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Komax offers IT apprentices the opportunity to take part in short internships abroad

Inside Komax

An international assignment as part of vocational training is an attractive feature for a company in apprenticeship marketing. Komax has therefore launched the "EduMax Around the World" project for IT apprentices at the Swiss headquarters. In a pilot test, an apprentice was given the opportunity to complete a short internship in Bulgaria for the first time. 

Key insights

  • Short international assignments during vocational training are becoming increasingly popular. Komax believes that the opportunity is beneficial for the apprentices and the company alike.

  • The "EduMax Around the World" program was launched by Komax with a successful pilot project: An IT apprentice became part of a development team in Bulgaria.

  • In light of the positive experience, Komax will offer other apprentices the opportunity to take part in short internships abroad in the future. One prerequisite for taking part is above-average performance.

Thierry Lötscher, an IT apprentice in the field of application development, joined the development team at a Komax subsidiary in Sofia, Bulgaria, for four days. There, in the Digital Services division, he worked on the implementation of QR codes in an ongoing project. For the 18-year-old apprentice in the third year of training, it was a really special opportunity: "Not every company would give you an experience like this during your apprenticeship." He particularly appreciated that he was treated as a full member of the team in Bulgaria: "I never felt like an apprentice!" As he was already familiar with some aspects from working with the team in the past, he integrated quickly and easily. Thierry Lötscher has stayed in touch with the team even after the apprenticeship was over: "The cooperation with the team in Sofia was good before, but now it's even better. We know each other personally and have experienced a lot together."

Let the “EduMax Around the World” begin! Vocational trainer Roger Hügi (left) and IT apprentice Thierry Lötscher (right) arrive in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia.

Responding to the trend towards international assignments during vocational training

This special experience abroad was made possible by Komax vocational training specialist Roger Hügi, who also accompanied the apprentice to Sofia. Roger Hügi looks after 17 apprentices in three computer science professions at the headquarters in Switzerland and is also responsible for the technical training of IT specialists. The assignment in Bulgaria was the first within the framework of the "EduMax Around the World" concept, which the vocational trainer developed as a specialist project. With the support of the HR department, Roger Hügi has managed to successfully launch "EduMax" internally. "Foreign assignments during apprenticeships are on the rise throughout Switzerland. This is an understandable trend," says the vocational trainer. In his opinion, the apprentices and the companies both benefit in equal measure: "I am convinced that an experience like this has a positive impact on the further course of vocational training. The option of an assignment abroad also greatly enhances the company's status as a training company."

The international assignment offers many new experiences, but meeting remains a meeting: in the offices of a Bulgarian Komax subsidiary.

Using global relationships during vocational training

Following the successful pilot project with an IT apprentice, Roger Hügi believes that the concept can be extended to other professions in the future. The trainer says: "As a globally active company, Komax has relationships on every continent. We can also make profitable use of this international status in vocational training. Working abroad enhances vocational training and improves career opportunities." Roger Hügi is delighted that the officials at the vocational school, the vocational diploma and the cross-company courses also support his project. 

International assignment as a bonus to reward above-average performance

For Roger Hügi, an assignment abroad in the second half of his training is not an entitlement, but rather a privilege and reward for above-average performance. Roger Hügi: "An international assignment is not guaranteed, because it involves a significant amount of work on the part of Komax: Support with organization, flight costs, hotel costs and food expenses, supervision by a vocational trainer and so on." Candidates are therefore selected by a committee of all vocational trainers: "We look at performance in the company and in the vocational school. We expect above-average performance in both areas. We also look for candidates who demonstrate openness, flexibility and independence to ensure that they can cope with the challenges involved in an assignment abroad. A cover letter from the candidate is also used in the decision-making process."

“EduMax Around the World” also involves immersing yourself in a foreign culture: time spent with the Bulgarian team after work.

Broadening horizons in many areas

Thierry Lötscher was selected for the very first "EduMax" assignment in Bulgaria. The assignment enabled the IT apprentice to broaden his horizons: "After work, we explored Sofia. It was really interesting to experience the cultural differences. Eastern European working hours – in Bulgaria, people start later and work longer – were also a unique experience." The apprentice also valued the support from his Swiss trainer: "I appreciated the chats after work, and I always had a contact person on site if I had any problems."

After a successful start: To be continued

After the successful pilot project, vocational trainer Roger Hügi is delighted to be taking "EduMax Around the World" to the next phase at Komax: "My goal is for other apprentices and supervisors to experience new worlds and expand the limits of their previous knowledge and approaches. Both the apprentices and our company benefit equally from this." The internal application process for the next assignment to start next autumn will open in May.


Roger HügiTeam Leader Vocational Training Informatics

Roger Hügi has been working at Komax since 2014 and has been in charge of IT professions in vocational training since 2016. Actively promoting young talent is a key concern for him.

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