Since the end of August, SwissSkills and UBS have been presenting together at job fairs right across Switzerland. The interactive stand is part of the SwissSkills Career program. Here, students, teachers and parents can find out at first hand how an apprenticeship can be used as a launchpad for a successful career. At every location, UBS employees are getting involved by way of voluntary work assignments. One such employee is Gene, who is 17 years old and has just started the final year of his apprenticeship.
On this September day, the BERNEXPO site in Berne appears cold, gray and wet. Yet in the exhibition halls of the BAM job and training fair, the mood is quite the opposite. Excited students from all across the canton move in crowds through the colorful labyrinth of information stands, following their visions of future careers. High school or dream job? This is the question that quite a few are asking themselves. And many are seeking convincing arguments on which to base this momentous decision.
SwissSkills and UBS offer guidance
The SwissSkills Career Stand offers guidance on this very question. In contrast with the other exhibitors, SwissSkills tells young people visiting the job fairs about the many different development opportunities an apprenticeship can offer them. As well as researching these opportunities themselves using the interactive features at the stand and watching the engaging explanatory films, the visitors can also find out more by speaking directly to people who have chosen the apprenticeship path. Gene Höfer is one of these people. The 17-year old has just embarked on the third year of his apprenticeship at UBS and, like many of his colleagues, signed up for a voluntary assignment to work at the fair.
Gaining self-confidence through an apprenticeship
With a mischievous smile on his face, Gene answers the questions of the young visitors to the stand. He appears relaxed and in control, more worldly-wise than most of his contemporaries. “So far, not only have I benefited from in-depth vocational training, but I have also become more self-confident and outgoing. That helps me here at the stand, in my direct contact with clients, and in my private life, too,” says Gene, summing up the advantages of the training he has chosen to pursue.
The fact that he has been able to develop his personality in this way is one of the plus points he mentions as he talks to countless young people today. “And then of course there is the practical experience. In my view, if you take an apprenticeship you have a clear advantage over people who go to university when it comes to finding your feet in a work environment,” says Gene.
Gene breaks off from the conversation, as there is now another line of students waiting to get the results of their SwissSkills personality test. The psychological test shows them which of their personal strengths stand out the most and how these can be a factor in their choice of career. The individual results are handed out on the spot in the form of a personalized leaflet. The results can then be discussed with the students if they so wish. This test is not only a useful guide when choosing a career but is also recognized by careers advisors as a valuable tool for advising young people.
Further training towards a career goal
Gene took the personality test first thing in the morning, before beginning his voluntary work assignment. His greatest strength, he says firmly, is that he is focused on his goals. This is also clear from this career plan: “To be a client advisor in wealth management: that's my dream.” And Gene already knows exactly how to achieve this ambition: “After my apprenticeship I’d like to continue working at UBS, do my military service in one stretch and then take the necessary further training that will help me achieve my goal.”
With that, Gene disappears once again into the crowd of people at the SwissSkills stand. After all, he is here to share his wealth of experience with future apprentices, and not just to talk about himself.
Visit us at the job fairs
SwissSkills and UBS are on the road again – with a presence at all job and training fairs in Switzerland. Visit a job fair near you. We look forward to seeing you there.