Swiss government plans to open apprenticeships to unemployed youth from the EU Unemployed young Europeans could gain valuable work experience and Swiss businesses could fill talent supply gaps

20th August 2013, by: Global Arena

High season of apprenticeships in 2014 leaves many Swiss companies with open trainee posts. This is the first week of the 2013 apprenticeships year and already it is clear that the competition for talent in 2014 is further intensifying, leaving many Small and Medium Enterprises in Switzerland with open trainee posts. 

The Swiss government has launched the idea to open apprenticeships for trainee candidates from the EU. This would offer young people a great learning opportunity, because of the quality of trainee positions in Switzerland as well as the valuable international experience for both the candidate and Swiss companies.

In a time of unprecedented youth unemployment in Europe and the dramatic need for most countries in the EU and the European Union to open labor markets, this is a very welcome initiative. The Swiss government plan would also help to improve EU relations that are currently burdened with complicated discussions about taxation, trade and rule of law between the EU and Switzerland. 

The plan was immediately endorsed by Swiss businesses and educational institutions. As is the case today for foreign university students, the new apprenticeship talent would have all options open to return to their home country with their new acquired skills or continue to develop a career in Switzerland. One of the possible attributes of the Swiss government plan is to target companies that already have a European presence or planning to develop one. This could further increase the chances that proven talent can continue to develop a career with their apprenticeship employer.

This is an interesting major development. I can imagine that specific industry clusters could use this opportunity to address skill gaps and secure future talent. This would require some international cluster coordination between business and governent. I believe that both opening the apprenticeship market and some level of European cluster coordination should take place. Considering the rapid development of global competition for talent, the Swiss government plan to open apprenticeships to European youth is both a wise and welcome initiative.