If you’re interested in getting some work experience in France, it’s worth noting that some of the best opportunities come through formal internships or stages en entreprises. These tend to be pretty structured, offered by large and small organisations alike and can take place during vacations or once your degree is finished. In fact, for a lot of French students, internships are an integral part of their degree programme, which means that employers expect to see them on the CV, and they will frequently be a pre-requisite to securing a permanent role. They are managed through a formal tripartite agreement signed by student, university and employer and provide a certain guarantee in terms of the kind of work you will do as well as how you will be supported during the experience. For some positions, particularly with certain prestigious government departments, internships are restricted to those studying at certain approved French universities, but the majority of internships are open to LSE students.
What a convention de stage covers
As with all areas of employment in France, the legislation around stages is quite controlled, and the government sets out certain key elements that any agreement should cover. These include:
- details of the tasks that are going to be assigned to the intern
- dates and duration of the internship
- the hours which the intern is going to work each week, including any Sunday, night or holiday work
- the amount and method of remuneration
- any benefits the intern will receive (staff canteen or restaurant vouchers, accommodation, expenses etc.)
- requirements in terms of social security (i.e. health) cover and personal liability insurance
- arrangements for providing support to the intern during the internship
- how the internship will be validated or certified(particularly if a necessary part of the degree)
- any formalities around suspending or cancelling the internship
- conditions around any absences from work
- the organisation’s internal procedures as they apply to the intern
- the educational/training element of the internship
One of the largest student unions in France has produced a Guide des droits du stagiaire, and the French government website also provides an overview of everything you need to know about Stage en milieu professionel.
For further information and advice have a look at the Studyrama Emploi website.
If you’re interested in exploring internship opportunities, the Onisep portal is a great starting point as it’s full of advice, highlights issues to be aware of, and lists openings throughout France and across all sectors.
You can access lots of information and articles on internships on the website of Le Figaro newspaper, and they recently published a list of companies with the most satisfied interns, which includes some names that would not necessarily come to the mind of LSE students such as Danone, Orange and Air Liquide.
For current students, LSE has its own draft agreement which we can sign on your behalf. Once you have secured a suitable role, contact us and we’ll send you through the document (available in French and English). Good luck with your applications!