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Apprenticeship: Safran stays on course despite the crisis

Human resources

The Covid-19 pandemic has not affected Safran's commitment to the professional integration of young people. Despite the economic crisis, the Group continues to support apprenticeships, and has set itself the goal of recruiting 800 new apprentices during 2020-21. Work-study students Clément, Joséphine and Jérémy share their initial impressions several months after joining the Group.

3D loom : carbon fiber

"An accelerator of professional and human skills", "a first-rate recruitment tool", "a tailored response to business requirements"… these are some of the glowing comments made by twenty or so heads of major French companies and organizations – including Safran – to describe apprenticeships in an article published in August. Their goal: to encourage recruiters to continue their policy of taking on young apprentices in spite of the difficult economic situation.


A win-win system

Safran welcomes several hundred work-study students every year for periods of one to three years, entrusting them with a wide range of assignments across all of its business families. "We strongly believe that work-study is a win-win system for the company and young people alike," explains Nadine Rubenach, Head of Talent Acquisition at Safran. "It enables them to take their first steps in the world of work, discover (or refine) their vocation and acquire genuine professional experience that can open doors to the jobs market for them. From Safran's perspective, we have an opportunity to train a pool of talent to meet our own skills requirements in the geographical areas in which the Group operates. In total, 35% of job roles for young graduates are filled each year by young people trained within the Group in France."


Following his BTS qualification in boiler-making, 20-year-old Clément Helias signed an apprenticeship contract in non-destructive testing near his home in Le Creusot, in a Safran Aircraft Engines factory specializing in machining turbine disks for aircraft engines. "I remember visiting the factory when I was in high school," he says. "I was already interested in aeronautics back then. When I decided to take my degree as a work-study course at the Châlons IUT establishment, I naturally thought of Safran. This experience will enable me to apply the learning I acquired at school, and give me a foothold in the professional world." 


800 new contracts

To promote its activities, professions and work-study contract opportunities, Safran relies on partnerships forged with higher education establishments and training centers. That's how 23-year-old Jérémy Albarado – a final-year student at the Compiègne Technology University's engineering school – found out about an apprenticeship position within the Supplier Performance department of Safran Seats at Issoudun. For her part, Joséphine Panizzoli – also an engineering school student – decided to leverage her personal network to find an apprenticeship at Safran Data Systems* in Les Ulis. "I was worried that with the crisis, there would be a reduced number of positions available," she explains.

It's a concern shared by many young people, and one which Safran is keen to clarify. "It's true that our requirements have decreased because of the crisis affecting the aviation sector," says Nadine. "However, we have committed to welcoming 800 new work-study students for the 2020-2021 school year, which will take the number of active work-study contracts for this period to 1,700. You can't run a professional integration policy on a short-term basis, and we will continue to offer opportunities to young people in preparation for the post-crisis period." 


A well-prepared induction path

Everything is also being done to create a framework that supports the trainees' integration and training: an induction journey, supervision by a trained tutor, regular monitoring throughout the apprenticeship, an end-of-contract assessment; the system has proved popular with the apprentices, as evidenced by the "Youth Engagement" certification awarded to the Group in 2020 in the "Work Environment and Working Conditions", "Image" and "Motivation and Pride" categories. "Since I arrived a month and a half ago, I have been able to meet all the staff in my department and talk to them to find out about the role of Supplier Performance Manager and, in a more general sense, immerse myself in the company's work," explains Jeremy. "I also talked to my tutor about the assignments I could potentially be given starting in January, regarding the department's needs, but also my own expectations. After all, I chose the work-study program so that I could experience the actual situation on the ground, which is something I can't do at school. I think this experience will make my resume stand out, and be useful in helping me to find work afterwards!" 


A great reference

Clément, who had already completed a number of company internships, has also enjoyed his first weeks at Safran: "My tutor took time to introduce me to the whole team and immediately gave me a number of assignments to enable me to learn about the company and its work. The atmosphere is pleasant, my co-workers make themselves available to answer my questions, and help and support one another; it shows that a company can be innovative and technologically demanding, while at the same time showing a human side and caring about the well-being of its employees."

Joséphine has a similar story of satisfaction to tell, having joined the Cortex HDR department as an R&D engineering apprentice at Safran Data Systems. "I'm going to be working on the development of a software application for Cortex HDR, which is a very high-speed receiver for Earth observation satellites," she says with enthusiasm. "This important assignment is exactly in line with my studies, and I'm looking forward to learning more. I'll be able to put what I learn at school to practical use. At the end of my contract in three years' time, I'll have a great reference on my resume and experience that recruiters will recognize." 


*Safran Data Systems is a subsidiary of Safran Electronics & Defense.