Swiss apprenticeship model; solution to youth unemployment


Mexico City, February 12, 2014.- According to the International Labor Organisation (ILO), youth unemployment reaches 2.9% in the world. The OECD figures prove that among the larger economies in the world, the rate surpass 16%. This failure jeopardizes the world economic system and the opportunities for young people to actively take part in the conomies. In Mexico, youth unemployment reaches 9.7%, below the OECD average.


The high youth unemployment rate is the main obstable for the economic recovery of Europe, according to the latest debates conducted at the World Economic Forum. However, there is an alternative to fight this obstacle and it has proved it effectiveness not only in Switzerland but in emerging economies such as India.


The model which combines work experience with education, is being seen more and more as a good solution to youth unemployment.


In Switzerland, two thirds of young people opt for vocational training, which combines work experience with educational courses. In April 2012, 80 thousand 500 adolescents were looking for an apprenticeship place, with businesses providing 80 thousand of them.


Of the 193 thousand businesses in Switzerland, 55 thousand train apprentices. But supply of places does not always correspond to demand. Some 22 thousand apprenticeship places were unfilled at the beginning of summer, notably in the “technical professions”, which include sectors such as engineers, electricians or computer scientists. On the other hand, there are more candidates than places in the service sector, health, social work, sales, office jobs, printing and design.


In 2012, Switzerland established a working relationship with the British government by supplying them with keynote speakers at selected events, sponsoring the “national apprenticeship awards” and inviting an expert delegation from Britain to Switzerland to learn about apprenticeships.


The initiative is part of a larger effort to export the Swiss apprenticeship model, which according to the government strategy for education, research and training published in 2010, should be “better positioned at international level as an export product”.


A pilot project established in 2008 saw the introduction of the system in India. Machine industry businesses started to adopt the swiss apprenticeship model.The aim is that the scheme will spread and the Indian government has committed itself to training 526 million apprentices by 2020.


Switzerland is looking at extending the program to other countries such as China, Vietnam, Brazil, South Africa and the United States. In South Africa, Switzerland has been developing vocational training in technical professions such as electricians, welders and turners for the last 2 to 4 years.


For Switzerland there are several advantages in exporting this system, which otherwise only exists in Germany and Austria. It will allow the country to better respond to the employment needs of the Swiss economy and its production units in emerging economies, according to the government strategy document.


Exporting the apprenticeship model will also create more opportunities for Swiss apprentices to find work elsewhere because a Swiss diploma will be recognised outside Switzerland.


Switzerland is also hoping to turn its apprenticeship model into an “exportable service”, an idea which is already a reality in India where local firms wanting to use a Swiss curriculum must purchase a license to do so.


Mexican Business Web via

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