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Bad at school, good at work New opportunities for weak pupils

Finding a job without having a diploma is becoming more and more difficult. Many struggling pupils face ending up on social welfare. The Lift project helps the weakest 14-year-olds enter the job market. (SRF/

Ezra is not a strong pupil. In order to improve her chances of finding an apprenticeship, she’s applied for the Lift project and started working voluntarily every Saturday for three hours at a hairdressers. Next to gaining work experience she receive a diploma which she can add to her job applications. 

Lift started ten years ago. Today, 2,500 small and medium-sized companies all over Switzerland are already participating in the project and there are more every year. CEO Gabriela Walser says that discovering their practical skills at an early stage help increase the pupil’s motivation for school. They discover what they’re learning for. 

To increase chances for young people in general, the authorities have set the goal that 95% of all youngsters should do further education after compulsory school. The goal has already been reached for children born in Switzerland. With immigrant children who have done part of their schooling abroad, 12% don’t continue after compulsory school. However progress has already been made.

Beat Zemp, the president of the Swiss teachers association points out, that the project is worth the high cost in the long term. It helps people to make a living during the 40 years of their working life. Costs that would otherwise have to be paid by social funds. 

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