UZWIL, SWITZERLAND — The Bühler Group recently had its 8,000th apprentice complete training in the company’s 100-year history of vocational training.

The company has 600 apprentices at 25 locations in four continents. This broad, 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, the company said.

 A total of 70 apprentices started their vocational training in Switzerland this August — 10 women and 60 men.

Michael Dörig, the 8,000th apprentice, has passed his period of probation in his vocation as a polymechanic.

“The figure is impressive,” Dörig said. “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.”

He has set clear targets for his further vocational training.

“I want to perform well every year, and my goal for the fourth year is an assignment abroad,” he said. “In the end, I want to finish the apprenticeship with good grades.”

Vocational training is one of the most important factors for the company for imparting knowledge within the organization as well as between generations, Bühler said. It enables the company 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,” said Andreas Bischof, head of apprenticeship at Bühler.

He added 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.

 This has resulted in the institution of vocational training programs by Bühler, for instance, in the United States, for which the company has obtained governmental approval.

“This guarantees access to and mobility within the labor market,” Bischof said.

In order to retain these young people, 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, for example, 29% of all Swiss employees completed their vocational training with Bühler. At the same time, former apprentices also are attracted by careers outside Switzerland. At present, 28 former apprentices are working for Bühler in four continents.

Apprentices pass through different departments that have a different focus. 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 12 years ago, as many as 200 apprentices already have spent several months of their vocational training at a Bühler location outside Switzerland. The benefits of this approach are obvious: 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.

 “Training and continuing education enable Bühler to renew itself permanently,” said Stefan Scheiber, chief executive officer of Bühler Group. “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.”