Read their stories below
Successful individuals whose careers were shaped by apprenticeships.
Stephan Thomas Howeg
Chief Marketing & Communications Officer - Adecco Group
My apprenticeship left me with the greatest respect for the entire value chain of an enterprise, and respect for each individual performance that contributes to a company’s success.
Early work experience and taking responsibility are key. I went on to take a bachelor’s degree and a master’s in History, Philosophy and Sociology, following my heart and doing what I loved.
I have held roles in Marketing and Communications at several large companies headquartered in Switzerland with international operations, continuously complemented by practical experience with education programmes at IMD, INSEAD and Harvard as part of my lifelong learning desire.
In 2007, I joined the Adecco Group. And I can say that I am grateful and proud to work for a company that is committed to improving the employability of young people, supporting the cause for apprenticeships and early work experience through its membership of the Global Apprenticeships Network and a whole range of youth-oriented initiatives.
General Manager - Hilton Munich Airport
It is fair to say that, starting out as a Hilton Azubi (apprentice) in 1978, I didn't expect things to go so well that I would still be with the company four decades later. After completing my formal education I considered a range of career options, from joining the police force to becoming an air hostess. In fact, when I decided to take up a hotel apprenticeship at Hilton Munich Park, I wasn't sure this was the right path for me.
My decision paid off, and as soon as I started I knew this had been a wise choice and that I wanted to pursue a career in the hospitality industry. In my two and a half years as an apprentice, I gained experience working in a number of hotel departments including finance, front of house, food & beverage and housekeeping.
The 'on the job' learning approach was key for me - it allowed me to develop key technical skills in a range of professional disciplines, as well as a number of vital soft skills such as confidence, customer service and team work. It wasn't easy - cleaning 18 rooms a day, for example, was hard work - but this approach allowed me to get a thorough understanding of all aspects of the business, and helped me to decide that front office positions were right for me.
Could I have achieved everything I have without my apprenticeship all those years ago? Absolutely not. This opportunity gave me a perfect grounding and was the platform for all the amazing professional experiences I've had since. As someone who loves travel and loves people, my experience as an Azubi was the beginning of a fantastic, meaningful and fullfilling journey and a career which decades later still provides me with great satisfaction.
Dr. Ursula Renold
Head of the Education Systems Research Division, KOF Institute / ETH Zurich
I started my first education as an apprentice at a Swiss Bank when I was 15 years old, and now I am the head of the Education Systems research division at ETH Zurich.
The skills I learned during my apprenticeship have helped me reach my current position. The most useful are the skills I learned for working in teams, like anticipating what will happen during teamwork and identifying how I can contribute to the success of a team.
A critical part of my apprenticeship were the good supervisors who gave me feedback that made me more self-confident and ambitious to exceed my limits. The combination of school and workplace training was fabulous and important for getting enough theoretical knowledge to understand the processes in the banking sector. The apprenticeship influenced my career by improving my self-confidence and self-esteem. Driven by supervisors, I started to realize that I wanted to learn more while continuing to work and applying my knowledge.
My climb up the career ladder was not really planned. Driven by my hunger to learn more, I proceeded on a double ladder of two careers at once. One pathway was to constantly increase my education level, starting by preparing myself for the federal academic baccalaureate I needed to enter a conventional university. At the University of Zurich, I studied history, economics and sociology and went on to a doctorate at the University of Bern. In 2010 I was appointed as an honorary professor at the University of Applied Labor Studies in Mannheim (Germany).