ESA’s CFA: at the service of young people and business

For more than 20 years, ESA has been developing apprenticeship training with the most important training centre for agricultural apprentices in the Pays de la Loire region. In collaboration with the Pays de la Loire Region and the European Social Fund, ESA’s CFA offers numerous training courses in the life skills sector: Agriculture, agri-food, agro-supply, landscaping, business and distribution, animal husbandry, plant production, horticulture, etc.

An apprenticeship is an encounter between a young person, who wishes to be trained by being close to professional realities, and a company that wishes to transmit its know-how.
The apprenticeship is a real asset for both the company and the apprentice. On the one hand, it allows the apprentice to acquire solid skills by learning on the job while, on the other hand, it allows the company to train its future employees and receive financial support for doing so.

Our eight undertakings in relation to quality

  1. Information: choosing an apprenticeship is choosing a career. In order to support young people in their projects, the CFA organises sessions to validate professional projects and training one day a month, from January to August.
  2. Provision of support: apprenticeship training involves the signing of a contract between the young person and the company, which appoints an apprenticeship supervisor to accompany and support the apprentice throughout his training in liaison with the CFA team.
  3. Collaboration: the key to a successful apprenticeship is good collaboration between the apprentice, the apprenticeship supervisor and the CFA.
  4. Support: the CFA supports apprentices in their progress by providing individual follow-up and methodological guidance.
  5. Communication: the suitability of the training presupposes concertation between the members of the educational team.
  6. Supervision: the educational team, through the continual presence of its trainers, is committed to supervising apprentices both collectively and individually.
  7. Investment: the CFA invests in teaching tools that allow the apprentice to put to use the knowledge acquired at the two training sites.
  8. Openness: the CFA promises every apprentice that he will have the opportunity to make a trip abroad.

For ESA’s CFA, choosing to work in a network means pursuing three main objectives:

  1. facilitating access to apprenticeships by both companies and young people through a better distribution of training opportunities in the territories;
  2. pooling the expertise of different institutions to ensure optimum service; and
  3. Offering a more comprehensive training offer in order to present broader horizons to young people.
  • The training sites in the agricultural lycées (vocational higher secondary schools)

The 22 agricultural lycées of the Pays de la Loire CNEAP (national council of private agricultural educational establishments) are bound together by ESA’s CFA. In particular, the latter is the driving force behind the promotion of a common “quality process” for apprenticeships in a network of 5 lycées.

  • The partnerships

The University of Angers and ESA have joined forces to offer six Professional Degrees through apprenticeship schemes, granted by the University of Angers: Management of business activities, Agronomy (Plant Production ), Landscaping, Animal Husbandry, Marketing and international trade in terroir wines and Management of Agricultural Businesses.

FESIA (Fédération des Ingénieurs pour l’alimentation, l’agriculture et l’environnement – French network for Education and Research in Life Sciences) groups together ESA in Angers, ISARA in Lyon, ISA in Lille and EI PURPAN in Toulouse, four private higher educational establishments under the supervision of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. It enables fifth year engineering students to move between the four establishments and to have access to an international network of 150 partner universities on the five continents.

Apprentice/business/CFA link

Student in apprenticeship

Being an apprentice means putting all the chances on your side when it comes to succeeding in your professional life. The fact of having completed an apprenticeship is an additional asset on your CV as it demonstrates rigour, autonomy, a sense of reality and professionalism on the part of a young graduate.

40% of apprentices continue their studies
45 % of apprentices find work within five months of completing their training
5% only break their contract during the training at ESA’s CFA
90% exam pass rate.

6 reasons to be an apprentice at ESA’s CFA:

  • Receive training while being paid by a company
  • Pursue your higher education and obtain the diploma of your choice
  • Benefit from ESA’s network in finding a company and going abroad
  • Profit from follow-up by an educational team, both during class periods and when working in the company
  • Enrich your CV while studying for a successful job opportunity
  • Successfully join the labour market with the recommendation of the apprenticeship supervisor.

To become an apprentice at ESA’s CFA, you must have:

  • participated in one of the days of validation of professional projects and training organised by ESA’s CFA; and
  • concluded an apprenticeship agreement with an employer.

If an apprentice has not found a company, the ESA’s CFA organises two “starter” days between April and June to help young people who have been admitted to training.


Becoming an apprenticeship supervisor is to train a young person by passing on your knowledge and know-how to him and supporting him in entering the labour market.
The role of the apprenticeship supervisor:

Accompanying and supporting

  • Informing the apprentice about the company
  • Making him understand how things work
  • Integrating him into the work teams
  • Facilitating his access to information


  • Entrusting the apprentice with tasks consistent with the demands of his training
  • Ensuring that he acquires knowledge and know-how
  • Determining with him the means to be used
  • Assessing his work

To prepare apprenticeship supervisors for their role, ESA’s CFA organises training modules for them: management of teams, transmission of skills and even intercultural relations in the case of foreign apprentices.

To become an apprenticeship supervisor, you must have:

  • a diploma (or qualification) equivalent to that being pursued by the apprentice and at least two years’ professional experience;


  • 3 years of professional experience in this type of training; and
  • A minimum level of qualifications as determined by the departmental commission for employment and integration.


Between the CFA and the apprenticeship supervisor: a real partnership!
The CFA designates, for each apprentice, a trainer responsible for following-up with the apprenticeship supervisor. A meeting is held every year between the three partners within the company. The purpose of this meeting is to determine the objectives and assess the apprentice’s progress. In some training programmes, the apprenticeship supervisor participates in the final evaluation of the apprentice at the exam.
At the start of the training, the CFA gives the apprenticeship supervisor a liaison file. This is to ensure that there is an ongoing relationship and follow-up between the company and the CFA. In particular, it indicates, for each period at the CFA, the content of the courses followed and, for each period in the company, the knowledge and know-how to be acquired.

The role of the CFA and, more particularly, that of the trainer are:

  • to ensure the consistency of the tasks and that there are good relations and communication between the apprentice and his apprenticeship supervisor;
  • to provide the apprenticeship supervisor with the objectives and requirements of the training; and
  • to make recommendations as regards the apprentice’s coaching.

An international CFA

The CFA allows BTS and engineering apprentices to incorporate an international dimension into their training curriculum, according to their wishes:

  • to discover the professional sector, through an eight-day group trip to a European country;
  • to improve their English or their level of English during an individual stay of one or two weeks for that purpose in Great Britain or Ireland; and
  • to go on an individual immersion stay during (2 – 9 weeks) or after their studies (8 – 10 months) in a company, with the support of the CFA.

ESA also has a unique and innovative programme called “I²FA”. It allows a company to train a young foreigner in its culture and to increase the potential of its subsidiary in the country of the student via a work-study programme. The I²FA programme schedules a school-business work study placement during the two years prior to obtaining the engineering diploma awarded by ESA.