Alternation in communication, the win-win solution – episode #1

The work-study program is a win-win solution, both for the company and for the apprentice. 🙌 But are you really up to date on the procedures and conditions for setting up this very specific CDD? Students and employers, the team We Are COM - in partnership withISCOM - gives you an overview of the work-study program. Communication professionals and apprentices will share their experiences with you. 🤓

Alternation, why? 

Help the young people. Help the little ones. Because the little ones will become big. Young people will have the seeds you put in their minds, and when they grow up they will change the world.

Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba

🎓 You are a student ? The work-study program will allow you to combine theoretical and practical teaching, to develop operational communication skills. Professional experience will greatly benefit your employability for your professional integration. Finally, you will be paid by the company that will host you during your work-study program.

👊 Are you an employer? A work-study program is the tailor-made solution if you want to strengthen your team and provide it with new skills and resources. This type of contract makes it possible to anticipate retirements, to facilitate the internal mobility of employees, or even to balance the age pyramid within your company. The super positive point? The apprentice is a low-cost talent, which you could recruit after having trained it in your company. 

Alternation in Communication: feedback from PROs ????

An expert in human resources as well as a tutor-alternating pair share their testimony here. Fariza Imel Beki is HR Manager at La Poste group, as for Florence assal et Oceane Aparicio, they are respectively Associate Director and work-study project manager, within the event communication agency Evidence.

👋 Hello to all three! First of all, could you tell us about each of your jobs?

Fariza Imel Beki: After a fairly classic career in human resources, having brought me to both private and public sector companies, I now work within the La Poste group. My day-to-day missions consist of managing HR projects, as well as developing the skills of managers and employees to always enable them to become more efficient. The key issues remain training and recruitment. Today, work-study training stands out as a theme in its own right.

Océane Aparicio: I am in 5th and last year at ISCOM, a communication school that I joined post-baccalaureate. I have been doing my work-study program as an assistant project manager within the agency specializing in events communication Évidence, since the start of the last school year.

Florence Assal: As for me, after having worked with large communication groups, I founded Évidence 13 years ago. Our DNA is simple: “ we work with people we love and for people we love. »Events communication is a profession of passion. It is for us capital to put heart and truth in each of our events. This is why at Évidence we are also a speaking coach and training organization, thanks to the “enneagram” personal development tool, which we use for our seminars.

🎯 Florence, why and since when have you favored work-study programs at Évidence?

FA : When I founded this agency, I was on my own. Gradually, I surrounded myself with collaborators; however, even though we do handle large events, it is a small structure that tends to remain so. I would say that work-study is the real solution. First of all, it allows for relative financial flexibility. In addition, it is an intelligent recruitment method: if the work-study candidate proves his worth and the feeling passes, then why not offer him a permanent contract? Finally, work-study training represents a true moral contract of exchange and transmission, a win-win solution. As an employer, Océane brings me fresh air, novelty, youth, and a very particular vision of social networks for example. As a tutor, I hope to bring her significant experience, concrete skills and both professional and personal development.

🎓 Océane, and you, why did you choose the work-study program?

OA: As far as I'm concerned, the choice was made quite quickly. ISCOM offers its students internship opportunities throughout the course, however I found this solution frustrating. In 2, 4 or 6 months, it is often complicated to complete a project. While in work-study program, we have the chance to be able to follow it and contribute to it from A to Z. In addition, after 4 years of studies, it was important for me to get a taste of the business world. I had a real desire, even a need to get into the concrete. Finally, we must not forget that communication is an extremely competitive sector, where the work-study contract constitutes a significant asset both for experience and for the professional network that we manage to build up.

👀 Fariza, how do you perceive work-study training as an HR expert? What are the returns?

F. IB. : Work-study programs have now become a major issue for companies. As Florence says so well, beyond the contractual aspects, this practice has really become commonplace. In addition to the obvious benefits for the student, note that the work-study program greatly contributes to the optimization of the employer brand image. Employer attractiveness is an area that should no longer be overlooked.

I would say that what stands out above all is the nobility of the mission. The work-study program is an intergenerational transmission of knowledge and skills, where each company supports a young person towards the job market. It is exciting to see how this practice is becoming more democratic: everything is extremely well studied to facilitate this access to professionalization. To summarize, work-study training is a “win-win” collaboration aimed at optimizing integration into the world of work. 

✅ Florence, what are your missions as a tutor?

