Apprenticeship is a curriculum that lasts three or four years depending on the profession, and that alternates theoretical instruction and practical training of a profession. The theoretical instruction is given by the Lausanne vocational school. For one to two days a week, each apprentice studies general and specific professional subjects. Practical training and professional skills related to the profession are taught in training companies or organisations, such as EPFL.
In each laboratory or platform of the institute, a person is responsible for the training of the hired apprentice. Each apprentice is a true valuable collaborator and is perfectly integrated into the life of IPHYS services and laboratories. At the end of the apprenticeship, and after passing a theoretical and practical exam, each apprentice receives a federal capacity certificate (CFC) that validates the training. After graduating, each apprentice can enter professional life, or join a specialized high school (HES) to obtain a higher degree. There are even former apprentices returning to EPFL to complete a master’s degree and a thesis.
On average about six to eight apprentices are being trained at IPHYS each year. Training is offered in the following professions:
- computer scientist within the IT team: they participate in the development and maintenance of the institute’s machines and network. They also learn the commissioning of operating systems and software, perform various tests related to network and server communication, and become familiar with enterprise computing.
- polymechamic within the mechanical workshop on its two locations (BSP and PH buildings): they manufacture parts in various materials and learn to use all machining and assembly techniques. They participate in the design of 3D parts and are familiar with the programming of digital machines to produce them. Apprentices also get the opportunity to use laser cutting machines to make complex-shaped parts, a specialty of the BSP workshop.
- physics laboratory assistant within the IPHYS clean rooms, the Crystal Growth Facility, and some of the IPHYS laboratories. Physics laboratory assistants collaborate with other scientific or technical specialists to set up experiments or analyse physics laboratory equipment. They are in addition involved in making samples of various materials and their characterization through testing and analysis. The physics workers also study mechanics and electronics. Integrated into a laboratory team, they take care of logistics and maintenance of equipment.
Applying for an apprenticeship
All information on how to apply for an apprenticeship can be found on the main EPFL page for apprentices.