The Boost Programme started as a pilot in 2020, allowing around 100 participants to apply and benefit from co-financing for training courses in the field of digital skills. In the second part of this blog series, we take a look back on the impact of the programme for employers and candidates.
The aim of the #LifelongLearning Initiative, of which the Boost Programme is a vital part, is to make the Swiss population aware of the urgency to pursue lifelong learning, particularly in view of the increasing digitalisation of the world. It is important to take all people, young and old, along the path of digital transformation and to achieve full employment in the years to come.
To address the working population, the Initiative focused on diversity (age, gender, languages, regions, job descriptions, educational qualifications, industries, etc.). It contributed to both maintaining the competitiveness of Switzerland as a business location, and to supporting a future full of opportunities for Swiss employees. This included small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to large companies.
The Boost Programme aimed to build on the solid foundations of the #LifelongLearning initiative and to support Swiss employees and employers by co-financing short, concrete training courses in the field of digital skills. To this end, a partnership with the Hirschmann Foundation and the Gebert Rüf Foundation was built for 2020 and in 2021/2022 with UBS.
Employees of organisations which signed the #LifelongLearning initiative’s pledge, as well as Swiss SMEs and Swiss independent workers were also included, to support digital upskilling and reskilling during the COVID-19 crisis.
With the co-financing of the Boost Programme, we created an incentive for people to access lifelong learning for a value of five times the amount of co-financing that the programme invested. 56% of applicants were men and 44% women, across all age groups. By far the most applications for co-financing came from the smallest of businesses. 45% of employers supported upskilling with cash out and/or training during working hours, whereas 55% of employees invested more than the employer did.
One third of participants would not have engaged in lifelong learning within the next 6 months without the co-financing provided by Boost.
A survey of Boost participants showed that employees would like employers to provide more time for lifelong learning during working hours. The survey also indicates that beneficiaries were very happy with the programme and its co-financing mechanism. Importantly, one third of participants would not have engaged in lifelong learning within the next 6 months without the co-financing provided by Boost.
This activating effect was impactful since two thirds of all survey participants said they expect their training to have a significant positive effect on their work life and career i.e. a higher chance for a promotion or the ability to enter a new (digital) industry. Thanks to these positive, motivating experiences and the easy sign-up process, all participants either recommended the programme to friends, family and colleagues or would do so in future.
The Boost Programme started as a pilot in 2020, allowing around 100 participants to apply and benefit from co-financing.
Programme beneficiaries engaged in training, ranging from upskilling in the field of cyber security, digital user experience design and digital marketing to AI-based business models, project management for digital products, data-driven fundraising for NGOs, digital ethics and more.
Another noteworthy finding from the Boost survey is the fact that none of the survey participants were able to name another, comparable support programme for lifelong learning even though other offerings exist. The survey suggests that the simple, easy and transparent process of the Boost Programme was one element why beneficiaries appreciated the programme and recommended it to others, leading to more engagement in lifelong learning and digital upskilling.
Supported by UBS, the focus of the Boost Programme for 2021 and 2022 complements the previous proven programme for general digital upskilling. A new focus is to attract candidates from the low-skilled workforce to learn digital skills and basic competences. Research from SBFI indicates that the lower-qualified workforce is less likely to engage in lifelong learning compared to other populations. The Boost Programme is committed to improving this situation.
Sign up here until September 2022: lifelonglearning.ch.
Read our first blog post on application criteria and what to expect here.