FA: The first and the main mission of any tutor is the incarnation of the duty of transmission. Ban the alternation-café, the mission must be generous! It is essential that the support of the student is maximum, the latter must come out of the experience grown and ready to face the job market. I regularly say to my work-study student: " it's you who do your work-study ". Show that you want and you will have responsibilities. Today, Océane manages budgets, clients and projects at the same time. Even if we are left behind, it is important to give autonomy to the apprentices who have been able to show us that they are capable of it.

OA: Yes, it is indeed a virtuous circle. The more we measure up, the more responsibilities we have. And the more responsibilities we have, the more we care about deserving. You have to reaffirm your desire to do well every day.

FA: To illustrate this point, I would cite a concrete example: recently, Océane intervened as an expert journalist for a digital event with more than 3000 connected. Why ? Because she had succeeded in proving to us that she had the desire and the capacities.

OA: Alternation forges. It is important to build on your experiences. I never had a journalistic vocation, but everything is good to take. Future work-study students, never have limits: dare to say "yes" to everything! 

🙏 Fariza, how do human resources support tutors-work-study pairs?

F. IB. : Within the La Poste group, we are committed to training tutors through tips and kits. It seems essential to us to equip them and to support them in their collaboration with the students. With regard to work-study students, we organize a welcome morning every year to involve them in the life of the company and its strategies. Very recently, we have created our own community of work-study students, so that they can maintain contact with each other. In general, the role of HR experts is to always remain present and available.

🤓 Océane, how are you living your work-study year?

OA: I live it very well because I am constantly learning. It is very pleasant to have the opportunity to bridge the gap between theoretical education and practical experience. Every Friday, I take my courses at ISCOM, it's reassuring to review some basics and strengthen them with other theoretical contributions before fully entering the world of work.

🤔 And what are the differences between work-study and an internship?

OA: The major difference lies in the duration. The internship is shorter, generally 6 months maximum. Also, when we begin to understand the issues and practices of a business, we must already leave it. Responsibilities flow from duration. The internship is the right solution to find your way. It allows you to explore several areas to refine your professional orientation. While the alternation comes after: it validates a choice and initiates. It is more focused on the concrete.

F. A .: For my part, and quite honestly, I no longer take an intern today. This represents a colossal investment, the energy deployed cannot be profitable in such a short period of time. When an intern becomes operational and finally understands the processes and workings of the agency, then we must let him go. 

F. IB. : I will deal more with the regulatory aspect. Even if they can prove to be complementary, the internship and the work-study program are fundamentally different. The missions, responsibilities and challenges are not the same. The internship represents the discovery, the alternation the realization. One requires an agreement, the other a real contract. Finally, something not to be overlooked, the work-study worker enjoys remuneration, and therefore a bonus.

📆 In an agency, Florence and Océane, what does a typical day look like?

OA: In an event communication agency, there is no such thing as a typical day. We are very "to-do-list", but the unforeseen remains daily. We must constantly demonstrate adaptability according to the evolution of current projects, supplier constraints and customer requirements. Added to this is a bit of accounting and administration.

FA: Indeed, it is the productions that punctuate our days. I make sure that calmer periods can counterbalance the intense moments, the rushes. In communication, you have to know how to be a real Swiss army knife, to be very flexible in order to move from one subject to another in an instant. Océane performs extremely varied assignments: proofreading a client script, coaching meeting, presentation, budget, etc.

🔎 Fariza, what are the steps to take for a business? What are the obligations ?

F. IB. : There is no particular approach. Any private sector company can sign an apprenticeship contract or a professionalization contract. As for the obligations, they are as follows:

  • The company must provide work-study programs in relation to the objectives of the student's training, missions in accordance with the education provided. It should be kept in mind that the work-study student validates his achievements at the end of his contract.
  • The company must respect the pace of the work-study student, between pursuing their courses and their professional availability. Depending on the training organization, these rhythms may vary.
  • The company has an obligation to support the work-study student, through a tutor or an apprenticeship master. The signed pair's contract is then sent to the OPCO in order to guarantee its coverage.

✅ Océane and Florence, what is the application process for students looking for a work-study program? What tips would you give them?

OA: On the one hand, you can submit spontaneous applications to find the work-study program of your dreams by targeting the companies that interest you in particular. On the other hand, you can apply for vacancies through recruitment sites like Also consider that there are many groups on social networks, relaying specific offers. Regarding event communication, Facebook provides groups such as " the wonderful world of communications and events " or " employment, internship, work-study: mutual aid communication and media ».

