The Swiss Education Group: a Successful Swiss Model Looking to the Future

July 5, 2015

In seven years, the Swiss Education Group (SEG) has taken the lead in Switzerland in hospitality management training. The group was founded in 1992 and has developed considerably since it was taken over in 2008. It now has 5 schools spread over 7 campuses, attended by over 6,500 students each year. In 2014, the Swiss Education Group achieved a record turnover of 150 million Swiss Francs (2008: 75 million Swiss Francs). SEG intends to continue its development into the future by strengthening its pioneering spirit in terms of innovation and by increasing its capacity in terms of student numbers to meet the growing demands of the sector. It will be investing around 90 million Swiss Francs by 2020 to optimise its infrastructure – in particular, renovating former palaces as training hotels – and to acquire new technology. “The key to our success lies in education based on the traditions and excellence of Swiss hospitality training, focused as much on practical skills as on academic learning”, maintains Florent Rondez, CEO.

A sector enjoying a boom

International tourism has seen continuous growth over recent years and has diversified endlessly, so much so that it has become one of the most dynamic sectors in the world as shown in the Travel & Tourism Report 2015 published by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) estimates that the T&T sector now represents 9.5% of GDP worldwide. It continues to play a major role as an essential driving force in growth (4% in 2014) and in job creation (266 million direct and indirect jobs), that is, 1 job out of every 11 on the planet. This could even rise to 1 in 10 by 2022 according to the WTTC. “With our unique expertise and a capacity for innovation in line with the requirements of the industry at international level, we are committed to offering our students, who come from over 110 countries, quality training focusing on the skills required”, states Benoît Samson, Director of Brand and Marketing.

Being in tune with the market and responsive to its needs

SEG ensures that its programmes respond to requirements in the field by establishing close links with the key players in the sector. To this end the group has recently set up a new partnership with UBS to enable the students of César Ritz Colleges Switzerland to specialise in finance. In similar vein, new culinary programmes will be in place by 2016 at the Culinary Arts Academy Switzerland in Le Bouveret. From October 2015, Hotel Institute Montreux will offer specialisation in management in the luxury sector, while IHTTI School of Hotel Management in Neuchâtel is positioning itself in hotel “design”. These different specialisations enable students to explore and understand a booming industry in order to develop the skills, flexibility and versatility necessary to make a career in this sector. All this takes place in a multicultural environment and in English.

SEG opens its doors to the professionals

The International Recruitment Forum is one of the major commitments made by SEG to its students to guarantee them the best possible career opportunities. The twice-yearly event in Montreux is a prime opportunity to gain access to a higher level of employment. Since 2009 this event has offered students exclusive access to the best career opportunities and its success continues to grow as it brings together over 60 prestigious international companies from the hotel and tourism industries.
Moreover, a mass survey of its alumni all over the world reveals that SEG students experience rapid career progression with enhanced potential for securing managerial posts. Indeed, more than 89% of SEG graduates enter management or start their own business within five years of finishing their studies. In addition, 96% of graduates working in the hospitality sector are currently in a superior category of establishment (4 or more stars). In 2013, the Swiss Education Group also launched a new internet platform for its 21,000 alumni, called Konnect, which helps to strengthen links between SEG and its former students as well as with the area of hotels and tourism.

Making the most of technological advances

SEG quickly connected with the digital revolution by integrating new technologies in an inter- disciplinary way into all its programmes. This pedagogic approach with its emphasis on the digital world ensures that graduates develop the skills necessary for the international employment market. By equipping all students and teachers with an iPad, SEG was the first organisation in the hospitality sector to launch a ‘1:1 iPad’ programme, thereby enhancing teaching and promoting a more dynamic apprenticeship. In 2014, investment in educational support and content rose to some 1.4 million Swiss Francs.

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