Apprenticeship at CERN

In 1961, based on the finding that the evolution of the labour market created a growing need for qualified staff, a first agreement between the Republic and Canton of Geneva and CERN was signed. One of the objectives of this agreement was the vocational training of young electronics and physics laboratory technicians.

CERN, an important stakeholder in the local economy, highlighted with this agreement its willingness to participate in the local social and economic development.

The first apprentice arrived at CERN in 1965.

In 1971, the apprenticeship centre was created; it now hosts over twenty apprentices in total and welcomes about six new apprentices each year.

These apprenticeships are for young people aged between 15 and 21 years, coming from one of the CERN Member States, and having completed their mandatory education, e.g. 11th grade in Switzerland or 3ème in France.

The training is divided between working time at CERN and one or two days per week at school (CFPT in Geneva for electronics or EPSIC in Lausanne for physics). At CERN, the apprentices are supervised by professionals from all departments, depending on the areas needed for them to get a solid practical knowledge.

Apprentices are employed by CERN for four years and by the end of this period, are able to obtain the CFC degree (Certificat fédéral de capacité), sometimes combined with a “Maturité professionnelle” or professional matriculation diploma.

Few of them are employed at CERN after their apprenticeship. Most of them find work outside CERN or initiate further training to become technicians or engineers (vocational school, University, HES).

As of August 1, 2016, the apprentices who will begin their training at CERN will have the status of Associated member of Personnel (MPA), or more precisely MPAt (for purpose of training), while their predecessors are Employed members of personnel (MPE). This change of status follows a request from the Permanent Mission of Switzerland to the international organisations, which has identified both differences in treatment in comparison with other CFC apprentices (Swiss federal certificate), as well as other inconsistencies. In concertation with the Staff Association (SA) the Staff Rules and Regulations as well as the Administrative Circular AC 11 have been revised. The SA has requested that this change of status should have no negative impact on the financial and social conditions for future apprentices, and the Organization has formally committed to this. The CERN Council should endorse this change of status in June, following the recommendations of the members of TREF who met in session on May 10. Apprentices who are already employed by CERN before August 1, 2016 will not see any change in their status and benefits.

by Staff Association