In an everchanging labour market, we not only have to preserve, but also foster our employees’ skills. As a global company, we provide diverse work options for our people – including our youth. In light of this year’s World Youth Skills Day we would like to highlight how we enable our mentors, trainers and youth for a transformative future. Building out the workforce calls for a new Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) approach to equip people with the needed qualifications and competencies. As a company, we strive for agile skills that prepare us for any upcoming challenge.
World Youth Skills Day and its roots
The United Nations define youth as “persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years”, endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution in 1981. In September 2015, during a three-day summit on sustainable development, 150 world leaders approved an ambitious agenda. The new plan, called “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by 2030”, included a declaration of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets. Goals include “Decent Work and Economic Growth” or “Quality Education” which lie at heart of today’s youth and tomorrow’s adults. One key factor for their influence in achieving a sustainable society is their ability to take influence in it. For young people, playing an active part in the workforce is essential. Keeping youth unemployment numbers low is indispensable to achieve many SDGs. Already one year before the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals, in 2014, the UN General Assembly declared 15 July as the World Youth Skills Day to raise awareness on the importance of investing in youth skills development.
How do we integrate and empower our youth?
Being a global company, we strive for making an impact on decreasing youth unemployment rates. We offer various entry-level programmes and functions for the younger generation. In doing so, we acknowledge that every person is equipped with different soft and hard skills upon joining our company. As an organisation in the manufacturing industry, we see it as our duty to contribute to the education and formation of tomorrow’s workforce thanks to our experience of over 50 years in the development and production of components and system solutions for electrical and optical connectivity. As for any company, hard and soft skills have to come together to form well-rounded employees with social competencies and technical knowledge to execute their roles and tasks well.
Finn Sutter, who did well at school, initially found the start of his training as a polymechanic at HUBER+SUHNER Switzerland quite challenging. Before his apprenticeship, he had never worked in an industrial environment. "If I made a mistakes in school, it meant bad grades. In my job, things can really get destroyed. The consequences of my mistakes are immediately visible." For example, he once worked all day on a machine part, only to drop it on the floor just before closing time. The part was broken, and Sutter had to start all over the next day. He had to learn how to deal with frustration and failure.
With time, he developed from a newcomer into an estimated expert. Soon, he was familiar with different manufacturing variants for processing an order in the most efficient way. In the second year of his apprenticeship, he developed a sterilisation device for his father's ophthalmology practice. "My father was amazed that I could do something like that in my second year. For me, that was an important experience."
Raphael Abbt, head of the apprentice workshop in Herisau and Finn's vocational trainer, says that a good polymechanic apprentice must enjoy working with machines and have a good understanding of technology. In addition, the person must be able to work independently and want to take responsibility.
At HUBER+SUHNER, we offer various apprenticeships, trainee or graduate programmes where diverse skill sets are developed and acquired. Working on latest innovations enables not only our youth to constantly enhance their skills, but also their educators to further strengthen their expertise.
Today's youth – tomorrow's professionals
Preparing youth for future challenges related to their career and the workforce requires equipping them with qualifications and competencies. Our mentors and educators are motivated to offer the best technical and vocational training. For this, HUBER+SUHNER offers all of its employees constant learning and development opportunities.
In Switzerland, we train around 80 apprentices per year in a total of nine apprenticed professions. Other sites, including the United Kingdom, Germany, India and Malaysia, have initiated apprenticeships or internships for young people and graduates as well. HUBER+SUHNER aims to offer interesting, challenging and practice-oriented internships to students and graduates in the technical or business management fields. By investing in developing their technical skills, we can support the youth in their transition to the workplace after finishing their apprentice, internship or studies.
To engage the youngest generation about career opportunities with the company, HUBER+SUHNER in Switzerland participates in the National Future Day (Nationaler Zukunftstag) each year, opening office and production site doors for girls and boys who want to get their first taste of working life. A total of 50 children took the opportunity to look behind the scenes in 2022. Girls and boys aged between ten and 15 were given practical insights into professions and fields of work. HUBER+SUHNER China has a similar offering with its “Take Our Kids to Work Day”, which took place at our sites in Shanghai and Changzhou. The day gives families, kids and companies the opportunity to learn and grow together, following Henry Ford’s maxim: "Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young."