Study finds apprenticeships are profitable

Firms which offer apprenticeships see a positive return on their money, according to a new study by the Federal Office for Training and Technology.

This content was published on March 28, 2003 - 15:15

The findings were released ahead of a nationwide vote on May 18 aimed at increasing apprenticeship positions.

The study found that companies in Switzerland invested SFr4.8 billion in vocational training in 2000. The return for the firms concerned amounted to SFr5.18 billion - revenues generated by the trainees.

The findings were released two months before voters are to be asked whether companies should be required to set aside funds to provide apprenticeships.


Trade unions are fighting to keep Switzerland's strong apprenticeship tradition alive and have called on firms to boost the funds they put aside for vocational training.

Close to two thirds of adults between the ages of 25 and 64 have completed professional training at one of Switzerland's 400 centres, which are staffed by some 14,000 people.

Each year around 188,000 people attend a vocational programme, and 60,000 diplomas are awarded.

Apprenticeships are increasing in popularity, said Adelheid Bürki-Schmelz, director of the Federal Statistics Office. The average starting age for an apprenticeship is 17.5 years but only about a third of trainees remain in the field in which they are trained.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

In 2001, there were 188,000 apprentices being trained in Switzerland.
In 2000, almost 60 per cent of these apprentices were also attending school as part of their training.
This proportion is higher than in Germany (50%, the Netherlands (20%), France (15%) and Italy (0%).
The share of firms with apprentices dropped from nearly one quarter in 1985 to 17.6 per cent in 2001.
Around one third of employees who followed an apprenticeship pursue work in the same sector.

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