Swissolar launches training programme for solar technicians

Swissolar launches training programme for solar technicians

Swissolar launches training programme for solar technicians

A few weeks ago, Swissolar announced that it would launch its own training programmes for solar technicians. The time will soon come. Because from the school year 2024/25, the new vocational apprenticeships for solar installers will start, which will end with a federal vocational certificate (EBA).

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In addition, there will be training courses for solar installers who will receive a Federal Certificate of Proficiency (EFZ). The State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation has now given the green light for the new occupational profiles. The training courses were developed by Swissolar, the Polybau training centre and industry representatives.

Covering the need for skilled workers

The participants are thus defining a new occupational profile in Switzerland. The training courses will take place at the Polybau training centres in Uzwil, Canton St. Gallen, and in Les Paccots, Canton Fribourg. "These new professions are an important and urgent step to meet the need for skilled workers in the rapidly growing Swiss solar industry and to further professionalise the sector," says Rita Hidalgo, Head of Education and Knowledge Management at Swissolar.

Number of jobs will double

There are currently about 10,000 full-time jobs in the Swiss solar industry. To meet the expansion targets, this number will probably have to more than double by 2050. "With various training and further education opportunities, we are well on the way to being able to meet the immense demand for skilled workers in the long term," emphasises David Stickelberger, Managing Director of Swissolar and member of the board of Polybau. "The solar industry offers meaningful work with a future. That's why many young people want to enter or switch to this sector."

Training courses developed with the industry

The EBA for solar fitters is completed after a two-year apprenticeship, while the EFZ for solar installers can be obtained after three years of training. The two training plans were developed by Swissolar in the short term. From May to September 2022, a working group consisting of 20 industry representatives from large and small companies under the joint leadership of Swissolar and Polybau defined the new job profiles.

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Under the pedagogical supervision of the Swiss Federal Institute for Vocational Education and Training, solar specialists have defined what the apprentices must be able to do professionally after graduation in the field of solar installation and solar assembly. The Federal Inspectorate for Heavy Current Installations (Esti), the Federal Office for the Environment (Bafu) and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco) were also involved in the development.

Training courses are already available

Solar companies can already offer courses in the new professions of solar assembly and solar installation. However, the ultimately valid training ordinance will probably be issued by SERI on 1 October 2023 at the earliest and on 1 January 2024 at the latest. Only then can binding apprenticeship contracts be concluded.

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This means that the training courses can start in the school year 2024/25, i.e. from August 2024. Companies that then want to train independently in these occupations will need a training permit from their canton. In order to prepare the companies for this new situation, Swissolar will organise various information events in spring 2023. Information events for prospective vocational trainers are then planned from autumn 2023. (su/mfo)

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