Work-study in France


An apprenticeship contract is an employment contract which binds an employer and an apprentice, while providing the apprentice with the status of employee. The apprentice is paid a rate corresponding to a predetermined percentage of the French minimum wage, depending on the apprentice’s age and academic level.

By hiring an apprentice, the company can benefit from significant financial advantages .
Work-study programs are offered for both the on-campus and distance learning programs.


Conditions for becoming an apprentice


The apprentice must be between 16 to 25 years of age at the start date of the contract. However, since January 2017, the age limit has been extended to 30 years in some regions of France, including Grand Est, Brittany, Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Centre-Val de Loire, Hauts-de-France, New-Aquitaine, and Pays de la Loire.


The candidate must be a citizen of the European Union or hold a valid work permit.

The application for a work permit must be made by the employer to the French Foreign Labor Office, as well as the Regional Directorate of Enterprise, Competition, Consumer Affairs, Labor, and Employment.

Why apprenticeships?

Apprenticeship training combines theory and practice throughout the academic year.

The apprentice is remunerated, which allows him/her to finance his/her studies. He/she maintains the status of student, with its advantages, while working as an employee in the company.

This path has the advantage of facilitating the professional integration of students. An apprentice has a good chance of being hired at the end of his or her contract. At the end of his/her apprenticeship, the student also benefits from the significant professional experience he/she has gained.

The cost of this training is borne by the employer and the government of the Alsace Region of France. The apprentice does not pay any specific fees and is also exempt from the training registration fee.

Apprentice’s presence in a company and at the university

On-campus program

In the first semester, apprentices begin their training with a three-week computer refresher course. Thereafter, students attend classes at the University for the first three days of the week, after which they spend two days working in their host companies.

In the second semester, students spend three days in their host company, followed by two days of class at the University. Companies can thus offer students longer and, therefore, more experience-rich assignments than those acquired during a conventional internship. This training is beneficial for students, the host company, and University.

Distance learning program

During the entire course period from September to mid-June, students work in their host companies every day of the week: a full day and four half-days of work per week. Distance learning courses takes place four times a week, from 15:00 onwards. Three times a year, students could attend an on-campus meeting in Strasbourg. These three-day sessions take place in October, March, and June.

Monitoring the apprentice in the host company

The apprenticeship contract requires the creation of an apprenticeship journal. The purpose of this journal is to allow for academic and administrative monitoring of apprentices, in conjunction with host companies and the CFA University of Alsace, and must set out the apprentice’s training plan.

At the beginning of the apprenticeship contract (around November), the university tutor and host company draw up a training plan in the presence of the apprentice, which is subsequently co-signed by all three 3 parties. The training plan determines and fixes:

    • The tasks and missions of the apprentice in the host company
    • The provisional calendar
    • Skills to be acquired
    • The rate the apprentice will be payed


During this first appointment, an initial report is made on:

    • the progress and development of the tasks entrusted to the apprentice


    • the main difficulties encountered and solutions to be implemented


    • the behavior of the apprentice


    • the in-company tutor’s observations


    • the apprentice’s observations


  • the university tutor’s observations

Before the end of the apprenticeship (towards the end of June), a second report, containing the same criteria, will be required. It will enable the university tutor, in-company tutor, and apprentice to take stock of the work done within the host company.

Cross-border apprenticeships in the CAWEB Master’s

The local governments of Alsace region in France, and the Baden-Württemberg region in Germany, have set up an apprenticeship system for students from the border area between France and Germany.

In this way, students in the second year of the CAWEB Master’s degree can do the practical part of their training in an apprenticeship at a host company in Baden-Württemberg or Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

More information on cross-border apprenticeships.

They talk about it

In 2014, I choose the work-study program of the master for the second year. It was quite easy for me to find a relevant host company in strasbourg and its environs in this field. For the whole year I worked as a webmarketing assistant at the Cuisines Schmidt factory, a very wellknown brand of kitchen furniture. It was my first experience in an office. I strongly recommend this Master’s program because it is a real first job experience that can make the difference on a resume. Moreover it allows you to put into practice the knowledge you got from the master and to understand how the business world works. By being part of the marketing team at Schmidt, I got very lucky since a lot of responsabilities were entrusted to me. It was a real challenge that I overcame with success

Noemie Chaigneau