploi can apply for these schemes. You can also get an allowance for training, in addition to unemployment benefits and financial support.

Funding for training through your company

A number of schemes are possible for undertaking professional training as an employee. Here’s a list of what you can expect: 

Professional Transition Leave (CTP)

Professional Transition Leave, or “Congé de transition professionelle” (CTP) corresponds to the former Individual Training Leave (“Congé individuel à la Formation”, or CIF). It enables individuals to retrain professionally while taking professional leave. Employees may continue to collect their salary by sending a request for funding to the Regional Joint Interprofessional Commission (“Commission paritaire interprofessionnelle régionale”, or CPIR). CTP is aimed at the following types of employees:

  • Those who have worked for a minimum of 24 months, including 12 months in the same company

  • Those who have worked at least 24 months in the last 5 years, and 4 months in a fixed-term contract (CDD) in the last 12 months

The request to the employer needs to be made:

  • At least 60 days before the start of the training when the training does not exceed 6 months

  • At least 120 days in advance when the training lasts more than 6 months

It's important to note that no response from your employer is officially considered an approval. While your employer can defer your request, they can’t refuse it. Find out more here. 

Training as part of the skills development plan

Unlike other training opportunities, the skills development plan is an employer initiative. It’s a strategic document, making it possible to adapt and retain employees in their jobs by developing their skills through two types of training:

  • Mandatory or necessary training—This type of training is aimed at enabling employees to adapt and remain in their role, by helping them acquire the skills necessary to develop professionally. Employees cannot refuse to undertake mandatory training. The training takes place during working hours and the employee continues to receive their salary.

  • Non-mandatory training—This type of training allows employees to acquire new skills with the objective of developing into a new role or job. Employees are not obliged to take part in non-mandatory training, which may take place during or outside working hours. Employees do continue to receive their salary during training.

The skills development plan can also include a “Validation des acquis de l'expérience” (VAE), which is a skills assessment or promotion by a work/study training program.

Retraining or promotion by a work/study program (Pro A)

A hybrid solution that sits between training leave and a short course, retraining or promotion by a work/study program (“Promotion par alternance”, or Pro A) allows employees with zero or few qualifications to acquire or validate their skills by alternating periods of training and work. The training time can last 6 to 12 months, and may be extended under certain conditions. A mentor is appointed from within the company to follow up regularly with the work/study program attendee. To benefit from this program, employees must meet the following criteria:

  • Be on permanent contract (CDI), a “single inclusion contract” (CUI) for an indefinite period, or on a fixed-term contract (CDD) if they are an athlete or trainer

  • Not have a qualification equal to or higher than an undergraduate degree

Pro A can be requested by the employer or employee. An amendment must be made to the employment contract. The total salary of the employee is paid during the professionalisation period. Training can take place during or outside work hours.

That’s it—now you’re ready to finance your professional training and boost your career! With N26, you can manage your finances during your professional training with our simple online application and 100% mobile banking solution. What are you waiting for? Sign up today.

By N26

The Mobile Bank

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