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Work placements
 
     
 

Looking for work placements in France

 
     
  Companies in France are much used to the idea of work placements or ‘stages’ and thus, in our experience, are generally more open to the idea of allowing young people to spend a limited period of time in their premises than their British counterparts.

That said, competition is extremely fierce and you should attempt to find your placement at the very least some six months before you intend coming to France.

‘Stagiaires’ are not usually paid and it would be rare for a French company to offer assistance with accommodation.

If you manage to find a company which accepts to have you as a ‘stagiaire’, you should nevertheless ensure (without appearing ungrateful) that the company has in place an insurance scheme to cover third party liability and other risks which you might encounter in the workplace and that you organise your own personal health and social security cover.

Finding a company which would offer you a placement requires much the same skills as finding a full time job and a practical way (i.e. without even leaving your home town) to find companies which are active in a particular field is to use the on-line version of the French yellow pages www.pagesjaunes.fr

Some of the entries also show an e-mail address but it might be better to write an accompanying letter to your C.V. (here again make sure that the French is of a native speaker level) and send both, by post in the first instance, to those companies you have identified.

You should not, unfortunately, expect a plethora of positive replies and it has been estimated (on a purely non-scientific basis) that only one application out of a hundred is likely to bring a positive response or to lead to a first interview. Thus, if you achieve a better ratio than this, you are definitely doing something right; and if you are disappointed not to have received even an acknowledgment after only 3 or 4 letters, then keep writing and increase the odds of achieving your goal.

The British Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Lille is unfortunately unable to offer any direct assistance or individual advice in finding a placement to individuals; but we would nevertheless suggest you persevere as many of our more active members started as ‘stagiaires’.