Work-study recruitment: best practices

recrutement alternance

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Whether it’s an apprenticeship or professionalization program, work-study programs are booming! With 495,000 contracts signed in 2020, apprenticeship has seen a historic increase of 40% in the space of a year, according to the Dares.

Professionalization is also booming. According to travail-emploi.gouv, the number of new professionalization contracts registered since 2021 is up 44.2% compared to 2020.

It must be said that work-study programs are not lacking in advantages for companies! In this article, we detail the best practices for successful work-study recruitment.

Work-study recruitment: why use an apprentice?


There are many reasons to hire an apprentice to expand your team.

The most obvious advantage: the cost. Hiring an apprentice is more economical than hiring an employee (whether on a permanent or fixed-term contract). Numerous measures have been put in place by the government to allow companies to recruit young people on work-study programs at a lower cost! For example, there are exemptions or reductions in payroll taxes, hiring aids, exceptional bonuses…

💡 As part of its “1 young person, 1 solution” plan, the government has implemented since summer 2020 a hiring aid concerning apprenticeship contracts. This offers companies an exceptional aid ranging from 5000 to 8000 € on apprenticeship contracts concluded between July 2020 and December 2021.

It should be noted, however, that the cost of an apprenticeship can vary significantly depending on the candidate’s profile. Depending on the number of diplomas, age, specialty or type of contract chosen (apprenticeship or professionalization), the remuneration may vary. Do not hesitate to carry out a simulation on the work-study portal proposed by the Ministry of Labor.

Another significant advantage common to the recruitment of juniors is the fresh look at the company/sector and the innovative approach. Lulled by new technologies since childhood, Generation Z can help rejuvenate a company’s image or help it reach a younger audience. Thanks to their training, work-study students can also increase a team’s skills thanks to their mastery of a tool, a trendy web language, etc.

Opting for a work-study recruitment also allows you to train a young talent to the specificities of your company (its culture, its sector, its methods…) on the medium term, while keeping the possibility to hire him/her at the end of his/her training. A way to quickly hire an employee who is already operational and motivated!

Professionalization VS apprenticeship: what are the differences?

Apprenticeship and professionalization both allow students to perfect their training with a base of technical and behavioral skills, thanks to theoretical training in school and practical training in a company. However, in detail, these two contracts differ and have their own objectives and conditions.

The apprenticeship contract is part of initial training. It provides a framework for training with a diploma vocation and is intended for students aged 16 to 30 (29 years old), since the reform of the “Professional Future” law published in September 2018.

Note that some minors aged 15 can obtain a waiver to access the apprenticeship. The age limit does not apply to disabled workers and candidates for the creation or takeover of a business subject to obtaining a diploma or title.
More specifically, the professionalization contract is part of continuing education. It is designed to lead to qualifications and concerns young people aged 16 to 25. Its objective is to enable them to acquire a professional qualification to complement their initial training.

Note that the professionalization contract is open without age limit to jobseekers aged 26 and over registered with Pôle Emploi, to recipients of minimum social benefits or to disabled workers.

For more information, see this article from the public service dedicated to the differences between these two contracts.


How to successfully recruit work-study students?


Are you determined to recruit a work-study student? That’s great! Here are some essential steps to take:

Define your needs


To be relevant, a recruitment must meet your needs. So start by defining your company’s needs before you start looking for the perfect candidate!

Once you have defined your recruitment needs, define the ideal profile required for your position. What are the essential skills (both technical and behavioral) you need? And he desired work-study rhythm? What will be the missions entrusted to your future employee? Try to be as specific as possible!

💡 Many organizations can assist you in your search for work-study students. These include consular chambers, the Regional Council, the Organismes Paritaires Collecteurs Agréés, the Centres de Formation d’Apprentis (CFA)…

Develop partnerships with certain schools and specialized training


You don’t recruit a work-study student in the same way as you would a seasoned executive. To find the rare pearl among the many applications (remember that work-study recruitment is very popular among students), think about contacting the pedagogical advisors of the schools you are targeting! Also, don’t hesitate to participate in the various student-professional meetings organized by these schools.

Take care of your online presence


To target digital natives and modernize your image, consider strengthening your presence on social networks! According to this infographic by Digimind, 80% of 15-24 year olds use Snapchat on a daily basis, and 69% of them use Instagram. Use these platforms to present your jobs and your teams, to highlight your internal events, to draw team portraits… In short: to help your future talents project themselves in your company!

💡 Taking care of your digital communication can help you consolidate your employer brand. Opt for an attractive career site that reflects your values. Communicate on the working atmosphere in your premises or on the reason for your company’s existence… All these actions will allow candidates to identify (or not) with you.

To learn more about recruiting on social networks, please read our dedicated article.

Write a job offer that looks like you


Milennials are sensitive to the values of their potential employers. According to a Michael Page barometer, 77% of 18-34 year olds consider it essential for them to work in an ethical company. If your company has a particular project, consider mentioning your commitment in your job offer! Also, clearly indicate the values that unite your employees and the qualities you are looking for in your recruits.

Work-study recruitment: 3 good practices to adopt

  • Pay particular attention to the candidate’s motivation and willingness to learn. A work-study student is a raw talent whose potential can be developed… as long as he or she shows a genuine desire to learn!
  • According to the same principle, take the time during your recruitment process to evaluate the behavioral skills of candidates. In order to blossom and grow within a company, a work-study student must be curious and easily adaptable, proactive and willing…
  • Don’t forget to take care of the onboarding of the student within your company, by preparing his or her integration process in advance. Take the time to present to your new employee how your company works. Also its organization chart, its teams, its missions and current challenges…

In conclusion, take care of your work-study recruitment


Whether it’s an apprenticeship or professionalization program, work-study programs are an excellent way for a company to gain access to high-potential young talent. Thanks to the numerous aids provided by the State, the recruitment of work-study students allows a company to preserve its cash flow. All this, while filling recruitment needs!

The biggest challenge for a company is to find the rare pearm. The person who will be able to grow and make its teams grow. To be able to dedicate time to the recruitment of your young talents, think of equipping yourself with a recruitment software.

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