The French alternance system
The alternance system is sometimes called block release training in English and is effectively a work/study training programme. It is relatively common in France and allows students to continue their education, while also facilitating their entry into the working world. Thus, it enables a gradual professional integration, improving students’ employability and boosting their CV. This form of employment can also bring about financial benefits for both the employer and employee. The student’s tuition fees are often covered by the company and the company itself is able to access financial aids such as grants or tax credits. This contract normally ends with the student being offered a CDI (permanent contract) with the firm, benefiting both parties. There are two forms of alternance: the contrat d’apprentissage and the contrat de professionnalisation, with the former referring to an initial higher education such as a degree and the latter referring to continued professional training. The different contracts vary in terms of the remuneration, age bracket and duration of the employment. Normally, the alternants will spend 3 days of the working week in the company and the other 2 days in class. The standard 35-hour week will be adhered to, and this will include time spent at school.
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