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Switzerland in Asia


President’s Singapore visit focuses on career training


Switzerland’s vocational education system is featuring front and centre during the Swiss president’s visit to Asia. At his first stop in Singapore, Switzerland was called on to share its know-how for training a young and dynamic workforce.

During the first state visit to Singapore by a Swiss president, Johann Schneider-Ammann was welcomed to his counterpart's official residence with full military honours. He also visited the country’s botanical gardens, where an orchid was named after him according to tradition.

In one of the visit’s main events, Schneider-Ammann spoke on the issue of career training and vocational education at the Swiss-Singapore Business Forum.

“To face the challenges of tomorrow, employees must be able to continuously develop their skills, adapt to the needs of the economy and bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical applications,” the Swiss president and economics minister said.

“All parties are involved in this process, but the private sector must be in the driver’s seat,” Schneider-Ammann added. “Businesses represent the main pillar of the dual education system.”

About 400 Swiss firms are currently active in Singapore, employing about 25,000 people in total. Many of them use vocational training models to educate their workers.

During the forum event, Singapore’s Vice Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam highlighted his country’s desire to implement such practices, saying that “Singapore is a much younger country than Switzerland and has much to learn from it”.

Singapore is Switzerland’s most important trading partner in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN. The two countries have had trade relations for 49 years.

The Swiss president will next travel to South Korea, where he will meet his counterpart Park Geun-Hye and attend the third Swiss-Korean Life Sciences Symposium. South Korea has also shown an interest in Swiss vocational training models in the past, and the South Korean President’s 2014 visit to Switzerland included a trip to a vocational school.

The final stop on Schneider-Ammann’s tour of Asia will be Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, where he will attend the 11th ASEM (Asia-Europe Meeting) Summit.

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swissinfo.ch and agencies

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