The offer is aimed at Swiss upper secondary-level schools (secondary schools, specialist vocational schools and Federal Vocational Baccalaureate schools). On enquiry, schools of other levels can also be taken into consideration.
The Language Assistants Programme is organised bilaterally with Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. Movetia is currently considering the possibility of setting up a new partnership with Ireland. In addition, places for native Italian speakers are found on a unilateral basis.
Applicants who fulfil the following requirements can take part in the programme.
The applicants speak German, English, French, Italian or Spanish as their mother tongue or to an equivalent standard.
At least four half-year terms or a completed course of studies in the following subject areas:
Knowledge of the languages of the Swiss host region
Depending on the Swiss language region, the candidates should be able to show German or French to A2 level (Common European Framework of Reference CEFR) or to demonstrate that they are able to cope independently in Switzerland.
Further admission criteria
A good general education, clear way of speaking in the mother tongue, knowledge of the field of education/teaching and independent work with split classes or groups are required.
As a rule, the participants are aged between 21 and 30 years. From Great Britain and France, candidates from 20 to 35 years of age are also accepted into the programme. Exceptions can also be made in justified cases (e.g. getting married and having a family or doing a second VET or PET). The overriding principle is that participation in the programme should retain the nature of a VET traineeship. Furthermore, attention is paid to ensuring that the age difference between the pupils/students and the language assistants is not too great so that a degree of closeness to the world in which they live is possible.
An initial selection of the applications is made by the foreign partner organisations on the strength of the application file. This applies to applications from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and the UK. In a second step, a consultation takes place with Movetia. In the process, Movetia is guided - as far as possible - by the wishes expressed by the host schools.
If required or depending on the purpose of the partner organisation, Movetia also accepts direct applications from the partner countries. Applicants who are shortlisted in this direct way are generally invited by Movetia to attend a telephone or Skype interview. The final choice is made in a third step by the heads of the host school.
The language assistants are placed, firstly, with upper secondary-level ‘Gymnasium’ (grammar) and VET schools (secondary schools, Federal Vocational Baccalaureate schools; pupils and students from 15 to 20 years of age).
On enquiry, schools of other levels can also be taken into consideration. Up to three host schools can also offer an assistantship position jointly. The rights and obligations are laid down in an agreement or contract between the language assistant and the school authorities. In addition, the school authorities designate a mentor (male or female), who is responsible for looking after the professional and personal welfare of the language teaching assistant.
As a rule, the period of employment lasts for 10 months (1st September till 30th June). In the German-speaking part of Switzerland, schools also often employ teaching assistants for the whole school year (mid-August till mid-July). The teaching commitment is 12 hours a week (16 lessons of 45 minutes each).
The monthly minimum gross pay, i.e. the amount before any deductions, is CHF 3,200 (net approx. CHF 2,550). This pay is geared to the costs of living for of a single person.
These details are guidelines. The precise number of hours and amount of pay respectively are discussed and laid down by contract beforehand between the canton or the school and the language assistants.
The language assistant is, in principle, responsible him/herself for looking and paying for accommodation. The language assistant takes up residence in Switzerland – preferably in the canton employing him/her and in a locality close to the school. In the case of family commitments or other important reasons, non-local places of residence should also be permitted.
Shortly before or at the beginning of their stay in Switzerland, the language assistants attend a one-day seminar to prepare for life in Switzerland and for their work as assistants. The timing of this seminar is geared to the beginning of the school year of those cantons in which most language assistants are employed. The school authorities are asked to draw the attention of their future language assistants, in good time, to the date on which this seminar takes place in order to give them the opportunity to plan their entry into the country accordingly.
The assistantship period is concluded with a survey of the language teaching assistants. This survey is for the purpose of quality control and to improve the provision.
See Selection Procedure. For Spanish and Italian language assistantships, Movetia sends several application files to the schools for selection.
Further details regarding the placement and employment process are set out in the guideline (see column on the right side, in German).