UZWIL, Switzerland—Bühler Group has officially trained 8,000 apprentices globally over a 100-year history of vocational training.

The 8,000th apprentice—Michael Dörig—completed his apprenticeship in polymechanics last month. Around the globe, some 600 apprentices at 25 locations in four continents are currently undergoing their vocational training. This internationally oriented dual vocational training offers Bühler two significant benefits. It proactively wards off a potential lack of skilled employees, and it prepares young adults for a career in a global company.

A total of 70 apprentices started their vocational training in Switzerland this August, 10 women and 60 men. Along with them, a total of 8,013 young adults have undergone or are still undergoing their dual vocational training.

“The figure is impressive, it shows the great influence of vocational training at Bühler. It was lucky that I started as the 8,000th and I'm happy about it,” says Dörig.

Apprentices do add value for the companies they work for, as the latest study by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation confirms. Additionally, vocational training is one of the most important factors for the company for imparting knowledge within the organization as well as between generations. It enables Bühler to proactively avert the looming shortage of skilled labor.

“Vocational training is a long-term strategy for us that we apply in a targeted manner,” says Andreas Bischof, head of apprenticeship at Bühler. He adds that when a potential lack of specialized labor appears, for example, as a result of retirements, Bühler can apply its global know-how in the field of vocational training to close such gaps.

To retain these carefully educated young people after they have completed their vocational training, Bühler offers them individual support in planning their careers starting in the second half of their apprenticeships. The value of this effort is borne out by the fact that 29 percent of all Swiss employees completed their vocational training with Bühler.

To counter the lack of skilled labor in the first place, Bühler lets interested school-leavers know that the company offers more than just pure training in one single vocation. Bühler prepares the young people for the labor market in the best possible manner by fostering all-rounder skills.

In the future, digitalization will be integrated even more into education, alongside the development of social skills, creativity, exchange, and diversity. Some of the young adults may undergo training in project management or do a stint abroad. Since the introduction of these periods of training abroad twelve years ago, as many as 200 apprentices have already spent several months of their vocational training at a Bühler location outside Switzerland.

Apprentices gain a first-hand experience of different cultures and languages. They enhance their professional and social skills, broaden their minds, and become fit for a job in the international labor environment that Bühler offers.

Stefan Scheiber, CEO of Bühler Group, stresses the importance of international mobility and sound, varied basic training for the organization.

“Training and continuing education enable Bühler to renew itself permanently. We place our trust in our apprentices at an early stage, but we also demand a lot from them. We unlock the international world of labor for them, because we want them to continue to work for us later on—as open-minded and innovative employees skilled in a wide range of tasks, and either in Switzerland or anywhere else in the world.”