Students who choose ESC Pau can opt for our nationally renowned apprenticeship programme. Half of the Masters level Grande Ecole students and a third of the Bachelor students are apprentices. They alternate periods studying at the Business School with periods working in the company that has recruited them as an apprentice. This means they can put directly into practice what is learnt in class, quickly develop both personally and professionally and thus optimise their employability. It is a winning and reassuring formula, especially given that ESC Pau is the uncontested leader for apprenticeship programmes among the French Grandes Ecoles.
Along with ESSEC in Paris, ESC Pau was the first French Grande Ecole Business School to have set up an apprenticeship programme in 1994 thanks to the support of the Aquitaine Regional Council and the enthusiasm of major international companies located in and around Pau. This support and interest has since gone from strength to strength, meaning that today more than 50% of our Masters level students are apprentices in companies throughout France.
A passport for employment
The apprenticeship programme is demanding. Students need to have a solid work ethic and be able to “lead two lives simultaneously”, both as a student meeting the academic requirements of a Grande Ecole and as an employee who is expected to rise professionally to the challenging and important missions given by their company manager. But it is really worth it! The programme allows our apprentices to confront theory with practice on a permanent basis. This is a powerful argument for future recruiters especially since our apprentices study electives directly linked to the job they are doing. The critical thinking skills that naturally ensue from this, means our apprentices quickly and constantly develop their professional maturity and assurance. There is also a strong feeling of satisfaction and achievement because students are able to realise a professional ambition nurtured since joining the School. And finally, the apprenticeship programme is an amazing passport to employment, with 55% of our apprentices being offered a full-time position by their company even before the programme has finished.
Individual student support
ESC Pau is reputed for the quality of its student support system, which is also a key factor of the success of the apprenticeship programme. Each year, the School offers more than 250 apprenticeship positions. These positions are negotiated exclusively with our corporate partners for our Bachelor and Masters students. Candidates for a place on the apprenticeship programme are coached throughout the recruitment process. Help is given with writing CVs and applications, and mock job interviews are organised. To top it all, thanks to the strong relations with our corporate partners, it is the companies that come directly to the school to recruit our candidates, which is a true vote of confidence.
French Chartered Accountancy now possible as an apprentice
Since 2014, it has been possible to combine our excellent and renowned Chartered Accountancy / Auditing track with the apprenticeship programme. Apprentices prepare the 7 units required to obtain the French Diplôme Supérieur de Compatbilité et de Gestion (French equivalent of Chartered Accountancy), of which 5 units are obtained automatically. The big advantage is that students do this whilst working in reputable audit and accountancy firms.