What We Can Learn From the Swiss Approach to Employability
Did you know what you wanted to be by the 10th grade? Swiss students do – well, they are at least highly encouraged to.
By the grand old age of 15 or 16, students in Switzerland are encouraged to make a career choice from about 230 different options, which they can then specialise in within the curriculum. This is meant to provide them with the skills they need for that career. They will also enter into an apprenticeship programme where they’ll spend a couple of days a week in the classroom working at a company.
Students are streamed at an early level into academic and vocational education training paths. About 20% aim to go to university, and the rest into the upper secondary school vocational education training stream, where students combine school learning with skills developed in the workplace. This system serves 70-80% of Swiss young people, preparing them for careers ranging from high-tech jobs to health sector roles and traditional trades.
This ties into our institution-wide employability programme (IWEP), which Symplicity believes is key to achieving employability success. From our years of experience working with career centres, we know that graduate employability should not be an afterthought; instead, it should touch on all aspects of the student journey, from admissions to alumni relations and everything in between. Employability should – just like it is in the Swiss model – be embedded in the curriculum from day one, as well as be incorporated into a student’s path before they even start at university. Alumni relations is vital to an institution-wide employability strategy, as alumni are strong advocates for students and often provide experience and jobs to graduates.
Swiss employees enjoy some of the highest salaries in the world, and their unemployment rates are still among the lowest in Europe. Should more countries take a leaf out of the Swiss book? The figures are compelling.
Schedule a conversation with us to learn more about how Symplicity is helping institutions worldwide deploy successful employability strategies.