Enabling young professionals to acquire further professional and linguistic skills in Switzerland.
Young Professionals Programme
Switzerland offers trainee exchange agreements with various countries to enable young professionals to acquire further professional and linguistic skills in Switzerland. Work permits are granted for a maximum of 18 months.
A traineeship is part of further education. Young Professionals are required to work in the occupation that they have learned or in their study major. Part-time work or working as a self-employed person are not permitted.
Young professionals must be paid at the rates that are customary for the location and the industry.
Hear from past Young Professionals.
Pip is engineering a firm foundation for sustainable buildings
“In Switzerland, architects and engineers are the drivers of the construction industry, and their appetite for innovation is high,” says structural engineer Pip Easing. “It’s something I think Australia can learn a lot from.”
Pip is fully immersed in a Swiss engineering company on exchange from her employer in Sydney, thanks to the Swiss Government’s Young Professionals Programme.
“I’m working on the structural design of buildings, in particular developing my skills in creating more efficient excavation and foundation systems,” Pip says.
Excavation and foundations are vital to ensure stability in construction. But these key early steps in a new building typically have a high environmental impact.
“There’s an opportunity to do better in excavation retention and foundations,” says Pip. “What I’m learning in Switzerland will help me advise clients on their carbon footprint in construction projects.”
Exposure to different ground conditions is key in becoming a building foundation specialist.
“Geologically speaking, Australia and Switzerland are so different,” Pip says. “This experience has taught me a lot about transferring my engineering knowledge to new situations.”
“I’m so grateful for having this time in Switzerland, where the industry is more focussed on technical excellence to deepen my knowledge in specialist areas,” says Pip.
Switzerland has bilateral trainee exchange agreements with a number of countries, including Australia. The Young Professionals Programme provides vocational training graduates with opportunities to expand their occupational and linguistic skills in Switzerland.
Designing a diverse future: Wendy’s Swiss experience in architecture
“In Australia, and in many countries across Europe, there’s a housing crisis right now,” says architect Wendy Lin. “Well-designed residential buildings that last for a long time are crucial in alleviating this pressure.”
As a Young Professional intern in a Zurich architectural firm, Wendy is developing transferrable knowledge she can carry forward through her career.
“Here in Switzerland, I’m working on multi-residential and mixed-use buildings. I am also taking on greater design responsibilities here than one would normally have as an intern in Australia,” Wendy says.
“We are constantly problem-solving with the contractors while pushing for innovative, sustainable, and quality design, such as in floorplans, materiality, and facades.”
“It’s also fun, as we’re incorporating technology – such as photovoltaic facades and earth bricks – and playful building designs to optimise use of space and to create a beautiful street scape,” she says.
While Wendy is developing professional skills from her experience, she’s also giving back to Switzerland as well.
“I was raised in China and gained my bachelor’s degree in Australia, so I feel like I’m bringing fresh perspectives and ideas to architecture in Switzerland,” says Wendy. “Contributing to the culture is also fun – I’m organising a local event here, where I’m sharing a film about a prominent Australian architect.”
“Diversity and different experiences are an important part of architecture,” Wendy says.
Switzerland conducts the Trainee Exchange for Young Professionals Switzerland – Australia programme to give young Australians a unique opportunity to experience Swiss culture for up to 18 months.
See other programmes on Head Start Swiss.