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How to claim the cost of language or driving lessons from the French government

How to claim the cost of language or driving lessons from the French government
Photo: Georges Gobet/AFP
If you're an employee in France the government has earmarked €800 a year for you to spend on training - which can include further professional development, language classes for foreigners or driving lessons. Here's how to claim them.

Who gets it?

Every person working as an employee in France has their own compte personnel de formation (CPF), with access to money earmarked for professional training – you need only a social security number to access it.

The system was first created in 2015, but initially had a very low take-up. So in 2019 the government launched an app to allow everyone to create an online account and claim their training allowance. The scheme has been heavily backed by President Emmanuel Macron, who is concerned that some French workers lack the training and professional skills to compete in the international market.

Since then take-up has been very good – in fact possibly too good, by the end of 2021 the system is forecast to have paid out €12 billion, which will leave a €3 billion hole in the budget. For the moment it’s still running and paying out though, so now is a good time to get your training in.

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What do you get?

The government abandoned the previous points-based system on January 1st 2019. Today, the CPF ‘currency’ is in euros.

This means that each worker’s CPF account receives an annual budget, which they can use to apply for professional training. The amount of money transferred into the account depends on the person’s professional situation.

Full-time workers get €500 a year (unskilled workers get €800), if you don’t use the full amount one year it can be carried over, but the account has a maximum ceiling of €5,000 (€8,000 for unskilled workers).

For part-time workers, the amount of money given each year will be proportionally calculated from the number of hours they worked. 

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What can you use it for?

The money in the account can be used to finance any work-related training approved by the CPF, which is relevant to the employee’s work.

These are the main types of training included in the system:

  • Extra qualification (like a diploma or professional title)
  • Skills training
  • Skills assessment
  • Driver’s licence, both the theory and the practical test
  • Setting up a business
  • Training needed for people volunteering or working in civil service

For foreigners working in France, French language courses are accepted and if you need to drive for your work you can claim the cost of driving lessons and tests (a big plus to people caught up in licence swap issues who end up needing to take the very expensive French driving test).

What’s the app like?

The app provides each employee with an overview of their rights, as well as a platform where they can apply for training programs.

You can find it in the app store called Mon CFP, once downloaded you create an account with your personal details and your social security number (which can find on your carte vitale or payslip).

Once the account is created, you head to the ‘mon compte‘ section which will tell you your available budget for training.

You then select the type of training you want, whether you’re interested in in-person or online courses and the location and see what the options are.  

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