In Switzerland Going without College Goes a Long Way!


It can even lead to the very top. Did you know that  Martin Senn, CEO of Zurich Insurance Group, began his successful career as an apprentice? In Switzerland, 60% of young adults opt to start their careers with vocational education and training, also called apprenticeships. At age 16, they start their professional lives in one of the over 230 different occupations. After graduating as highly skilled pros in their fields, they hit the ground running, with no student debt and well integrated in the workforce.

For a number of years now, Switzerland has been conducting a dialogue with the United States on vocational education and training, called apprenticeships. Apprenticeships are a core element of the Swiss educational system and a key reason why young people in Switzerland enjoy excellent education and training, providing them with strong career prospects. Furthermore, it ensures that businesses have access to well-qualified workers. There is also increasing international interest in the Swiss model.

In July 2015, Swiss Vice President Johann N. Schneider-Ammann, the head of the Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Education and Research (EAER), signed a declaration of intent on vocational education and training with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny S. Pritzker. The declaration will pave the way for more substantive cooperation between Switzerland and the U.S. in the area of apprenticeships. Vice President Schneider-Ammann welcomed U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez in Bern on September 1, to sign the declaration of intent as well. Vice President Schneider-Ammann and Secretary Perez visited a host company, which  provided Secretary Perez with an opportunity to get a firsthand look at the advantages and importance of Switzerland’s apprenticeship model.

Several U.S. subsidiaries of Swiss companies have started an adapted model of Swiss- style apprenticeship here in the U.S.

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What is a Swiss-style apprenticeship?

“U.S. Considers Emulating Swiss Apprenticeship Model” article by Washington Diplomat correspondent Larry Luxner

Swiss Education Facts&Figures

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