Social Policy and Equal Opportunities: they didn’t know if it would be possible but they’ve done it! Montpellier BS has reached the 1,000th apprentice student milestone!


Montpellier BS inaugurated cooperative education as part of its Master Grande École Programme in 1997 by putting into place a national competition specifically dedicated to university students having completed two years of higher education (Bac + 2) and coming from apprenticeships (30 available places). Ten years later, in 2007, thanks to the excellent academic and professional results of the graduates completing this training route, and the growing demand of candidates and businesses, with the support of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, Montpellier BS rolled out cooperative education for all entry paths of its PMGE (Masters in Management Programme). Now on 26 October 2016, the symbolic milestone of 1,000 apprentice students has just been reached and the recruitment period hasn’t finished yet!

It was in 2007/2008 that MBS established the Department of Development and Business Affairs to support development, which, through necessity, later became the main lever for a long-lasting social policy. Today it is made up of 17 employees. Among them, nine people make up the team of cooperative education advisors, headed by Laurence Flinois, who is more specifically in charge of supporting the students coming from different programmes on their quest for success at all times during their studies. The rest of the team’s mission is dealing with businesses to define and formalise annual recruitment plans according to the types of profile needed and roles available, particularly with the big recruiters, and to ensure they operate according to the procedures established by Montpellier Business School.

“On average, a cooperative education advisor manages around 250 students who are looking for, or already under, a contract. The advisor is also in contact with the apprenticeship mentors and the HR supervisors or managers when monitoring each apprentice student (integration, training, support, annual professional assessment interviews, etc.), acting as a sort of bridge between the student and the business”, says Laurence Flinois, head of cooperative education. “We adapt our advice to the professional maturity of each student looking for a placement, and of course to their education level! Some need more contact, sometimes even coaching, to avoid becoming discouraged; others sometimes need a more flexible approach, as opposed to a rigid view of the sectors and professions, or their own abilities. We are not there to place them but to give them all the tools and support necessary to open up a world of possibilities in a sometimes strained market.”

Training on social networks, relationships with graduates or the students currently on apprenticeship placements, methodological tools, understanding of issues and arguments – everything is given to the students so that they know how to sell themselves to the business that matches their career plans. “80% of our students join the major groups and around 20% join SMEs, both in France and abroad! Thanks to their motivation, the preferred aprenticeship timetable chosen by the businesses (three weeks at work, one week at the school), and our relationships with the businesses and our network of graduates, this month we have just reached 1,000 apprentice students. But we still have to push forward!” she urged.

Because apprenticeship is a demanding approach requiring excellence, because Montpellier Business School is the first advocate in favour of equal opportunities and diversity, because businesses need young managers in training, the whole apprenticeship team is here to help you end this mission on a high note!

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