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International training

Swiss apprenticeships, now in English

By Julie Hunt/SRF

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It’s now possible for young students to do their professional training in English, even though it’s not one of Switzerland’s national languages. (SRF/Julie Hunt,

The apprenticeships are being offered in the central Swiss canton of Zug, home to the headquarters of many international firms.

Roche Diagnostics, Johnson & Johnson and Glencore are among the multinationals collaborating with the vocational educational company, Bildxzug, which is paid to organise the training. The apprenticeship system offers a combination of practical office experience and classroom teaching leading to exams.

So far, a dozen apprentices have been selected to train in English in the areas of commercial administration and information technology. Bildxzug will help to guide each of them through their internships at several different companies. Many of them are hoping to work abroad when their apprenticeships are over.

The idea is to make Swiss youngsters more competitive globally, while boosting domestic labour options for Switzerland’s many international companies. Currently, most international companies headquartered in Switzerland recruit their young trainees from abroad.