Note: this article was originally posted on LinkedIn – click here to read the post.

Last night I had the honor of accepting, on behalf of UBS, the Swiss National Education Prize from the Hans Huber Stiftung and Stiftung FH Schweiz – two foundations whose mission is grounded in promoting the importance of vocational education. This prize is a testament to our long-term commitment to fostering education in Switzerland through our apprenticeship program and beyond.

It's no secret that apprenticeships are close to my heart - I know first-hand how effective this kind of education can be and how far it can take someone. After all, I started my career as an apprentice at a local bank in Lugano, Switzerland. I dedicate time every year to advocate for apprenticeship programs, especially in countries where the apprenticeship system is not yet as well established as in my home country.   

The fact is this: vocational learning is a highly effective form of education. Young people learn in the real business world, develop critical communication and teamwork skills, and bring their own perspectives to bear. On top of this, work-based learning adapts in real-time based on what's happening in the industry and environment. 

At UBS, we've seen that there's enormous value for the organization as well as the trainee. That's one reason we're committed to hiring annually into our junior talent programs. Currently, we have around 2,700 young people enrolled in one of our junior talent programs globally, ranging from apprentices to university graduates. Many of our apprentices continue their careers with the bank after their training is complete and we're delighted to have this pipeline of talented young individuals.

Further, businesses today have to be increasingly agile, capable of responding quickly to new developments. Working with apprentices gives us valuable insight into the mindset and needs of the next generation of employees – and clients.

At the end of the day, it's not just how you start your career but how you stay curious and continue to learn throughout your entire career that counts. To keep succeeding, we need to invest in all types of learning and education for all our employees and continue adapting as the world changes. In this industry, it's the strength and innovation of our people that will bring us to the next level of success.

We're honored to receive the National Education Prize. I'd like to thank all of my UBS colleagues who support us in furthering vocational education in Switzerland and abroad and who play a role in making our apprenticeship program a success – including the apprentices themselves. This accolade recognizes you.

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