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Graduates: Young Graduate Trainees

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ESA / About Us / Careers at ESA

ESA’s Young Graduate Trainee (YGT) Programme offers young graduates the opportunity to gain valuable on-the-job experience in the development and operation of space missions in an international and multicultural environment.

Our high-calibre YGT programme lasts for one year and is a launch pad for many exciting professional opportunities within Europe’s space sector, renowned research institutes or, of course, ESA.

Every year in February, we offer about 100 job opportunities in science and engineering, information technology, natural or social science or business. Discover everything you need to know about the programme and the selection process. Your path to space begins at ESA!


 Who can apply?

To be eligible for the YGT programme, you must be:

  • A student in the final year of a Master’s degree at university or have just graduated.
  • A citizen of one of the following ESA Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. Nationals from Latvia, Lithuania and Slovenia as Associate Members, or Canada as a Cooperating State, can apply as well as those from Bulgaria, Cyprus and Slovakia as European Cooperating States.

Please note that basic eligibility pre-screening questions regarding nationality and degree are asked on completion of the ESA online application form.

YGTs are required to have completed their Master's degree by the time they start work at ESA. Should you already hold a PhD or be about to complete one, please have a look at our Research Fellowship programme, which is more in line with your background and level of qualification.

 What we offer

The ESA Young Graduate Programme offers:

  • A unique professional experience as part of a family of scientists, engineers and business professionals from all over Europe, working together on inspiring space missions in an international, multicultural and friendly environment.
  • A great opportunity to gain extensive experience that could open doors to a career within Europe’s space sector.
  • A one-year contract (with possible extension for a second year) with 2.5 days paid leave per month.
  • ESA Young Graduate Trainees receive a monthly salary exempt from national income tax in ESA Member States, as well as excellent employment conditions. 
  • Travel expenses reimbursed at the beginning and end of the contract.
  • Expatriation allowance and/or an installation allowance on arrival if  you move from another country. Excess luggage costs are also reimbursed.
  • Comprehensive health cover under ESA’s social security scheme. Please note that Young Graduate Trainees do not contribute to ESA’s pension scheme and may wish to opt for alternative solutions.

More about Life at ESA

Find out everything you need to know about life at ESA and work-life balance on our pages.
For more information about ESA sites, check out ESA Establishments.

What is it like to be a YGT at ESA?

Watch the video interviews of ESA Young Graduate Trainees to find out more about our YGT programme and life at ESA.

Recruitment Process

How do I apply for a YGT opportunity?

  1. Explore our Young Graduate Trainee opportunities here.
  2. Select the one opportunity that genuinely interests you and fits best with your educational background. Due to the high number of applications received each year, we can only accept a maximum of two applications per person. Should you apply to more vacancies, all your applications will be disregarded. If your profile is of interest for another position, we will share it with the hiring manager. 
  3. Register and create your candidate profile with your CV and motivation letter.
  4. Apply! You will be able to track the status of your application throughout the process.

Throughout the year you may find that some additional YGT posts are published. To not miss a single chance for your career at ESA, sign up with us to receive job alerts.

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

ESA YGT recruitment timeline:

February – March: Publication of YGT opportunities on Careers at ESA
March – May: Pre-selection and interviews of shortlisted candidates
June: Outcome of interviews and final selection made by ESA
September - October: Take up duty for successful candidates

Tip: set up a job alert to be informed as soon as the opportunities are available! 

Looking for more learning and hands-on opportunities?

ESA Academy is open to university students from undergraduate to PhD level coming from ESA Member states, Canada, Latvia and Slovenia.
ESA Academy joins forces with European universities, space institutes, and national space agencies to offer exceptional learning and hands-on opportunities, in a vast portfolio of different programmes. ESA Academy is designed to complement academic education. Its objective is to enhance students’ educational experience and help them develop both practical and theoretical know-how and expertise in various disciplines, ranging from space sciences to engineering, space medicine, spacecraft operations, project and risk management, product and quality assurance, standardisation and much more. Learn more about ESA Academy.



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