Native English speakers looking to hone their business skills or impart professional expertise are sought after in France by business schools and social enterprises.
Some MBAs are all in English
A representative of the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts (Cnam) and the manager of an intercultural mentoring program both told The Connexion that applications from English speakers are not only welcome, but actively encouraged.
Emmanuelle Rochefort, head of external relations at Cnam and head of several international master’s programs in business studies, said English speakers are the “target audience”. Some courses are all in English.
Expats are a small portion of students
Ms Rochefort said that in addition to attracting international students, people from English-speaking countries residing in France are also desirable as they already know the country.
She said the number of applications from international students had increased since the Covid pandemic, with many students coming from English-speaking African countries.
While Cnam programs are open to people over 50, expatriates only represent a very small percentage of students.
Business schools offer flexibility
Ms. Rochefort explained that there are several stark differences between business schools in France and those in countries like the UK and US, including the status in which they are held.
“When you want to enroll in an Executive MBA in France,” Ms. Rochefort said, “you’re already assuming going to a business school rather than a top-tier university.”
Another key difference is the price.
Cnam’s Executive MBA costs between 18,000 and 21,000 €, which, according to her, represents about a third of the cost of an equivalent course in the very selective “grande école” HEC Paris or in a British or American university.
The courses also offer flexible schedules and are open to people who juggle their studies and work.
The Cnam is renowned for welcoming students in evening classes or part-time classes.
Volunteers wanted to help young immigrants
Business schools aren’t the only institutions making efforts to attract English speakers living abroad – this demographic is also in high demand as job coaches in mentoring programs for newcomers to the country.
Constance Colliot is head of the Lille office of Duo for a Job, a Belgian association created in 2013 to fight against high unemployment among young immigrants.
She said: “We are looking for people who are willing to share their experience of immigrating to France and provide useful advice to younger generations.”
The association has expanded into France, with offices in Paris, Marseille and Lille and a new one due to open in Lyon next year.
Full training provided
Duo for a Job connects volunteer mentors over the age of 50 with young immigrants, aged 18 to 33, through a training program aimed at helping the migrant navigate the French administrative system and the barriers languages to find a job.
The mentors themselves must first complete a training program.
This can be done over four days or in 10 two-hour sessions.
It addresses three main themes: raising awareness of intercultural communication; deconstructing clichés around immigration; and work integration.
Nine out of ten mentors return
Mentors work with their students approximately two to three hours per week, for a minimum of six months.
To date, the association has recruited more than 1,600 sponsors and indicates that 7 out of 10 young people leave to find a job, an internship or training.
Its website says nine out of 10 mentors repeat the experience.
The mentors are mostly women (61%) and mostly aged between 60 and 64 and working in the HR sector, according to the figures provided to us.
Just over half (52%) are working professionals.
Duo for a Job is particularly keen to recruit mentors with professional experience in the cleaning, architecture, urban planning and energy trades.
The social project indicates that the benefits of volunteering are many, whether it’s staying connected and active, feeling useful by imparting knowledge or learning new skills.
Although no prior coaching experience is required, Ms Colliot said mentors need a solid level of French.
Having a good knowledge of the country’s administrative systems is also a major asset.
Career change in France: nuclear inspector to yoga teacher
Explanation: what is the French “talent” visa and who can obtain one?
How to register for adult evening classes in France?