SwissSkills Bern 2022 – Shaping the future for young people 

Over 60 percent of young adults in Switzerland choose vocational training or apprenticeship over an academic path. This is an important economic factor that affects a country’s competitiveness in terms of the labour market and low unemployment rate, which in Switzerland is at about 4 percent.  

SwissSkills is an agency focused on promoting the vocational education system in Switzerland. Its goal is to demonstrate the benefits of apprenticeship in Switzerland and to showcase a wide range of professions to young people who are interested in pursuing a career path that enables on-the-job learning. 

SwissSkills organises a biannual event which will take place this year from 7 to 11 September at the Bern Expo in Bern. The experiential event format will showcase 150 professions and will allow attendees to engage directly with the employers and ask questions of current apprentices in the programmes. 

Vocational training is common in many countries around the world. The EuroSkills and WorldSkills events are two global events in which young people compete to showcase their skills and win gold medals for their countries. These events are important to promote the variety of career paths available to young adults and also to support them in identifying and integrating the new skills required by the job market today, such as digital skills. 

I interviewed André Burri, General Manager of SwissSkills, about the event this year and the uniqueness of the vocational training and apprenticeship system in Switzerland. We also discussed why Bern is the perfect destination to host an event of such scale and importance. 

Confident planning strategies for the return of incentive travel 

Incentives are the most exciting part of the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, Exhibition) business. The most vivid pre-COVID memories that I have of incentive trips are from experiencing destinations where I got to know their hidden gems, interact with locals and learn about their craft or their culture, and network with other participants. Memories and experiences that are created at a destination outlive any other type or event and experience; for me at least. 

The return of incentive travel has given clients the opportunity to book these trips with confidence. I had the pleasure of interviewing an industry leader who specialises in incentive travel and has a wide portfolio of national and international customers – Silvia Ganser, Director of Frankfurt-based 42 Incentives (which is part of the VOK DAMS Group). The past two years haven’t been easy for 42 Incentives and for many other companies in the events business. And now with live events returning and many companies rescheduling events which had been postponed in 2020, 2021 and 2022, and planning for 2023, this timely interview focuses on providing tips on how to plan an incentive trip with confidence, and with safety protocols built into it. The interview took place in Bern at Hotel Kreuz, and Silvia joined remotely from Frankfurt. 

Back to LIVE and the road ahead

Good news for the events industry – live events are back, as most countries no longer have strict COVID-19 restrictions. Event planners who have been out of work for two years can now be back on the road doing what they love and taking their creativity to the next level.

Two years of pandemic restrictions have taught the events industry that it’s resilient. Returning to live events in 2022 requires rethinking and adjusting old practices, and in this interview with Colja Dams, CEO and owner at VOK DAMS and Natasha Russell, Event Director at NR Events, I asked what’s different now and what companies should know and consider when returning to in person events, and whether there’s still room for virtual and hybrid event formats. 

Natasha and Colja are based in the UK and Germany respectively, and it was important to hear the different perspectives on how ready the markets are for live events. 

Swiss Sustainability Forum to lead a sustainability agenda in Bern

Bern’s positioning as a leader in the energy and environmental sector, and its easy accessibility within Switzerland and from neighbouring countries, make it the most suitable city to host the Swiss Sustainability Forum

Organised by media company NZZ Connect and as part of the overall initiative Sustainable Switzerland by Neue Zürcher Zeitung, the highly ambitious event, the Swiss Sustainability Forum, will take place from 22 to 24 September 2022 at the Kursaal Convention Centre in Bern. 

I interviewed Isabel Niklaus, Lead Ecosystem Sustainability, who is responsible for events that are part of the sustainability projects at NZZ Connect including the Swiss Sustainability Forum and Impact Finance Forum. 

Circular Economy Entrepreneurs 2021. Photo credit: NZZ Connect.

Actionable strategies to boost association membership 

During the pandemic, many associations have been able to attract new members and find novel ways to engage and retain them. The barriers to attending events, learning and networking have been lowered thanks to the virtual and hybrid event solutions available. With these new tools and knowledge base at their fingertips, association event planners can truly excel at delivering events in 2022 and beyond.

Secrets to Engaging and Retaining Members, a recent event by Hubilo, shared best practices with its industry associations attendees to help them increase member engagement and retention. Attendees heard from speakers from two major associations, the PCMA and National Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Association. The insights from this event will be summarised in this post.