Difficult end of the year for tens of thousands of students. To validate a year or a diploma, many seek internships in companies. According to the Ministry of Higher Education, half of the 500,000 internships carried out each year had to be postponed or canceled because of the epidemic of coronavirus. And the deconfinement does not make a miracle: for health or economic reasons, the offers are always rare. The government has planned measures to support students, but they do not concern everyone.
Seeking emergency internship
This galley, Eva thought she did not know it. Student in the final year of BTS Graphic Design in Chaumont, in Haute-Marne, she learned during confinement that the compulsory six-week internship which should enable her to validate her diploma was canceled because it was impossible to program, and her year ended in passing. "I was inevitably panicked. So when I knew that I could validate without internship, I was reassured", explains Eva.
But that was without counting a last-minute turnaround from the rectorate. On Wednesday, Eva received an email indicating that she finally had to do an internship to validate her year. "I find myself having to find an internship in five days ! Yesterday everything was fine, today is a disaster. They are playing with our future! ", Regrets the graphic design student." Even our teacher does not understand this decision. But she's like us, she can't do anything. "
Few offers and many constraints
Eva is therefore looking for an emergency internship, while many companies are still teleworking. "I call everywhere but I only get negative answers. Either because the businesses are closed, or because it's too risky because of the Covid, or because it's beyond the 100 kilometer limit… If I can't find it, I find myself with nothing ", she despairs.
The same goes for Guillaume, a journalism student in Toulouse. "I was on internship at the time of confinement, I couldn't finish it. As a result, I have two weeks to finish my year," said the young man. "I'm actively looking for it and my school reassures me by saying that I can postpone it next year if I don't find it immediately. But companies are not playing the game," he regrets.
A more flexible framework
That's the problem: internships are rare at the moment. "In business, engineering and architecture schools, the number of offers has been cut by two, or even four in certain sectors, compared to last year," said Frank Bournois, director general of the 'ESCP Europe and chairman of the training committee of the Conférence des grandes écoles (CGE). "Companies must maintain as many internships as possible, it is in their interest. The conversion rate to employment is 30%. Today's interns are tomorrow's employees!"
To help students, the Ministry of Higher Education has made some flexibility. They are thus authorized to carry out teleworking internships, when possible. An adaptation which Guillaume however refuses to experiment. "I was offered to continue my teleworking internship. But for me, this must be done in a company, in the field, in contact with the company's trades to learn. Not behind a computer in videoconference", ensures the journalism student.
With regard to internships started before the health crisis or planned during the two months of confinement, a cancellation cannot jeopardize the validation of a diploma. The situation is more complicated for those who have to start in the coming weeks, as is the case with Eva: they should be kept as far as possible. With, here too, however, some adjustments: the deadlines were extended until December 31. But this possibility is not imposed: the decision is up to each rectorate.