Adrian Geissmann (front row, left) with the 2021 social project week team
When Implenia Switzerland sends its apprentices into remote mountain regions to work for a week for charity every year, it does more than give them an opportunity to put what they have learned into practice – it also builds networks for their future working lives.
“We were almost too ambitious,” laughs Adrian Geissmann. Together with Anita Läderach from HR Operations, the vocational instructor organises a social project week every year for those in Switzerland who will complete their apprenticeship the year after.
Since Covid-19, the number of places has been limited and only the best and most motivated are invited to take part. Led by three young foremen who themselves had only recently completed their apprenticeships at Implenia, 19 of them worked hard in the rural Entlebuch region in mid-July, building a new playground, a meeting point in the centre of the village of Romoos, and a machinery wash in Steinhuserberg, near Wolhusen. The carpenters, bricklayers, construction practitioners, road builders and road-building practitioners, foundation engineers and commercial apprentices – the only two young women in the group – achieved an incredible amount in just five days, from earthworks with two rented diggers, to concrete and carpentry work, to planting trees and sowing meadows.
«We were almost too ambitious.»
Adrian Geissmann, Construction Manager, Head of Training and Co-Organiser of the social project week
“The church in Romoos is home to rare bats,” explains Gabriele Areche, second-year bricklaying apprentice in Zürich. “The meeting point, which we redesigned in just three says, is surrounded by a biodiversity area. We planted the meadow with a “moth mix” – flowers that are supposed to attract particular insects for the bats to eat.
This is another of the aims of the social project week. “Many of the young people come from urban areas. Rural Switzerland is a totally new world to them,” explains Adrian. “It is impressive to see how competent and motivated these young people at the end of their apprenticeships are in working hard, discovering a new world – and building networks for their future.”