Young Graduate Trainees

Are you about to take your finals? Or do you already have your Masters degree in the bag? If so, then you can apply to ESA as a 'Young Graduate Trainee' (YGT). This high-calibre programme lasts for one year and gives successful applicants an opportunity to gain valuable experience in the development and operation of space missions. As a Graduate Trainee, you’ll take on a responsible role in supporting a project, and benefit from the expertise of an ESA mentor.

YGTs gain valuable experience that can qualify them for the many exciting opportunities within Europe’s space industry, renowned research institutes and, of course, ESA. This, in addition to the rich personal experience of living and working in another country and in a diverse and international environment, makes the YGT programme very popular.


Vacancy posts for Young Graduate Trainees go online once a year in mid-November, and stay open for one month. At this time, we publish about 80 YGT job offers, aimed at engineers, physicists, biologists or medical graduates, but also business graduates and lawyers.

Applicants are usually at Masters degree level from a university or an equivalent institute. Please note, you can only apply for ONE YGT opportunity, and should only send in one application form.

The selection process

Candidates are selected by the relevant department. Recruitment interviews typically take place in February and March. The recruitment date is then made by mutual agreement, and can be any time from April to September at latest, of that same year.

All applicants are required to have a degree from a university or a college of technology by the time they start work at ESA. They must also be a citizen of one of the ESA Member States or from one of the European Cooperating States (see link for details).

Attractive terms and conditions

Contracts are for one year. ESA will provide:

  • monthly remuneration (the basic net salary, or 'take-home pay', for a single expatriate YGT is about €2200 per month depending on the location of the ESA Establishment)
  • an expatriation allowance, plus an installation allowance on arrival, for those not resident in the country to which they are assigned
  • travel expenses at the beginning and end of the contract (including travel expenses for spouse and children if they reside with the trainee during the contract)
  • 2.5 days paid leave per month
  • health cover under ESA’s Social Security scheme

Towards the end of the training period, trainees are asked to submit a report on their activities and accomplishments achieved during the year.

Complete the online application form!

Throughout the year you may find that some additional YGT posts are published. So that you don't miss a single chance for your career at ESA, you can now subscribe to our careers news list, and we'll keep you up to date by email.

If you would like to apply, please fill in the online application form attached to each vacancy. Candidates should attach their CV together with a cover letter explaining their motivation for applying.

Please note that our online application form is a generic form used for both junior and experienced candidates. YGT applicants should only complete the relevant sections of the form. For example, the section 'current/previous employer' should only be completed if the candidate has already had some professional experience as an intern or through summer employment.

Once you’ve submitted the form electronically, an automatic message will be sent out acknowledging its receipt. Candidates will only be contacted again if selected for an interview. Remember, only one online application form per candidate should be sent!

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