SkillSonics successfully implements the Swiss apprenticeship model in India. The program has been adapted to local requirements and includes courses for apprentices and training of trainers. In this article, Franz Probst, Founder and Chairman, Skillsonics India Pvt Ltd, enlightens us about the global popularity of Swiss apprenticeship model and how it can transform the Indian industry.
Switzerland’s Vocational Education and Training (VET) is the secret of a tiny country’s stunning global economic success. For seven years in a row Switzerland has been at the top of the global competitiveness rankings. SkillSonics has been implementing the Swiss apprenticeship model in India where there is growing demand for a skilled workforce.
Switzerland’s apprenticeship system combines classroom and workplace learning. It is considered one of the country’s greatest economic strengths as it creates a pool of highly skilled workers for Swiss companies. Thanks to VET, a country of eight million inhabitants is the nineteenth biggest economy and has one of the lowest youth unemployment rates in the world. The World Economic Forum describes Switzerland’s labour market as “the best functioning globally”.
The US Department of Labor calculates the value of VET as follows: “87% of apprentices are employed after completing their programs…for every $1 invested in apprenticeships there is about $27 in economic activity in return.” [Source: Brochure of AMCHAM and Schneider-Ammann].
VET is also bringing value to India as Andreas Bischof, Head of VET, Bühler Group, says: “Every dollar invested in these promising talented youth is money well spent and a win-win for workers and companies. The Swiss apprenticeship model makes economic sense because it not only gives graduates a chance to start their careers fully prepared, but the company also benefits from hiring a highly skilled workforce.”
Numerous examples from Swiss companies illustrate that an apprenticeship is no dead end for trainees. Peter Voser, former CEO of Shell and currently President of the Board of ABB did an apprenticeship as did Sergio Ermotti, CEO of UBS, Switzerland’s largest bank, to name just two outstanding figures among many.
Global demand for Swiss skills
For the past six years, Swiss VET has not only been implemented in Switzerland. There is a growing demand for Swiss skills in India, South Africa, Ukraine, the Balkans and Mexico. SkillSonics responds to this demand by offering vocational education and training based on Swiss know-how and methods at companies, training institutes and public organizations. The company designs programs, develops courseware and training tools, and monitors performance to ensure it meets Swiss quality standards. Today, SkillSonics has a portfolio of a hundred courses for production, maintenance and service technicians in the fields of mechanical, electrical and metal engineering.
Skillsonics International is headquartered in Zurich and has an office in Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley. SkillSonics grew out of the Swiss Vocational Education and Training Initiative India (SVETII). SVETII was launched in 2008 as a public-private partnership on the occasion of the sixty year anniversary of the Indo-Swiss Friendship and Establishment Treaty in cooperation with the Swiss State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training (SFIVET), Swissmem, Switzerland’s electro-mechanical engineering association and the Swiss private sector. The company was founded in September 2011 and became operational in 2012. SkillSonics’ partner companies in India are ABB, ACC, ACE Foundation, Ambuja Cement, Bobst, Bühler, Burckhardt Compression, EFD Induction, GMM Pfaudler, Rieter, Rhino Machines and Starrag.