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Apprenticeships ‘are coronavirus-crisis proof’

Apprentices doing the theory part at the Vocational Training Centre in Schaffhausen where masks are required Keystone / Ennio Leanza

Vocational training has proven itself to be crisis-proof during the pandemic, the government’s special Covid-19 apprenticeship taskforce says. Nevertheless, the taskforce will be renewed for another year.

This content was published on November 10, 2020 - 11:43
Keystone-SDA/Economics Ministry/swissinfo.ch/ilj

In May the government set up a Taskforce “Perspective professional apprenticeships 2020”External link following concerns that young people were struggling to find vocational training places during the pandemic as companies tightened their belts.

An additional challenge is that the spring shutdown made it harder for pupils to get support during the apprenticeship application process or attend interviews.

The country’s much-admired dual-track apprenticeship systemExternal link sees young people combine on-the-job training in a company with lessons in a vocational school, producing a well-qualified workforce. It is considered one of Switzerland’s economic success factors.

Around two-thirds of young people take the vocational route in Switzerland.

Renewed mandate

“The taskforce’s mandate has been renewed for a year to ensure that young people and companies also have good framework conditions on the apprenticeship market and for the transfer [from an apprenticeship] to the job market in 2021 as well,” the economics ministryExternal link, which holds the education portfolio, said in a statement on TuesdayExternal link.

The group, which held a high-level meeting on Monday, is made up of representatives of the government, cantons (who are in charge of education matters in Switzerland) and social partners.

A taskforce report found that extra efforts by training companies had helped shore up the apprenticeship market in 2020. Monthly cantonal monitoring has allowed the economics ministry to react and take measures early. Around 40 support projects have so far received government funding under the taskforce’s Apprenticeships Covid-19 programme.

The good news: at the end of September around 76,500 apprenticeship contracts had been signed, a slight rise on last year.

School-leavers usually sign contracts for apprenticeships that start in the first week of August. But new measures have pushed back the deadline to the end of October to allow young people more time to find an apprenticeship.

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