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School-leavers get helping hand in job search

There has been mounting concern about the lack of jobs for school-leavers

(Keystone)

The Swiss government has announced a series of measures aimed at boosting school-leavers' chances of getting a job after finishing their education.

A coaching system for young people with problems at home or at school will be introduced to ensure that these youngsters do not fall by the wayside in the search for apprenticeships.

Concerns over the shortage in jobs for school-leavers have been mounting over the past years, with unions and teachers calling on the government to do more.

Speaking at a national conference on apprenticeships in Geneva, Swiss Economics Minister Doris Leuthard admitted that around 3,000 young people had failed to find an apprenticeship place this year.

This was despite some easing of the situation, which had seen the number of available positions rise by two per cent, and the number of youngsters on a "transition" year before finding a job fall slightly.

The task of integrating teenagers and young adults into the working world still remained difficult, said Leuthard. She underlined how it was up to the political, business and training worlds to work together in this matter.

"It's important for Switzerland to give young people a chance of a good start in life," she added, insisting that there was still a strong need to invest in vocational training.

Case management

The government, in collaboration with the cantons, is now aiming to introduce a management system to deal with individuals on a case-by-case basis.

It involves identifying those having difficulties either at home or at school by the seventh year of schooling and offering them help individually tailored to their needs. This would involve input from teachers, career advisors and parents.

A coach would be provided from the ninth year to help young people choose a trade or profession and find an apprenticeship after leaving school.

Those who have not found a job would continue to receive support until a solution had been found, promised Leuthard.

"We want to take young people who need help into our hands and accompany them individually," she said.

The government plans to advise companies offering apprenticeships, helping answer any legal or organisation questions and to mediate in difficult situations.

The minister also called on young people to seize the opportunities they are offered and not to pack in their apprenticeships at the first sign of any problem. They should show commitment and develop pleasure in their work, she said.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Every year in Switzerland 70,000-80,000 young people look for an apprenticeship.
In 2006 so far around 3,000 could not find suitable placement.
The national apprenticeship conference was held in Geneva on November 13.
Cantonal and government representatives as well as members of the business world took part.

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In brief

Vocational education and training enables young adults to make the transition to working life and ensures that there are enough qualified people in the future.

The aim of basic vocational training is to provide students with sufficient specialised or technical knowledge to practise a trade or profession. Training lasts between two and four years.

Upon completion, students are awarded a vocational certificate or a federal certificate of proficiency, and can immediately begin work in their trade.

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