Inter­na­tional exchange of apprentices


In the course of glob­al­isa­tion, the demand for qual­i­fied spe­cial­ists with inter­na­tional exper­i­ence, inter­cul­tural com­pet­ence and know­ledge of for­eign lan­guages is increas­ing. Intern­ships abroad – prefer­ably dur­ing on-the-job train­ing – are the best way to qual­ify employ­ees and attract young motiv­ated apprentices.

There­fore, CAEF pro­motes an unbur­eau­cratic exchange of appren­tices in Europe.

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If inter­ested in an inter­na­tional exchange of appren­tices and for fur­ther inform­a­tion (about par­ti­cip­at­ing foundries), please fill in the form below (non-bind­ing request):

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Fre­quently Asked Questions

What is an apprenticeship?

An appren­tice­ship is an industry-driven, high-qual­ity career path­way where employ­ers develop and pre­pare their future work­force. Indi­vidu­als obtain paid work exper­i­ence, classroom instruc­tion, ment­or­ship and a nation­ally-recog­nized reference.

Appren­tice­ship train­ing is dis­tin­guished from other types of work­place train­ing by sev­eral factors

  • An appren­tice­ship is an ini­tial voca­tional training
  • The com­pany plays an act­ive role and takes responsibility
  • Train­ing takes place both at the work­place by on-the-job learn­ing and at school by job-related classroom training
  • On-the-job learn­ing is con­duc­ted in the work set­ting under dir­ec­tion of a mentor
What are the bene­fits of an exchange for your foundry?

It is a great oppor­tun­ity to motiv­ate your appren­tices and to reward your tal­en­ted young pro­fes­sion­als with an intern­ship abroad. It could also be a suc­cess­ful way to increase the attract­ive­ness and per­cep­tion of your com­pany for future train­ees. Moreover, the host­ing Foundry bene­fits from fresh per­spect­ives on its own busi­ness. Besides, it is a great chance to expand your European network.

  • advant­ages in com­pet­i­tion for well-edu­cated school graduates
  • appren­tices become bet­ter skilled, more flex­ible, exper­i­enced and versatile
  • fresh per­spect­ives on your own business
  • advert­ise­ment, e.g. by press articles
  • many more…
What are the bene­fits of an exchange for apprentices?

The best way to acquire inter­na­tional skills is to study and work abroad — ideally dur­ing train­ing. An exchange will broaden the hori­zon. It gives the oppor­tun­ity to gain great exper­i­ences dur­ing on-the-job-train­ing in another foundry. Fur­ther­more, the train­ees will acquire social pro­fi­cien­cies, cul­tural skills and improve their lan­guage skills. They will get more self-con­fid­ent, are highly motiv­ated and show more ini­ti­at­ive. They have become famil­iar with other work pro­cesses and tech­niques as well as new tech­no­lo­gies and bring new impulses and ideas with them.

When is the best time for the exchange?

As a com­pany, you determ­ine the time by your­self in con­sulta­tion with the trainee.
The stay abroad should not inter­fere with the edu­ca­tion at school. The best time to do an intern­ship abroad depends entirely on the train­ing and the com­pany. But it makes sense, if the appren­tices have already gained some exper­i­ences. There­fore, the time after the inter­me­di­ate exam­in­a­tion or dir­ectly after the com­ple­tion of the train­ing is a good time to go abroad.

The ideal dur­a­tion var­ies accord­ing to the object­ive. How­ever, two to four weeks is optimal. Ulti­mately, the train­ing com­pany decides whether and for how long to send its train­ees abroad for learn­ing pur­poses.
The intern­ship abroad is a period of train­ing com­pleted abroad for learn­ing pur­poses and no vacation.

Which forms of exchange exist?

An indi­vidual exchange is a mobil­ity pro­ject of an indi­vidual appren­tice, who is doing an intern­ship abroad in a foundry.

A com­pany that sends its train­ees abroad dis­misses their work­force dur­ing this time. To com­pensate for this to a cer­tain extent, a bilat­eral exchange of train­ees is a good solu­tion. This exchange includes a return visit from the host foundry from abroad.

When should I start the preparation?

A plan­ning phase of four to six months is a real­istic meas­ure for indi­vidual train­ees, who would like to com­plete a stay abroad.

Are the edu­ca­tion sys­tems of all European coun­tries sim­ilar to each other?

