The last couple of weeks have been ridiculously stressful. After the excitement of that meeting with my boss, I was not at all expecting him to call me at home to let me know that he'd had a discussion with the head of HR only to learn that we can't do an apprentice contract. He advised me to sign up with the Pole Emploi, or unemployment office, to see if they have any info about what to do next.
It might sound weird to go to the unemployment office when I'm already employed, but since I only work (very) part time, I am allowed to go sign up to find a complementary job (sadly, a lot of people rely on two jobs or temp jobs here to get from month to month, but I guess that's probably par for the course in a lot of places right now). As soon as I got off the phone with my boss, I called them right away to sign back up and had to wait until today for my first appointment.
The first appointment is largely administrative, in which you have to present loads of ID and attestations of previous jobs (which I forgot, oops) and you lay out what you're looking for or if you have a certain project in mind like I do. Since I have been signed up before (years ago, long before even Fry was around) we swept past the admin stuff really quickly and I was able to clearly and briefly explain that I want to be a bookbinder, which I can do part time with my current job, but I need to learn how to do it first.
She seemed very enthusiastic about my project and some quick computer searching found that I may be able to get my classes funded for the national bookbinding school in Bourgogne (Burgandy, the region just to the south of us)! It's not 100% sure, and nothing from this first appointment is set in stone. I've got to take a couple of papers to another Pole Emploi office at the end of the week and I'm supposed to set a new appointment to talk with a new counselor then. In the meantime, I can call the school to see if they work with the regional government for funding, and if they don't, I may qualify for yet another financial aid program, so things are definitely looking up!
I was so ready for them to say "No, sorry, there's nothing we can do for you" today that I can't quite believe that the ball is still in play! I'm really hoping I can get a new appointment before the end of the month; that would give us a really good excuse to go visit the national bookbinding school during the Winter break!