Work-study in France

Apprenticeship

An apprenticeship contract is an employment contract which legally binds together 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.

Work-study programs are offered for both the on-campus and distance learning programs.

Conditions for becoming an apprentice

Age

The apprentice must be between 16 and 25 years of age at the start date of the contract. However, since January 2017, the age limit has been extended to 30 years.

Nationality

The candidate must be a citizen of the European Union or hold a valid work permit. For students who are not EU citizens and have already been enrolled in a French university, 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 practical experience throughout the academic year.

The apprentice is paid, which allows him/her to finance his/her studies. He/she maintains the advantages of keeping student status, 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 taken care of 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 registration fee.

In a company and at University

On-campus program

In the first semester, students start the week with 2,5 days of class, after which they spend 2,5 days working in their host companies.
In the second semester, starting in February, the pace reverses (2.5 days of work and then 2.5 days of class).
Companies can offer students long assignments and therefore richer in experience than those acquired during an internship.

Distance learning program

During the entire course period from September to mid-June, the student works every day of the week: a full day and four half-days.
Distance learning courses take place four times a week from 6 p.m. onwards.
Three times a year, students attend a group meeting in Strasbourg. These three-day gatherings 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.

For more information about apprenticeship in France, you can download the following resources:

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