As a small country nestled in the centre of Europe, Switzerland has made a name for itself on the global political and economic stage. Does its reputation come from hosting key international summits such as the World Economic Forum (WEF) or being home to global advances in scientific research through organizations such as CERN? Does it come from world famous private banking, chocolate or its stunning alpine scenery? The answer is that Switzerland has a knack of doing a variety of things very well and this is embedded in its culture of attention to detail and pride in exceptional quality.
Both of these traits are never more apparent than in another sector for which Switzerland is famous: hospitality. Often cited as the birthplace of tourism, Switzerland became a must-see destination in the 18th century, and from this long history of welcoming and looking after travelers, a tradition of hospitality was born. To support the burgeoning tourism sector over the next 2 centuries, it was recognized that professional training and education of aspiring young managers was crucial in maintaining its reputation, and thus Switzerland established itself as the leading country for hospitality education.
Swiss educated hoteliers are now found the world over, pursuing exciting careers with the industry’s top brands. So what makes the Swiss model of hospitality education to effective? Firstly, Switzerland has maintained a strong focus on vocational education over the last 3 decades, while many countries have moved away from this and expanded access to university education. This has meant that operational knowledge and skills are still core foundations in a Swiss hospitality curriculum. Students therefore learn the roles and processes of front-line staff in the early stages of their education and will undertake a first internship to reinforce their knowledge and skills.
Secondly, the multiple internships students complete as they move through the 3 years of their degree studies provide invaluable work experience, allowing graduates to experience a variety of roles and move directly into first career positions upon graduation. Thirdly, Swiss hospitality education places a strong emphasis on professional development and not just theoretical knowledge and learning. From grooming standards, to professional excursions and career planning, students are supported in developing a vital set of transferable skills that are highly valued across the service sector and beyond. Who would not want to study in one of the world’s safest countries, in a multi-cultural environment, and enter one of the world’s most dynamic industries?