by Andreas Keiser, swissinfo.ch
For the first time ever it’s an applicants’ market in the exemplary Swiss apprenticeship system. This year apprenticeship places outnumber school leavers by 4,000.
The surplus is mainly seen in German-speaking Switzerland. Low-scoring students continue to find it hard to find a position but it’s still a major turnaround.
A decade ago there was a shortage of apprenticeship places in Switzerland. “The situation has clearly eased,” Bern’s director of education Bernhard Pulver told a media briefing on the apprentice market.
According to the apprenticeship barometer compiled in April by the Federal Professional Education and Technology Office, Swiss companies were advertising 81,000 apprenticeships in early 2011. That’s 5,000 more than the previous year. But just 77,000 Swiss school leavers are searching for an apprenticeship this year.
“Eight years ago we had to persuade companies to train young people. Now the situation has reversed and that brings big worries for us,” federal office director Ursula Renold said.
In the future it will be increasingly difficult to fill demanding apprenticeships, Renold fears. Young people are currently most interested in apprenticeships in the service sector, in printing, design and applied arts, as well as in health, social services and sales.