Movetia, together with the UNES and ESN Switzerland student associations, is offering students the opportunity to lend their support to the economy and those sectors encountering difficulties in the context of the current pandemic. It is a win-win operation for both students and employers which should be seen as an act of solidarity as well as a rewarding and exceptional professional experience. For students, it is also a chance to visit a different linguistic region of the country – an action that will help strengthen national cohesion.

Movetia, UNES and ESN Switzerland encourage Swiss students to support employment platforms in agriculture, especially in the current crisis. The action primarily targets students who have interrupted their training placement, semester or year abroad. Surveys conducted by Movetia and ESN suggest that at least 55% of them have returned to Switzerland. These students represent the key target public, although the operation is also open to anyone in the education system looking for a job or professional experience. It should also be noted that many young adults have lost their student jobs due to the coronavirus crisis.

Meeting labour needs

The operation is simple, consisting of promoting the platforms and job opportunities that the three organisations have identified. While the needs would currently appear to be covered in certain sectors or difficult to assess in others, additional or alternative local labour is nevertheless necessary. In addition to the arrival of spring, which means a lot of work, especially in the vineyard, demand could prove to be even greater in the event of an upturn in economic activity in the coming weeks, especially if the national borders remain closed.

The initiative is designed to enable students to fulfil three objectives:

  • to provide a contribution and assistance to those sectors most severely affected by the crisis – an act of solidarity and national cohesion;
  • to benefit from exceptional professional experience and discover a sector that is, in principle, very different from their field of study;
  • to cross the “Röstigraben” and visit a different linguistic region, discovering a different culture and fostering the curiosity to push beyond the language divide.

Students interested in this type of temporary assistance are invited to ask their universities if, and in what format, their efforts/field work could be credited within the framework of their respective study programmes.

Experimenting while learning

As a national agency for exchange and mobility, Movetia also wants to promote the possibility of students gaining professional experience in a different linguistic region of the country. In addition to providing the chance to learn or to improve another language, the fact of becoming an integral part of a company, a family or the local population takes students out of their comfort zone and helps them acquire numerous new personal skills, such as adaptability. In the current context, it is also an opportunity to present a united front of national cohesion.

The three organisations also encourage employers to prioritise this student labour force. As numerous jobs and employment possibilities continue to disappear, some students are encountering financial difficulties. In some cases, an additional or part-time professional activity offers welcome and sometimes essential relief.