The FINANCIAL -- Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) on June 9 announced it will establish an apprenticeship program in the U.S. to help develop the next generation of insurance industry professionals.
Earlier this year business leaders of Swiss-owned companies operating in the U.S. met with U.S. cabinet members and the Swiss Vice President and Federal Councillor at the White House and discussed opportunities to make the U.S. business environment even more welcoming to foreign direct investment by improving skills development programs, such as apprenticeships, according to Zurich.
Zurich is committed to putting into practice a program modelled after Switzerland’s highly successful national apprenticeship system. Two-thirds of Swiss school-leavers enroll in such vocational training programs that combine work experience with higher education in around 230 occupations.
“Our program is the first of its kind in the U.S. insurance industry and therefore has an important role to play in demonstrating the value of apprenticeships in this sector,” said Mike Foley, CEO North America Commercial and Regional Chairman of North America for Zurich Insurance Group. “Our experience in Switzerland has shown us that apprenticeships are a very powerful way of developing core business competencies and inspiring young people to take on new challenges.”
William Rainey Harper College will provide Zurich with administrative support and help design the course curriculum. The inaugural class will begin in 2016, and Zurich is committed to having 100 apprentices undertake the program by 2020.
The U.S. program will draw on the successes of Zurich’s pre-existing apprenticeship program in Switzerland. That program trains in total more than 230 apprentices and high school graduates. In 2014, 94 percent of those who had completed their apprenticeship went on to find employment within Zurich.