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Contract of apprenticeship or qualification contract: which to choose?

alternately The adventure tempts you but you do not get to know what formula responds most to your project and your expectations. Access conditions, goals, compensation, rhythm, accompaniment Everything you need to know about these two contracts before making his choice.


As part of a sandwich course, you have to sign a tripartite agreement with the school and the company that greet you. Contract of apprenticeship or professional training contract? That is the question ! Let’s be honest: you do not always have the opportunity to choose between the two – most schools offer only one or the other and some companies have a preference – but that does not stop to get to know them. Do not they say that alternating forewarned is forearmed?

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Contracts for youth training

As the apprenticeship contract as professional contract are aimed at young people aged 16 to 25 who prepare a diploma recognized by the State or seek a professional qualification. These contracts can be signed at all levels of education: CAP, Professional Bac, but BTS, license or master Thus, the post-Bac students now constitute a third of alternating and both universities and large schools competing proposals to attract this type of profiles. Another reality that contrasts with the usual clichés: the proportion of girls alternately keeps increasing. They represent about a third of apprentices in the market and almost half in the public sector.

Companies: spoiled for choice

In theory, all private sector companies can host a student alternates, including temporary employment agencies. This opens a wide field of possibilities! And if the alternation has long limited to crafts, industry or construction, other sectors open to it massively, such as trade, hotels and tourism and communication. Especially as the cash companies more than 250 employees are required by the state: those who do not respect a proportion of 4% alternating sanctioned by a fine and, conversely, good students are rewarded. Remember that it is also possible to its alternation in government or a local authority, but only if they have signed a contract of apprenticeship. The contracts of professionalisation can only target the industrial and commercial public establishments (Epic) and the shipowning companies.

In all cases, a written contract is signed between the young, the school and the employer. The duration of the contract may vary according to its nature: between 1 and 3 years for an apprenticeship between 6 months and 2 years for a professional contract. However, the organization of the training is based on the same principle of alternating periods of courses and presence in business periods. Thus, considered both as a student and as an employee, enjoys the benefits of alternating one – access to tariff reductions, restaurants and university accommodation, scholarships – and the other – remuneration, social protection, leave Note that the alternate is issued by the state a "student card trades", symbolizing the dual membership. However, it should be remembered that graduation is conditioned by passing exams. Learning is definitely the royal road to a CDI!

Work or continue their studies: the aims a priori different

Choosing your contract depends mostly on what you want to do after your alternation period. The apprenticeship contract is the graduation of secondary or higher education, for a title approved by the State (State diploma, title RNCP, as an engineer ), meaning in theory that can be followed and complemented by other studies As for the professional contract, it was originally created to help young people under 26 years with no special qualifications, to complete their initial training and to fit more easily into the world of work. While it is reaching out to a wider range of students, it keeps the professional purpose. And it will be harder to continue your education, especially if you have got a qualification but non-degree training.

One foot in the company, or one and a half!

At different purposes, different organizations. Since he turned to professional integration, the professional contract tends to favor the presence of the student company. Thus, in this formula, the theoretical training shall not exceed 25% of training time with a minimum of 150 hours, while for the apprenticeship contract, the limit is 50%.

This tends to lead to allocation of time and sometimes rhythms, different: for the professional contract, it is not uncommon to make a current week for three weeks in business, when in learning, it is more common to alternate each week. Moreover, the two formulas do not provide the same guidance to the student. In the apprenticeship contract, the presence of a guardian or teacher learning justifying a good professional experience is mandatory, while for a professional contract, it is optional – although it is often provided in practice .

Different remuneration

Because the student professional contract is more present within the company and that it is often older he gets a higher salary than the apprentice. A precision however: apprentices are virtually exempt from social charges and thus their net salary equivalent to the gross salary, which is not the case for the professional contract for which it takes about 20% difference between gross and net

Here are two tables summarizing the different salary levels for both contracts (based on the gross wage of 1 January 2016).

Who can undertake a professional contract?

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