The edu­ca­tion sys­tems are partly very dif­fer­ent. To find out how the indi­vidual edu­ca­tion sys­tem is organ­ised in the part­ner coun­try, please visit

Applic­a­tion process

The trainee may pre­pare the fol­low­ing applic­a­tion doc­u­ments and sub­mit them to CAEF

  • cur­riculum vitae — describ­ing, among other things, the level of edu­ca­tion, lan­guage skills and social skills
  • short let­ter of application
  • job descrip­tion — the mere job title is usu­ally not mean­ing­ful enough and may dif­fer from the cor­res­pond­ing job descrip­tion in the host country
Is there on-site sup­port in the host country?

This should be cla­ri­fied before the exchange.

The con­tact per­son of the foundry registers at the CAEF con­tact list.


For a train­ing com­pany no addi­tional costs occur. The com­pan­ies are not obliged to pay the travel and accom­mod­a­tion costs. These costs might be fully covered by a fund­ing programme.

Erasmus + is one of the pos­sible fund­ing oppor­tun­it­ies. Fund­ing via Erasmus+ is pos­sible up to one year after the final exam­in­a­tion. Dif­fer­ent opportunities:

1. CAEF applies for Erasmus+ schol­ar­ships
2. The voca­tional school applies for the schol­ar­ship
3. As a com­pany, you have the oppor­tun­ity to sub­mit your own Erasmus+ application

For more inform­a­tion and to dis­cuss the best pos­sib­il­ity for your com­pany, please get dir­ectly in con­tact with us.


Appren­tices should have private insur­ance for the dur­a­tion of the stay abroad in order to ensure com­pre­hens­ive pro­tec­tion. In any case, the fol­low­ing are important:

  • an inter­na­tional health insurance
  • a private liab­il­ity insur­ance and
  • an acci­dent insur­ance at the workplace
  • a liab­il­ity insur­ance at the workplace

Gen­er­ally, the pro­tec­tion provided by social insur­ance schemes (pen­sion, health, nurs­ing and acci­dent insur­ance) con­tin­ues within the EU. This must be checked and con­firmed by the respect­ive health insur­ance company.

The same applies to liab­il­ity insur­ance. Liab­il­ity insur­ance at the work­place cov­ers dam­age caused by the trainee at the work­place. The trainee, the send­ing organ­isa­tion or the host organ­isa­tion shall provide liab­il­ity insur­ance at the work­place. As a rule, the reg­u­lar liab­il­ity insur­ance does not provide pro­tec­tion for pro­cessing and activ­ity dam­age in the for­eign com­pany. In this regard, you should seek advice from your insurers at an early stage.

Depend­ing on the type of stay abroad, acci­dent insur­ance is provided by the train­ing com­pany, the employer or the voca­tional school. The decis­ive factor is that either the train­ing com­pany or the employer has agreed to the stay abroad or the voca­tional school has the organ­isa­tional area of respons­ib­il­ity. An addi­tional private acci­dent insur­ance is also advis­able but not mandatory.

There are a num­ber of inex­pens­ive com­bin­a­tion offers from vari­ous insur­ance com­pan­ies that cover intern­ships abroad. These include for­eign health, liab­il­ity and acci­dent insur­ance and may be taken out on a monthly or daily basis.

Is a pass­port or visa necessary?

A dis­tinc­tion must be made between EU and non-EU coun­tries. In the EU only a valid iden­tity card is required.

Work­ers Directive

The Work­ers Dir­ect­ive came into force 1996. In May 2018, the European Union revised the Post­ing of Work­ers Dir­ect­ive and imple­men­ted the prin­ciple of “equal pay­ment for equal work in the same place”. This means that for pos­ted work­ers through­out Europe the same wage and work­ing con­di­tions apply as for domestic work­ers. All EU mem­bers need to trans­pose the new reg­u­la­tions into national legis­la­tion by 30 July 2020.

The require­ments vary from coun­try to coun­try. CAEF sup­ports the foundries to meet all requirements.

Please note: We make no claim to completeness.

Con­tact and Support

CAEF provides inform­a­tion regard­ing gen­eral con­di­tions for an inter­na­tional exchange of appren­tices. In addi­tion, CAEF sup­ports to find an adequate for­eign part­ner foundry as well as appro­pri­ate financing.

Do you have any ques­tions? Would you like to know more about intern­ships abroad? Talk to us! We will be happy to advise you.

Sophie Stef­fen
Tel.: +49 211 6871 301

General Secretariat
CAEF - The European Foundry Association

Hansaallee 203
40549 Düsseldorf

tel: +49 (0)211 6871 217
fax: +49 (0)211 6871 40217