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End of contract One in four Swiss apprentices changes career course

An apprentice practices styling hair

As many as 30% of apprenticeship contracts in the hairdressing field are terminated early


About a quarter of apprenticeship contracts are terminated prematurely, according to a new study. However, most of the young people affected are able find another training placement.

The Swiss Federal Statistical Office studied a group of 60,500 apprentices across Switzerland who began their vocational training in 2012, following their progress over four years. The resulting study, released on Wednesday, showed that about 15,000 trainees in that group had their employment contracts terminated before the end of their apprenticeship.

Out of those, 78% - or 9,700 – had found another training place by the end of 2016. 

+ Read more about how Switzerland’s vocational training system works 

The study also showed that more than half of contract terminations occur in the first year of vocational training, and an additional third take place in the second year. Most apprenticeships in Switzerland last three to four years, beginning around age 16. 

The survey revealed significant discrepancies among foreign students versus students with Swiss citizenship. While 19% of Swiss apprentices had their contracts terminated early, some 26% of those with foreign nationalities experienced the same.

There was also a slight difference between male and female apprentices, with 23% of men and 18% of women affected by at least one contract termination over the four years. 

Just over half of those who began another apprenticeship after having had a contract terminated ended up finding a placement in a different field, while the rest continued in their previous area of study.

And, results varied depending on career area: some 30% of contracts in the hairdressing, cosmetics and catering fields ended early, compared to areas such as social work, chemistry, and engineering which saw just 13% early contract terminations. 

+ More on the career choices that young people in Switzerland face after compulsory schooling and agencies/vdv

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