Continuing education - customised and connected to business

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Challenge the best - continuing education at ETH Zurich. (Illustration: ETH Zuri
Challenge the best - continuing education at ETH Zurich. (Illustration: ETH Zurich / Janine Wiget)

Lifelong learning is becoming increasingly important, which is why ETH Zurich is founding a School For Continuing Education. The school will focus on new opportunities in the fields of cybersecurity and data science, as well as customised continuing education, which is of particular interest to Swiss business.

The current technological transformation is having a major impact on the world of work and the demand for expertise in society and the economy. The short half-life of knowledge makes continuing education an inevitable lifelong task and means that modern working people move flexibly between education and application. This is the context in which ETH Zurich is launching the School for Continuing Education. "Continuing education is a key pillar of our knowledge transfer," emphasises ETH President Lino Guzzella. "With the new school, ETH is keeping pace with the speed and depth of societal change."

New umbrella organisation - new opportunities

Under the auspices of the School for Continuing Education, ETH’s range of continuing education options is grouped into four categories: "Environment, Infrastructure & Architecture", "Technology, Management & Innovation", "Public Policy & Governance", and "Health, Life & Natural Science". The 17 MAS (Master of Advanced Studies), 8 DAS (Diploma of Advanced Studies) and 20 CAS (Certificates of Advanced Studies) courses currently offered by ETH Zurich will be integrated into these categories and further improved. In addition to this, around 20 new continuing education programmes are being developed and will be added to the course catalogue within the next one to two years. "Our aim is clear: we want to offer an attractive, high-quality programme. In order to do so, we’re creating new structures and improving collaboration within ETH. The new school and the targeted expansion of the course catalogue are also intended to improve the visibility of ETH’s continuing education programme," explains Paolo Ermanni, Vice-Rector for Continuing Education at ETH Zurich.

More cybersecurity specialists

ETH hopes that the new School for Continuing Education will enable it to react more quickly and flexibly to the needs of the labour market. This dynamic is visible in the content of the two new cybersecurity programmes that ETH Zurich will offer from autumn 2018: the DAS Cyber Security is aimed at staff in companies, government and the army who already have IT training. They will learn the basics of information security and discuss current results and insights offered by research. The CAS Cyber Security targets a broader audience, which explicitly includes those without a background in IT. This programme is aimed at all employees and managers who deal with questions of information security in their daily work and want to acquire a well-grounded basic knowledge of the relevant issues. The long-standing and wide-ranging trove of experience possessed by the Zurich Information Security & Privacy Center (ZISC) and the Center for Security Studies (CSS) enabled ETH to quickly put together a comprehensive, up-to-date continuing education programme.

Customised continuing education

Deep connections with business are a key part of the School for Continuing Education. The new courses in the fields of materials science and manufacturing technology were developed in dialogue with industry. The customised continuing education programme offers all participants an ETH Zurich professor as a contact. Participants receive tailored study plans that take into account both their practical experience and the interests of their employers. ETH Rector Sarah Springman explains: "Continuing education requires more flexibility and a dynamic approach in order to react more quickly to future challenges. We welcome all suggestions from outside of academia, as they help us to continually improve our range of programmes."

Bidirectional knowledge transfer

Continuing education is part of ETH’s federal mandate to work together with business and transfer the latest knowledge into society. Both sides benefit from this knowledge transfer: course participants always have access to the latest information, while lecturers gain valuable insights from professional practice, which can then be incorporated into teaching and research. Swissmem President Hans Hess, who was present today at the School for Continuing Education launch, welcomes ETH Zurich’s commitment: "Continuing education is a valuable investment for any company. When I see the level at which ETH Zurich’s continuing education programmes are operating, I consider it a win for Swiss industry and business."