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Companies offer more apprenticeships, but divisions remain

The Swiss authorities say there has been a marked increase in the number of apprenticeships on offer this year, following stronger economic growth and a contraction of the labour market.

But divisions remain between the kind of opportunities available to different social groups.

The economics ministry said it expected 74,500 apprenticeship contracts to be concluded by the end of the year, a rise of three per cent compared to last year.

It said the main increase was in industry, the retail trade and the health sector.

However, the ministry said about 8,000 young people, or seven per cent of those seeking apprenticeships, had not found a position and would most likely be entering the job market next year.

Some have decided to take a language course or an internship, while others have decided to delay leaving school.

The figures released by the economics ministry also show that it is much easier for Swiss males to find apprenticeships. Fifty-eight per cent of young foreigners secured contracts, against 82 per cent of Swiss citizens.

But only 50 per cent of young women found an apprenticeship, compared to 64 per cent of foreign men.

A separate study by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development on apprenticeships in 25 countires has also shown that there is a strong gender divide between the kind of training chosen by young men and women.

While Swiss men continue to opt for technical training posts ranging from information technology to carpentry, women are still choosing sales training, office jobs and the medical sector. The OECD study said that there had been little change in Switzerland over the past 15 years.

This was despite moves by Swiss industry to encourage more young women into traditionally male-dominated occupations. In the OECD study only Luxembourg had a more pronounced gender division.

swissinfo with agencies

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