FA: On the recruiting side, it is important to obey certain rules to optimize your chances of being hired. First of all, banish mistakes from your CVs. When I see the slightest fault, it's trash! If you are not able to write correctly, to reread yourself or to have yourself reread, especially for a future communicator, it is because the will is not there. For the cover letter, avoid the ready-made formulas "sir, madam, I like events ..." You must seduce your future employer by presenting your professional project and your inspirations. So take your head, do your research, find the right words ...

Then most often the phone call comes: be nice and dynamic. If you couldn't answer, call back as soon as possible. Responsiveness is an essential quality in communication. Finally, when it all leads to an interview: be chic and enthusiastic. It is important to show the company that it is not just anybody in your eyes. And above all, make yourself available. When recruiting Océane was in the south of France. When I asked her when we could meet, she said "tomorrow". It made all the difference.

💡 What advice would you give to those who want to get started, future tutors and future apprentices?

OA: I know a lot of students can get bored of lessons. To those who are reluctant to give up, I would say: " do an additional year in alternation to finish with a Master 2! You are not another year away, this experience is worth 1000 times it ».

FA: My advice to future work-study students would be as follows: if a recruiter refuses your application despite a good feeling during the interview, do not hesitate to take the opportunity to ask him if he knows another professional who may be interested in your profile. As for my recommendations for future tutors, take ISCOM work-study students. I am absolutely not paid by this establishment, 😀 but personally, after 12 years of tests I know that I will no longer choose my work-study students elsewhere. On the one hand, this school is flexible for the company, on the other hand, their support, both for pros and apprentices, is TOP.

F. IB. : I think it has all been said. I would give one final tip regarding the recruiting process. Whether it is to ingest an agency or an advertiser, do not hesitate to visit the site dedicated to students, on which many companies publish jobs. Finally, go all out and give yourself the means!

Audience bonus questions 🎁

Professionalization contract or apprenticeship contract?

OA: I was a little lost myself, the easiest way is to see this directly with the company.

After how long can it be considered that an unanswered application is negative?

FA: Whether the response is positive or negative, the company should respond out of respect for you. If this is not the case, and beyond the 15 days, tell yourself that this company would not have lived up to the support expected for a work-study program.

Can we do a work-study program within an association?

F. IB. : Yes.

Can we do a work-study program at the age of 26?

F. IB. : This is possible under a professionalization contract, for job seekers. There are also certain exemptions for resuming studies, in which case you should check with the schools. They will support you in your efforts.

Administrative bonuses to see more clearly (I.e.

Alternation, how does it work?

Alternation is a training system in which periods of theoretical education are combined with periods of implementation in the company: this is the principle of “alternation”. There are two work-study contracts.

☝️ On the one hand, there is the apprenticeship contract, which concerns initial training (diploma or professional title). That is to say that the work-study program is set up for the duration of the theoretical training, until the graduation. ✌️ On the other hand, the professional contract concerns continuing education (qualification).

The apprenticeship contract can be terminated by either of the two parties during the first 45 days.

Work-study, how much does it cost for the employer?

Until December 31, 2021, hiring assistance is paid to the employer. LThe sum is 5000 euros for an apprentice under 18, and 8000 euros for an apprentice over 18. This assistance concerns training courses ranging from CAP to BAC +5. Are you an employer? You will be able to take advantage of this advantage if your company has less than 250 employees. If your employees are more numerous, the aid can be paid back to you on condition that you respect the quota of 5% of work-study students, within your company.

The cost of work-study recruitment
Concrete case of work-study recruitment

Some industry figures?

  • 13% work-study contracts concern the retail sector.
  • 40% apprenticeship contracts in the private sector are signed in addition each year.
  • all the regions are recruiting, even the French overseas departments and territories. However, the majority of contracts concern Ile-de-France, Auvergne Rhône-Alpes and New Aquitaine.
  • 66% work-study programs concern SMEs with 0 to 49 employees.
  • 15% work-study programs concern companies with more than 1000 employees.
Breakdown of work-study contracts, compared to the level of qualification in 2020
Fariza Ymele Leki

Fariza Ymele Leki,

HR manager of La Poste Group

Florence assal

Florence Assall,

Director of Events Agency Evidence and Training / Coach to speak out

Oceane Aparicio

Oceane Aparicio,

Assistant event project manager at Evidence

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