Swiss-Mexican alliance for apprenticeships

Apprentices learn about a wide range of industries in Switzerland, from agriculture to tourism and IT. Keystone

An alliance between Mexico and Switzerland has been set up to help improve training prospects for young people. It’s come after an official visit on Thursday and Friday by Swiss president and education minister Johann Schneider-Ammann.

This content was published on November 5, 2016 - 12:30 and agencies

The Mexican government has been showing great interest in the Swiss vocational training system, where apprentices learn a trade. It’s hoped an alliance between Swiss companies in Mexico and the government there can now help to firmly establish apprenticeships in the country.

Although Mexico has been seeing strong economic growth for years and many international companies have set up shop in the country creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, every tenth youngster is still unemployed.

Schneider-Ammann said the education system had a lot to answer for in this respect, and commented that even in earlier meetings he had told the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto that the very high levels of employment in Switzerland were very much connected to the vocational training system. "That impressed him,” he said.

First steps

After a pilot project in Mexico in 2015, the legal basis for introducing apprenticeships was created. However, Schneider-Ammann also offered some words of caution. “The Swiss system cannot simply be copied. It was refined over the course of years with companies leading the way.”

There are around 400 Swiss companies in Mexico, and they have been showing interest in the skilled workforce they could benefit from with a dual-education system.

The Swiss embassy in the country will co-ordinate the alliance between ten Swiss firms and the official government moves to get apprenticeships fully functioning. It is estimated that these companies will offer training places to around 200 apprentices within the framework of the Mexican system.

Mexico is the latest country to show an interest in Switzerland's famed vocational training system. The US has long shown an interest and in 2015 moved to make more efforts to work together on the issue. The UK has also tried to see if it too can better combine work experience with practical learning.

Are there many opportunities for apprentices where you live? Let us know in the comments below!

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