On February 26, Ambassador LeVine and U.S. Embassy staff visited Bystronic Laser AG’s headquarters in Niederönz. They were met by Bystronic’s CEO Alex Waser and CCO Jean-Pierre Neuhaus, who gave them a tour of the facilities. During the tour, Ambassador LeVine learned about the company history and saw a demonstration of some of the equipment, including metal sheet cutting and bending.
Founded in 1986, Bystronic opened its U.S. subsidiary in 1990. Over 10 percent of Bystronic’s employees are apprentices, and Ambassador LeVine met several of them in the course of the visit, some of them preparing for their mid-term exams, and others working alongside regular Bystronic employees in the production halls. Urs Hügli, Deputy Head of the Bystronic training program, described how the company partners with other firms to create suitable courses to train their apprentices, in addition to implementing courses in subject areas in which apprentices specialize.
The visit provided Ambassador LeVine and embassy staff with many interesting insights into how SMEs in Switzerland position themselves and how they integrate apprentices into their workflow.