In September 2013, the local governments of the Alsace and Baden-Württemberg regions signed a Franco-German convention to facilitate the training of young French and German people in the Upper Rhine region.
For example, students enrolled in the second year of a CAWEB Master’s degree can carry out the practical part of their apprenticeships as part of cross-border apprenticeship contracts with host companies located in the Upper Rhine region.
Which areas are covered by the Upper Rhine territory?
The Upper Rhine territory includes the entire Alsace region as well as part of the Länder of Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate.
What are the terms and conditions for an apprenticeship in Germany?
In order to benefit from cross-border apprenticeships, students must:
- Be enrolled in the second year of the CAWEB Master’s degree (whether on-campus or in distance learning)
- Speak German and/or possess a high level of proficiency in German
- Have found a suitable host company in the Upper Rhine area (west of Baden-Württemberg or in the south of Rhineland-Palatinate)
- Be under 30 years of age when signing the apprenticeship contract.
Of course, the apprenticeship must relate to at least one of the fields taught in the Master’s program.
How does cross-border apprenticeship work?
The apprentice signs a full-time apprenticeship contract with his/her host company (full-time in Germany is about 40 hours/week). The three parties involved (i.e. the host company, the University of Strasbourg, and the student) sign a partnership agreement with the University Apprenticeship Training Centre (CFAU Alsace).
In terms of organization, cross-border apprenticeships function in much the same way as in France. The practical part takes place within the German host company and the theoretical part is provided by the University of Strasbourg. Courses take place at the University’s premises for on-campus students and remotely for distance learning students.
As with any apprenticeship, holidays are to be taken during the practical part, i.e. during days spent working in the host companies. Since university holidays are spent entirely on host company premises, it is possible to take leave during this period. Leave should not be taken during the theoretical part of the training.
Salary and status of the cross-border apprentice
Cross-border apprentices are subject to German labor law. He/she has the same right to annual leave as the other employees in his/her host company.
Cross-border apprentices are no longer considered students under the German Social Security system. Apprentices now have the status of cross-border worker and can no longer be affiliated to a student social security. However, apprentices are still valid holders of student cards, and can still take advantage of the many advantages offered to students through this system.
Despite the introduction of a minimum wage in Germany, apprentices in training cannot benefit from it. An apprentice’s salary shall therefore be agreed upon with the employer, by mutual agreement upon signing of the apprenticeship contract. Generally speaking, host companies refer to collective agreements in force in the professional domain they operate in, or to the remuneration rate for interns (often around 700 and 800 euros per month) when determining appropriate remuneration for apprentices.
Whether an apprentice is attending courses or working in a host company situated in France or Germany, the apprentice must be insured on both sides of the border.
The cross-border apprentice benefits from the same social protection and accident insurance as other employees of the host company. Before the beginning of the apprenticeship, the employer must register the apprentice with a German health insurance company of his/her choice. Both the apprentice and his/her employer contribute to the cost of the insurance.
The apprentice then receives the German equivalent of the French Health Insurance card “Carte Vitale”, also known as the Gesundheitskarte. He/she can also have the European Health Insurance Card (europäische Krankenversicherungskarte) on the back of his/her Gesundheitskarte, which enables him/her to certify his/her entitlement to health insurance and on-the-spot health cover in EU member states.
When registering with a German medical insurance company, the apprentice must ask the fund to provide him/her with an E106 (formerly S1) form. He/she must then send it to the National Health Insurance Scheme in France (CPAM), which will be his/her French health insurance fund, in order to link his/her French and German health insurance funds. The apprentice must keep his/her social security card or the ‘Carte Vitale’, which will be updated to suit his/her professional situation.
Thus, the apprentice can be insured on both sides of the Rhine and will be able to claim medical benefits in both France and Germany.
University of Strasbourg apprenticeship learning officer:
+33 3 68 85 61 59
Cross-border learning officers:
+33 (0)3 67 68 01 00
+33 (0)3 67 68 01 00
University Apprenticeship Training Centre (CFAU):
+33 3 89 33 33 65 90
My company is located in Karlsruhe, Germany. This is where I decided to do my Master 2 remotely. I am a “Mediengestalterin” (media designer) in an advertising agency. My job consists of creating various print media (flyers, posters, etc.) and developing and maintaining CMS websites. Being immersed in Germany is an ideal way to perfect your language skills as well as those related to the digital world, all of this in a professional context.
Elodie Chosson, Print and Digital Media Designer – Mediengestalterin in Print und Digital