Pact taps Swiss vocational system

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Pact taps Swiss vocational system

Maintaining her focus on strengthening high-tech industries and boosting youth employment, President Park Geun-hye visited Switzerland’s largest vocational high school yesterday morning local time, accompanied by Swiss President Didier Burkhalter.

The visit came after the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT) reached a memorandum of understanding with Swissmem, a mechanical and electrical engineering industry association, to launch a joint program to foster talent in the country’s specialty industries - precision machines and biotechnology.

Starting next year, the alliance will select about 20 Korean meister high school graduates recruited by Swiss companies based in Korea for a three-year job-training program during which meisters will spend a year in Korea and two years in Switzerland.

The program will resemble the traditional Swiss vocational training system, in which students spend three or four days a week working as apprentices and one or two days studying academic subjects.

Swissmem provides training sessions to apprentices and corporate executives. It has about 1,000 member companies in a range of sectors. For the mechanical, electrical and engineering industries, the group provides specialized educational sessions in areas such as marketing strategies and trade.

In preparation for the program, the group will utilize its wide network of resources and take charge of developing the training curriculum and matching students with vocational schools. The Korean government will fund curriculum development and trainer recruitment, while Swiss companies will cover tuition and other expenses.

The government hopes to ease the social pressure on young people who think extending their education is the only way to succeed.

Switzerland topped the global talent competitiveness index compiled by Insead business school last year, while Korea was 28th out of 103 countries.


BY KIM JI-YOON [jiyoon.kim@joongang.co.kr]

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