Aiming high

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Promoting young talents pays off. Empa supports and promotes talented individual
Promoting young talents pays off. Empa supports and promotes talented individuals at all levels. Illustration: Empa

The shortage of skilled workers is particularly pronounced in technical professions. Empa supports and promotes talented individuals at all levels, be it during their apprenticeship, studies, academic career or when starting a business. This support (both internal and external) benefits not only the recipients and Empa, but also the Swiss economy.

Switzerland has a shortage of skilled workers; numerous industries are struggling to recruit highly qualified personnel, and there is no improvement in sight. What many people may not realize: Although Empa is not a university, the research institute supplies the Swiss economy with highly trained experts.

The focus of Empa Quarterly #80 issue is on talented people at all academic levels who benefit from special support measures: financial or organizational, shortor long-term, supported by Empa or financed externally. The measures have one thing in common: They ensure that interns, apprentices, students, researchers and start-up founders can realize their full potential.

It starts at school: Various programs and events are designed to get children and young people excited about the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Many researchers are involved in outreach measures or launch their own projects to promote young talent. Empa also wants to position itself as an attractive place to work and learn among young people, in order to attract new apprentices for the more than 40 apprenticeships in ten professions.

Many researchers teach at Swiss universities, supervise students or even hold professorships. Through internships and Bachelor’s and Master’s theses at Empa, students enter the world of research. If they decide to pursue an academic career, their personal development at Empa is supported by various measures, whether through the Empa Zukunftsfonds or through external support instruments for young and more experienced researchers. Empa pays particular attention to equal opportunities and diversity, for example striving to increase the proportion of women in senior management positions, which is still (too) low in STEM professions - and thus also at Empa.

Whenever researchers develop a novel material or a disruptive technology, this can give rise to a new company. Empa has already supported more than 100 start-ups and spin-offs in its incubators, which offer mentoring, financial support and networking contacts, among other things.