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Retraining at 40

Can you imagine going back to school at the age of 40? Etha Varone did it and has never looked back. She has just finished her first apprenticeship, thanks to an initiative in Bern that encourages older people to retrain.

This content was published on November 5, 2020 - 16:00

Around two thirds of Swiss school leavers opt for an apprenticeship under the country’s dual system of vocational training. This combines learning on the job – and being paid a learning wage – with one to two days of theory at school. But Etha Varone left school at 16 with a school leaving certificate and opted to do odd jobs instead.

She was working in a factory sticking labels on cosmetic packets when she found out about the Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation’s basic vocational training scheme, and committed herself to a 3-year apprenticeship as a housekeeping specialist. She says the qualification has considerably boosted her job opportunities.

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